A first novel of astonishing talent, Orchid & the Wasp announces Caoilinn Hughes as one of the most exciting literary writers working today. It follows the ruthless, fast-thinking anti-heroine Gael, who leaves Dublin for the coke-dusted art scenes of London and Manhattan after the 2008 economic crash, where Gael strives to save her loved ones amid financial and familial collapse. Caoilinn speaks with Bri Lee about her electric debut, which rattles the most basic assumptions about money, ambition and the nature of love.

Supported by Culture Ireland and the Consulate General of Ireland, Sydney

Find out more about Caoillin Hughes:


Caoilinn Hughes (International)

Caoilinn Hughes

Caoilinn Hughes is an Irish writer whose poetry collection Gathering Evidence won the Irish Times Shine/Strong Award. She has received fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, Art Omi, La Napoule Foundation and Siena Art Institute, as well as a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and the Ireland Funds Monaco Award. Her work has appeared in Granta, POETRY, Tin House, BBC Radio 3 and elsewhere. She holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr calls Hughes’ debut novel Orchid & the Wasp, “a gorgeous novel told in an onrush of wit and ferocity [... which] will rattle your most basic assumptions about money, ambition, and the nature of love. Caoilinn Hughes is a massive talent.”

Bri Lee (Australian)

Bri Lee

Bri Lee is the author of Eggshell Skull, a memoir exposing the systemic sexism of the Australian legal system. Her journalism has been published in The Saturday Paper, Crikey, The Guardian, and Harpers Bazaar, and she often appears on ABC's The Drum. Bri was the inaugural Kat Muscat Fellow in 2016, a 2017 Griffith Review Fellow, and won the 2018 Queensland Premier's Young Writer Award.