Helena Close

Helena Close is an Irish writer of young adult and children's literature. Her notable works include The Gone Book and Things I Know, both of which were shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

Helena Close was born in Cork and raised in Limerick. Over the past two decades, she has dedicated herself to writing full-time, producing seven novels under various pseudonyms, including Sarah O’Brien, and publishing with houses such as Hodder Headline, Hachette Ireland, and Blackstaff Press.

In 2020, Helena released her debut young adult novel, The Gone Book. This book introduces readers to Matt, a young skateboarder from Limerick grappling with his parents' separation and the challenges of adolescence. The narrative is rich with themes of bullying, family dynamics, and the quest for personal identity, framed through diary entries that Matt writes to his absent mother.

The Gone Book was met with critical acclaim, earning a nomination for the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 2021.

Following the success of her first YA novel, Helena published Things I Know in 2022. This novel delves into the life of Saoirse, an eighteen-year-old dealing with the recent death of her mother and the suicide of an ex-boyfriend. Set against the backdrop of a small town in Ireland, the book explores intense themes of mental health, trauma, and recovery. Helena's inspiration for this story stemmed from her own daughter's struggle with mental health issues after cancer treatment.

Things I Know has also been recognized for its literary merit and has been nominated for a Carnegie Medal in 2023. It offers a poignant look at the hardships of teenage mental health but also messages of hope and resilience.

Helena Close lives in Limerick.

Photo credit: X @Helenaclose
years of life: 1959 present



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