Great news here—I’ll be part of the Author’s Tent at this year’s Boston Irish Festival at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton next weekend, June 7-9.

The Boston Irish Festival is the largest Irish Festival on the East Coast.  There are lots of fun events lined up, including three days and three stages of non-stop Celtic music

I’ll be doing hour-long readings and signings in the Author’s Tent, on both Saturday 6/8 (from 1:30-2:30) and Sunday 6/9 (from 11:45-12:45). 

Come on by, say hi, support Boston’s Irish community and the Irish Cultural Centre, and have some fun.   It’ll be great to see you!

Boswell's Books Shelburne Falls Mass

Hey, did you hear that beautiful little Shelburne Falls has just been voted by as one of the top five dream places to live in Massachusetts?

Doesn’t surprise me!  One of the hill-towns in the western part of the state, just south of the historic Mohawk Trail (Route 2), Shelburne Falls is one of my all-time favorite places. 

And Boswell’s Books, the independent bookstore which has been a staple in this artsy town for nearly twenty years, is one of my all-time favorite bookstores!

Which is why I’m delighted to be reading there this Thursday night, May 9.  This will be my first reading from my new book, “Prophet”, the second book in my historical-fiction series set in 6th-century Scotland and Ireland, “The Chronicles of Iona”.  I’ll talk a bit about the history underpinning the series, show some photos of the sites in Scotland and Ireland where it takes place, and read a bit from “Prophet”.

Boswell’s is located at 10 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, MA, 01370.  We’ll start at 6 p.m. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Saltwater Celtic Music Festival - logo


This just in!  It’s been confirmed that I’ll be the Writer in Residence for the Saltwater Celtic Music Festival, Brunswick, Maine, this July 20-21, 2013!  I am exceptionally honored to have been asked to represent Celtic literature at this amazing Celtic music festival and can’t wait to hang out and listen to all these fantastic musicians, including Enter the Haggis, Young Dubliners, Prydein, Maeve Gilchrist, and more! 
I’ll be hosting the Saltwater Lit Tent and will also be featured on the Saltwater Lit and Pubs tour the week preceding the festival.  I’ll keep you posted as to details, but if you are in the area that weekend, this event is a must!  

For tickets and details, visit: Saltwater Music Festival 2013.  For a limited time, anybody purchasing 2 or more two-day tickets will get to choose a free CD from one of four Saltwater 2013 performers: Maeve Gilchrist, Enter The Haggis, Young Dubliners, or The Paul McKenna Band. Saltwater is also waiving the usual $5.00 S&H fee for all orders.  So do it now!  TICKETS

Another outstanding review for The Chronicles of Iona: Prophet, this time from ForeWord Clarion

Giving it 5 STARS, ForeWord Clarion calls Prophet a “thrilling and fast-paced epic” which will “appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Tales, readers of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and any who enjoy stories of King Arthur or the Dark Ages”.

“As wonderful and elegant a saga as Chronicles of Iona: Exile was,” says ForeWord Clarion’s Mark McLaughlin, “Paula de Fougerolles’s sequel is even better”.

Here it is!

The Chronicles of Iona


Clarion Review (5 Stars)

As wonderful and elegant a saga as Chronicles of Iona: Exile was, Paula de Fougerolle’s sequel is even better. The first volume in the series took its twin protagonists from boyhood to early manhood; the second brings them to their full adulthood standing as holy man and warlord. While the term “epic” is often too casually bandied about, there is no doubt that this series is deserving of that epithet.

While Chronicles of Iona: Prophet is enjoyed best after the previous volume is devoured, this second installment is hearty enough to stand on its own. It is a thoroughly researched and historically sound novelization of the story of the two founding pillars of the Scottish nation: St. Columba and Aedan mac Gabran. With elegant and lyrical writing, de Fougerolles has composed a thrilling and fast-paced journey that cuts through the mists of legend without losing the magic and wonder of myth.

Set thirty years after the death of King Arthur, de Fougerolles’s book is nonetheless Arthurian in scope and feel. The author, a noted linguist and scholar of the era, has packed in everything fans of the genre could want. There are raids and rapes, seductions and sodomies, battles and ball games, drownings and decapitations, rituals and races, storms and stolen kisses, and even some religious debates. The Loch Ness Monster (whom St. Columba is said to have bested) is thrown in for good measure. All of these make for grand fun, but the story is hardly lighthearted, for as Columba warns a young novice monk, “There are horrors here of which you have never heard.”

The narrative is an adventure with heroes great and small, villains evil and mean (both in character and in stature), princesses wild and demure, and many other characters fair and foul. Except for recounting events of the first book, very little is told here—in fact, most of the action is shown in great, bloody splendor. As such, it will appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Tales, readers of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and any who enjoy stories of King Arthur or the Dark Ages.

Readers unfamiliar with the crazy and confusing patchwork of clans and kinglets sprinkled about Ireland, Scotland, and the remnants of Roman Briton may have some initial difficulty figuring out who is who, let alone on which team they are playing in this royal game. The author does her mightiest, however, to make that as clear as possible. There are extensive notes and guides in the back of the text, although most readers will, unfortunately, not notice these aids until they finish the novel. Additional notice up front (beyond the listing in the table of contents) that these resources exist would have been helpful, and some of the explanatory material could have been relegated to footnotes.

These small complaints aside, de Fougerolles’s book is a thoroughly engrossing tale that provides entertainment and insight into the legends and history of the Irish, Scottish, and British people.

Mark McLaughlin
March 7, 2013

With so many other wonderful things going on here, I haven’t had time yet to post some fantastic reviews for “Prophet”, the second book in my historical-fiction series, “The Chronicles of Iona”. 

Here’s Kirkus!  Kirkus Reviews’ The Chronicles of Iona: Prophet



by Paula de Fougerolles

This historical fantasy novel, the second in a series, continues the adventures of warrior Aedan mac Gabran and monk St. Columba in sixth-century western Scotland.

In her debut novel, 2012’s The Chronicles of Iona: Exile, (one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2012), de Fougerolles recounted how Columba founded his famous monastery and helped set the stage for warrior Aedan’s rise to power. This second volume picks up some four years after the first, in the year 567. Aedan has been living among the Picts, his former enemies and now his in-laws; he’s learned their language and customs, and while he may not deeply love his Pict wife, he adores his small son. But now his brother, Eogan, needs his help. Saxon invaders threaten many small kingdoms, prophecies thicken the air, and Aedan and Columba work to restore a strong, wise kingship amid political, ethnic and religious strife. As she did in Exile, de Fougerolles, a medieval historian, reveals sixth-century Europe in vivid, brutal and beautiful detail—a place where myth, legend and history mingle. Her characters are fully rounded and psychologically complex, not just hack-and-slash warriors. The political intrigue is made more complicated by the tangle of unfamiliar people and places; for example, the names Elmet, Gwallawg, King Yffi, Catraeth, Kynfarch, Cair Ebrauc, the Oenaches and Din Guoaroy, among others, can all be found on a single page. (The author helpfully provides a glossary, maps and a timeline.) The appealing Columba has less to do in this installment, and Aedan sometimes seems to have little agency as circumstances back him into corners. That said, this book provides a rich feast, and fans will likely look forward to the series’ third book, forthcoming later this year.

This historical fantasy series’ latest installment once again brings myth, history, magic and religion to warm and vivid life.


If you find yourself in lovely Lawrence, MA next weekend, 3/23/13, pop on by the Heritage State Park at 2 p.m. where I’ll be presenting on the world of The Chronicles of Iona and signing books.  It’s all to benefit the Irish Foundation of Lawrence, so a great cause, and should be lots of fun.  Hope to see you there!

There’s a fantastic event coming up in Boston next weekend—an Irish History and Genealogy seminar hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA).  

I’ll be talking about the history and archaeology of medieval Ireland and Scotland that inspired my series, The Chronicles of Iona.  

Marie Daly, founder of TIARA and long-time NEHGS Library Director, will present on “Tracing Irish Domestic Servants” using case studies from the Boston area.

It’s being held at the NEHGS Library, 99 Newbury Street, Boston, on March 23 from 9:30-12:30.

This event is always sold out, so get your tickets now!

ForeWord Reviews

Dear Friends:

Exciting times here!  Got word on Monday that ForeWord Reviews has named my first book, The Chronicles of Iona: Exile, a Finalist in the category of Historical Adult Fiction in its 2012 Book of the Year Awards! 

Here’s the press release. 

I’ll keep you posted.  Keep your fingers crossed!   The winners will be announced at the end of June.

March 11, 2013—ForeWord Reviews is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2012 Book of the Year Awards. The finalists were selected from 1300 entries covering 62 categories of books from independent and academic presses. These books represent some of the best books produced by small publishing houses in 2012. For a full list of the finalists, searchable by genre, visit:

Over the next two months, a panel of sixty judges, librarians and booksellers only, will determine the winners. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards, as well as Editor’s Choice Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction, will be announced at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago, Friday, June 28th, 6pm at The Pop Top Stage. Winners will also be announced on our website; on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+; and in our weekly email newsletter, ForeWord This Week. The winners of the two Editor’s Choice Prizes will be awarded $1,500 each. ForeWord’s Independent Publisher of the Year will also be announced.

ForeWord’s Book of the Year Awards program was created to highlight the year’s most distinguished books from independent publishers. The awards announcement provides an additional publicity opportunity for publishers long after a book’s initial publication date. After months of perusing the list of submissions, librarians and booksellers eagerly anticipate this announcement of finalists—a valuable resource for discovering obscure titles from the world of indie publishing.

ForeWord Reviews, a quarterly print journal dedicated to reviewing independently published books, was established in 1998 to provide booksellers, librarians, agents, and publishing professionals with reviews of the best titles from small, alternative, and academic presses. ForeWord also provides a myriad of services to publishers, including international trade representation, Book of the Year Awards, Clarion fee-for-review services, and an interactive website for the reading community.


Posted by: pauladefougerolles | February 5, 2013

Book 2, The Chronicles of Iona: Prophet, is here!


The Chronicles of Iona: Prophet by Paula de Fougerolles

The Chronicles of Iona: Prophet by Paula de Fougerolles

The second book in my historical-fiction series The Chronicles of Iona, called Prophet, is now out!

The story picks up where the first book, Exile, left off, beginning in the year 567 A.D.  Four years after journeying with Scottish warrior Aedan mac Gabran into the land of the wild Picts, Irish abbot-prince Columba is forced back there to seek Aedan’s aid for an epic battle.  Aedan must leave his Pictish wife and child and return to his first love, now married to the brother whose princely power he has vowed to help save.

Yet once home, the friends’ struggle to quell the chaos of the western shores only unearths even more secrets and prophecies that test old loyalties and faiths of all kinds. While Saxon invaders spread from the east and the Britons’ many kingdoms battle for sovereignty, the Scots’ ancestors from Ireland also enter the fray, and Aedan and Columba must fight enemies both political and personal in a desperate attempt to protect everything they have come to love.

Thank you for your patience while I finished preparations for the book.  In many ways (all good!), Prophet was the victim of Exile’s success and had to wait while I travelled around doing Exile-inspired events. 

What a fun year it’s been!  Especially since Kirkus Reviews named Exile one of the Top 100 Indie Books of 2012. 250,000 books were independently published in 2012, so that’s quite an honor! (Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012)

It was the culmination of many happy occasions for Exile. After receiving great reviews from both Kirkus (starred review) and ForeWord Clarion (5 stars out of 5), it was launched at the Boston-Northwest Ireland 2012 Golden Bridges Conference here in Boston.  That was a lovely evening.

A big thanks to Donegal County Council in particular for featuring Exile in its Donegal Diaspora project (Columba/Colm Cille was born and bred in beautiful Donegal!) and its One Book One Community International Reading Project which aims to foster connections between Donegal, Derry, Scotland and New England by organizing events around the book. I’ve already kicked off the New England arm of the initiative with a wonderful evening at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England ; more exciting events will follow.

You can get a print copy or eBook of Prophet here.  All the international Amazon sites are also selling it (Prophet Amazon UK for my friends in the UK).

(If you don’t have a Kindle device for reading the eBook, you can download a free Kindle Reading App for your smartphone, tablet or computer.)

If you like Prophet, please consider posting a review on its Amazon Page, or simply “like it”. (Prophet Amazon UK for the UK, etc.)  This helps tremendously to get the word out.

Or like and share the series’ Facebook Page.

And please tell your friends!

Do let me know what you think of the book!  The series is ongoing so your input really does matter!  Besides, who doesn’t love to “talk story”?

And now I’ll be able to get back to writing Book 3 , entitled Island-Pilgrim (set almost entirely in Ireland)—but first a trip to Scotland next week to attend the sold-out Society of Antiquaries of Scotland’s International Conference on Scotland in Early Medieval Europe

While there, I’ll be conducting research for forthcoming books in the series, which will mean hiking up quite a few Dark-Age hillforts …  Can’t wait!

In the meantime, enjoy!

I am delighted that Donegal County Council has chosen “The Chronicles of Iona: Exile” to be the featured novel in its One Book One Community Reading Project for 2013.  People in New England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland will be reading “Exile” at the same time.  Here’s an article about the project which appeared in the The Irish Emigrant (1/3/13). 

We’ll be kicking off the New England arm of the project with an hour presentation by me on Thursday, January 17 at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, here in Canton, MA.  I’ll be talking about the history and landscapes, the folklore and mythology which inspired the series.  Please do come, if you can!

(And for those of you who have been patiently waiting for Book 2, “Prophet”: I have good news!  I approved the book today and will build its Amazon page this week.  I’ll let you know as soon as it’s available!)

Irish Cultural Centre Partners with the Donegal County Council’s One Book One Community Reading Event This Winter

Posted on Thursday, January 03, 2013 at 08:59 AM


Author Paula de Fougerolles.

Author Paula de Fougerolles

The ICC’s 2013 Author Series kicks off on Thursday, January 17th at 7:30 p.m. as the Centre welcomes author Paula de Fougerolles for her media presentation on the Irish history, Celtic landscape, and Ionian archeology which inspired her to write her historical fiction series The Chronicles of Iona (Careswell Press, 2012). The first book in her series is called Exile and tells the story of how the exiled Irish abbot Columba makes his journey to Iona with a Scottish warlord. The presentation will run for 45 minutes with a question and answer period. Light refreshments will be served. The cost is $10 per person. Copies of Book One: Exile will be available for purchase.

This event came about thanks to Ireland’s Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, Director of Community, Culture and Planning with Donegal County Council, who invited the Irish Cultural Centre to be a partner in the 2013 County Donegal One Book One Community reading event. Ó hÉanaigh was inspired to propose a transnational One Book One Community project after meeting author Paula de Fougerolles of Brookline, Massachusetts in 2012 and reading her novel, Exile.

The book has been acclaimed by Mark McLaughlin of ForeWord Review as a “saga of war and struggle, of honor and treachery, of faith and comradeship. . . . Any reader with an interest in the history of Ireland, Scotland, the church, or the military of the so-called Dark Ages will love this book.” In fact, Ó hÉanaigh immediately felt Exile would be ideal for a One Book project and given Donegal County Library’s experience in running a similar project in 2011 with teenagers reading Divided City, has confidence this will be “an exciting project with enormous potential to develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones.”

For those new to the concept of One Book One Community, the idea began in major U.S. cities like Chicago and Charlotte when community leaders thought it would be a fun and rewarding activity for folks to have a chance to come together to start conversations about the same book. A title with universal themes about a subject of lasting impact is chosen and promoted to a wide community. The program happens over a period of time through reading groups, author presentations, panel discussions, and special events like film viewings and activities related to the book’s themes.

Ó hÉanaigh notes that “the themes in Exile are perfect for connecting Donegal with Derry and Scotland.” In addition, given the longstanding connections between Donegal and Boston, “this is an opportune time to reach across the Atlantic in new ways and to invite the Irish Cultural Centre of New England to join us in the One Book project.” In his invitation to ICCNE members and its visitors, he states that “I am confident everyone who reads the book will be as enthusiastic as I am.” He concluded by reminding us “that 2013 is the year of The Gathering in Ireland and the year of the City of Culture in Derry~Londonderry. There is no better time to join across the waters in celebrating all that is good in literature, arts and culture about Ireland.”

Mary McTigue, ICC Executive Director, is delighted that the Donegal County Council reached out to the Centre. “Having the chance to share this reading experience of such an engrossing tale of Irish adventure through several programs here at the Centre is just the kind of activity we strive to provide,” McTigue say. “It’s fantastic that the author of the book which Donegal County Council selected is right here in our own backyard. Having her come to the Centre to kick off our One Book One Community event means so much to us.” The ICC hopes to create a wide circle of readers who will enjoy coming together in book discussion groups and at special events from January through April to delve into the themes, characters, and history of Ireland.

For more information about the January 17th Author Presentation at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England and the One Book One Community project, please visit or call 781-821-8291.

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