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Engaging and highly readable collection 

Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times

Smart, nuanced, provocative and so well written …

Colum McCann

Very moving stories…

Seán Rocks, ARENA

A sense of futility pervades the collection

Anne Sexton, Hot Press

This book will call you to attention…

Valerie O’Riordan, Bookmunch

Finely written and astutely observed …

Dermot Bolger

Stylish and tender… She is a writer to reckon with…

Sue Leonard, Books Ireland

Beautifully written and topical…

Nuala O’Connor, Irish Times


451 Editions, ISBN: 978-1-9162975-8-6

Originally published by Doire Press, this second edition of the Book Awards-shortlisted title provides the title with international distribution. From ancient Arabic, the term Ferenji  means ‘foreigners’ and exists today in countries from Ethiopia to Vietnam. Ferenji depicts life in the field with pathos, dark field humour and satire, lending a passionate civilian voice to the new genre of contemporary post-conflict literature.

In Ferenji, we glimpse the lives of those who work in the field in humanitarian aid, peacekeeping, human rights/refugee issues, or journalism. Some stories are set in an African country where a United World peacekeeping mission maintains a fragile calm following a brutal civil war. Others take place in a live conflict environment where international staff are largely restricted to a Green Zone and where abduction and bombings are daily threats. Stories explore landscapes both personal and geographical as well as the challenges and inspirations encountered – with a little field humour scattered throughout.

Inspiration comes partly from the author’s personal experience and research completed while working in Central America, Africa and Afghanistan. In ‘A Child Called Peace’, two young Irish peacekeepers find a child dying in a minefield. In ‘Blood and Bone’ a war photographer is haunted by the image of a refugee.  The title story, ‘Ferenji’ pits a lone aid worker against a bureaucratic system and ‘Operation Cat Lift’ is an allegory for our times. ‘Dogs‘ explores how sexism can go beyond culture and borders and was shortlisted for the 2017 Bórd Gais Irish Book Awards. The author has also been shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Awards, America’s Pushcart Prize and Ireland’s Francis MacManus Short Story Award. She received a bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland to work on FERENJI  and she is currently working on a novel.


Ferenji was originally published by Doire Press, an award-winning independent press in Connemara, Co Galway in 2016.


Helena Mulkerns received a bursary from The Arts Council of Ireland to complete this debut work. 

Available to order from bookshops internationally. Irish readers should reference our UK distributors, Gardners – who will despatch the book within 10 days.
Readers can also buy directly online from most major international book retailers, including:

Waterstones, Ireland / Foyles, UK / Barnes & Noble, USA / Schweitzer, Germany / Booktopia, Australia / / / /


Finely written and astutely observed …

– Dermot Bolger, Author, Playwright



An international voice that resonates with a deep empathy.

– Emer Martin, Author


Powerful and evocative.

– Martin Doyle, Author, Journalist

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