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Irish author Martha Long discusses her book Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes, at Elliott Bay in Seattle

January 24, 2014 7:00am

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Friday, January 24th at 7pm
University Book Store
4326 University Way, N.E.
Seattle, Washington 98105

Join bestselling Irish author Martha Long, whose seven ‘Ma’ books about her extraordinary survival of the poverty-ridden streets of Dublin in the 60s have caused a sensation in Ireland and the UK. Martha will be speaking about her first book and the strength it took to tell her story, at her very first American book reading at University Book Store on Friday, January 24th at 7pm.

 Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes is Martha’s heartbreaking story of a little girl faced with the difficult task of surviving in a world set against her. Born to a teenage mother in the slums of Dublin, Martha quickly learned to use her mischievousness, courage and wit to get her through the most desperate situations, never giving up hope that a better life existed for her. She rarely went to school, spent days going shop to shop stealing butter, begged for food and clothes from the convent, and did all she could to steer clear of her stepfather, Jackser (“that bandy ‘aul bastard”).

Martha’s early years are recounted in the colloquial language of mid-century Ireland, and she recreates that lost era in which the Catholic Church loomed large, horses pulled carts through the cobbled streets of the slums, and a penny candy could brighten the darkest day. Virtually uneducated, Martha Long is natural-born storyteller. One can’t help but cheer on this mischievous, quick-witted, and persistent little girl who has captured hearts across Europe.

“This is a searing account of childhood survival.  No more haunting memoir has been published this year.” –Counterpunch

“Long’s story is a gritty, grueling, and heartbreaking testament to one girl’s unbreakable spirit.” –Publishers Weekly

 “Beautifully written and packed with detail.” –The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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