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  • Published: 17 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241573297
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $29.99

Ruth & Pen

The brilliant debut novel from the internationally bestselling author of Notes to Self

The brilliant debut novel from Emilie Pine, author of the international bestseller NOTES TO SELF

Dublin, 7 October 2019

One day, one city, two women: Ruth and Pen. Neither known to the other, but both asking themselves the same questions: how to be with others and how, when the world doesn't seem willing to make space for them, to be with themselves?

Ruth's marriage to Aidan is in crisis. Today she needs to make a choice - to stay or not to stay, to take the risk of reaching out, or to pull up the drawbridge.

For teenage Pen, today is the day the words will flow, and she will speak her truth to Alice, to ask for what she so desperately wants.

Deeply involving, poignant and radiantly intelligent, it is a portrait of the limits of grief and love, of how we navigate our inner and outer landscapes, and the tender courage demanded by the simple, daily quest of living.

  • Published: 17 May 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241573297
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $29.99

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Praise for Ruth & Pen

Mesmerising . . . I became completely immersed in this emotional, intimate read

Good Housekeeping

Emilie Pine writes about the big things and the little things: friendship, love, fertility, grief; waking, showering, catching the bus. She did so in her startling collection of essays Notes to Self, and she does it again in this, her equally startling debut novel Ruth & Pen

Chloë Ashby, The Spectator

[An] uplifting debut novel . . . joy is a vital ingredient in Ruth & Pen

The Observer

The debut novel from the author of the personal essay collection Notes to Self is a poignant, raw exploration of the courage needed to find your space in the world


Impressive . . . Pine explores with great acuity and tenderness the restorative, capacious nature of love. A wise and lovely book

Daily Mail

Pine makes her chapters playful, writing with a friendly curiousness that brings to mind Ali Smith . . . Pine's measured yet tender juxtaposition of the women's days doesn't draw overly neat parallels so much as prove that one needs the other - younger needs older, optimist needs pessimist, introvert needs extrovert. And our opposites might help us find clarity


[Ruth & Pen] finds heartbreaking beauty in our everyday lives . . . There is a real tenderness in the way in which Pine writes about the teenage girls in the novel

The Irish Times

Pine reinforces her reputation as one of the most empathetic writers in the country

The Irish Examiner

There's no doubting the novel's basic integrity; its warmth, its undogmatic interest in ordinary lives, and the impressive range of its imaginative sympathies

Kevin Power, The Irish Times

Moving and raw . . . Pine's ability to enter the heads of two such different characters is a sure sign of literary promise

The Sunday Times (Ireland)

This book is an intimate portrait of love and grief, and the tender, fragile courage required just to live each day

Irish Country Magazine

A confident walk through the lives of others, two women seeking their place in the world and a peace in themselves

RTE Guide

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