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Book of the Year in the Irish Times

‘A wonderful storyteller’ Joseph O’Connor

On the quays of Dublin, Jasmine is running, training for a fight she can’t compete in. It’s 1982 and boxing is illegal for girls.

For Jasmine boxing is everything: after running away from home, and narrowly escaping a risky situation in London, it is all she has to claim as her own. But with a legal fight impossible, and a ghost from her past on her trail, where can it end?

A History of Running Away is a brilliantly written novel about growing up, starting over and learning to fight for yourself.


This beautifully written novel is urgently contemporary in its concerns but is also a quietly compelling exploration of the notions of home and belonging. Paula McGrath is a wonderful storyteller with a vivid sense of place and person
Joseph O'Connor
Depicts a brutal world with astonishing tenderness and builds a clever, intriguing story, creating memorable characters along the way
Emma Henderson
A thoroughly modern, engaging and sophisticated novel about women who reach for better lives and are forced to run away to achieve them
Liz Nugent
McGrath captures Dublin of the 1980s perfectly . . . Ambitious, both structurally and narratively, and elegantly written
John Boyne, Irish Times
Elegant . . . Compelling reading
Daily Mail
The writing is fluid and accessible, the dialogue and setting authentic, proving Paula McGrath both a consummate storyteller and an excellent observer of human interactions
Sunday Independent
McGrath writes well and delivers some fine flourishes
Irish Sunday Times
A keen eye for both poignancy and humanity
Irish Independent
Sparkling prose