Ellen Ryan is the author of Girls Who Slay Monsters, which offers unsung stories about ancient Irish goddesses, re-imagined for nine to twelve-year olds. From a gender-fluid spy who outwitted an army; and a giant who overcame the bullies that body-shamed her; to an Iranian Irish hero-trainer; and a shapeshifting eco-warrior, readers will meet diverse goddesses who have been forgotten for long enough. Her second book, Gods Don't Cry, was published in October 2023 and is a collection of ancient Irish stories that challenge modern notions of what it means to be a hero.
Girls Who Slay Monsters was illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald and won the An Post Irish Book Awards Children's Book of the Year 2022 in the Senior category. Gods Don't Cry, illustrated by Conor Merriman, was shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards Children's Book of the Year 2023 in the Senior category. The winner will be announced in November 2023.
Ellen Ryan is a journalist and contributor to the Irish Times and Irish Independent. She has a passion for Irish myth and loves to visit archaeological sites (though she always brings a raincoat). Along with her husband and daughter, Ellen is lucky to live by the sea in Ireland’s County Wicklow, where she can keep an eye out for sea gods. While writing this book, Ellen was asked if she would use her birth name Ryan – daughter of her father – or Meaney – wife of her husband. But she is also Ellen, daughter of Paula the artist, daughter of Carmel the scholar.