Anne Walsh Donnelly

Anne Walsh Donnelly writes prose, poetry and plays. Originally from Carlow in the south-east of Ireland, she now lives in Mayo in the west of Ireland.

She is the author of “He Used To Be Me”, published by New Island Books in February 2024. The book tells the story of Daft Matt, as he wanders the streets of Castlebar in search of the claw marks of the cága, or jackdaws, who have spoken to him since he was a boy.

 In lyrical prose, Walsh Donnelly explores the complex workings of Matt’s inner life: how he deals with the loss of his twin brother as a child, navigates the carefree days of early manhood and copes with the aftermath of the horseriding accident that would see him incarcerated in the care system for the next thirty years. Richly imagined and beautifully written, this is a story for anyone who chooses to look beyond the surface of things.

“He Used To Be Me” can be purchased in all good bookshops and online.

Her other books include, ‘The Woman With An Owl Tattoo,’ and the poetry collection, ‘Odd as F*ck,’ both published by Fly on the Wall press and available to buy on this website.

Anne says, “I experiment, take risks, run wild on the page, always hoping my work will resonate with the reader. I explore the rural Irish experience in my  writing and write to give voice to the voice-less.”

Anne loves to read her work and talk about all things creative. She is available for public readings, podcasts, festivals and interviews.

Recognition for Anne's work

Shortlisted for the 2019 Hennessy/Irish Times New Irish Writing Literary Award.

Poet Laureate for Belmullet, Co. Mayo, 2021

2nd place in the International Poetry Book Awards, 2020 for her memoir, 'The Woman With An Owl Tattoo.'

Selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series 2019 and Words Ireland Mentorship Programme in 2020

Shortlisted for the Fish International Prize and the RTE Radio One Frances Mac Manus competitions.

Odd As F*ck

Including Postage

Odd As F*ck is Anne’s debut full length poetry collection. Her poems reflect on family relationships, mental health, sexuality, ageing and motherhood.

‘It recounts one woman’s journey through pain and growth. The poems are poignant, stark, and beautiful, heavy with unanswered questions, but buoyed up by levity. This is potent work.’

Nuala O’Connor, author and poet. 


The Woman With An Owl Tattoo

This life-affirming poetry chapbook reflects on the author’s growth since the ending of her marriage and what it means to unearth one’s true sexual orientation, in mid-life. Anne Walsh Donnelly’s intimate exploration of sexuality and identity is both brave and touching, marking this debut collection as a triumph.

Including Postage

Order it on site and get a copy signed by Anne delivered to your address.

Recently recorded interview with Anne

In an exceptionally moving interview Anne opens up about the ending of her marriage, her struggles with her mental health and her ‘coming-out’ journey.

Praise for He Used To Be Me

Every town has marginalised figures, roaming the streets for so long as to be barely noticed. Anne Walsh Donnelly’s sublime achievement is to reclaim one such man’s past by allowing him space to articulate his story in a unique and fragmented manner. It allows decades of memories to unfold and his humanity to shine through in words that do justice to his suffering and to his deep love and longing for those whom he has lost.
HE USED TO BE ME is beautifully and imaginatively told, using language that is poetic and profound, yet is instantly accessible. It is deeply sad, but strangely life-affirming at the same time.
HE USED TO BE ME is an exquisite piece of art. The writing is crisp and poetic. It’s a story of heartache and magic, and the inner workings of a mind on the edge. This is a man who is so original and yet recognisable, the person who rarely makes it into literature, yet lives on the fringes of many communities. An intense burst of a life that will carry you not just along but within it.

Contact Anne