The Bookseller – Rights – Atlantic acquires biography of Sinn Féin leader

Atlantic Books scooped up Mary Lou McDonald: A Republican Enigmaan “essential and essential” biography of the Sinn Féin leader by journalist and politician Shane Ross.

Clare Drysdale, associate publisher of Atlantic Books Group, has purchased worldwide rights, including audio and translation, from Jonathan Williams Literary Agency. The biography will be published in paperback and flip-top e-book format on October 6.

Ross’s biography sheds light on McDonald’s political awakening, his relationship with IRA men, and the evolution and future of Sinn Féin.

“Mary Lou McDonald is the bookmakers’ favorite to be Ireland’s next Taoiseach,” the synopsis reads. “She would be the first woman to hold office and the first Sinn Féin leader to enter government in the Republic of Ireland. But how did a typically bourgeois woman end up leading a political party in the past such a recent terrorist?

“This biography explores the influences on Mary Lou’s early life and fully covers her unexpected, but hitherto unexplained political choices. It examines her attitudes towards Gerry Adams, towards the violence of Sinn Féin and whether she is a true believer or another political opportunist. It reveals her relationship with the politicians – many of whom come from the shadows – who will become part of her government if she realizes her ambition.

Drysdale said: “For a politician to write the biography of another politician is unusual, and that the result is neither hagiography nor ax work is remarkable. Shane Ross was in the room as a parliamentary colleague for many of the moments that made Mary Lou McDonald’s name – her unparalleled access and Sinn Féin’s eye-catching success in the recent Northern Ireland Assembly elections, make of this biography an essential and essential reading.

Ross has been a stockbroker, journalist, politician and author. He was economics editor of Sunday Independent for over 16 years, and a member of Seanad, the advisory chamber of the Irish Parliament, for 29 years before taking a seat in the Dáil (lower house) in 2011. In 2016 he became Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport , serving in the Irish Government for over four years.

“Mary Lou McDonald, a political mystery, is an unlikely apologist for a party that was for so long the political wing of the IRA terrorists,” he said. “Her middle-class upbringing and privileged background in the south of Ireland contrasts sharply with her chosen political belief. I worked alongside Mary Lou in the Dáil for many years. She was both brilliant and disconcerting, often radical and sometimes reckless, but she never took her eyes off the main prize: the leadership of Sinn Féin and the ultimate goal of a united Ireland.

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