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Are You There God? It's Me, Ellen

Is it possible to be young, progressive and a Catholic? Ellen Coyne is about to find out …

‘You know, this isn’t a Catholic country anymore,’ someone proudly declared in a Dublin pub where Ellen Coyne was celebrating the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. About to turn 30, like many her age, Ellen had left the Church a long time ago, but she had never stopped believing in and talking to God. Now, she suddenly realised she wasn’t quite ready for this statement to be true, however much of a contradiction it seemed to present with some of her most strongly held views.

Abandoning the Church had been an act of protest, a form of punishment. However, she began to wonder: who had really lost the most? Why should those who did the damage to the Church get to keep it and all its good bits, like going to Mass for the ritual and the community, having a clear guide for living a better life, and the comfort of believing it’s not the end when somebody dies?

But how could she ally herself to an institution she doesn’t entirely agree with? In her first book, Ellen tries to figure out how much she really wants to go back to the Church, and if it is even the right thing to do. A stunningly intelligent and thoughtful debut work of non-fiction.


‘Get ready – this is going to inspire a thousand conversations across Ireland about the role of the Church in our society and our future.’ Louise O’Neill


‘I flew through this on a ‘will she, won’t she?’ knife-edge, all the while questioning my own attitude to faith and spirituality.’ Emer McLysaght


‘Sings with sincerity … this is the book the church doesn’t know it needs for its own survival.’ Justine McCarthy


‘The writing is clear, unadorned and easy to understand. And all the better for it: this is a book that deserves to not just be read, but to be a galvanising force. My hope is that it will start a revolution.’ Caroline O’Donoghue, Irish Independent Review

‘The book is fascinating. It is so well written. It’s really interesting.’ Louise McSharry, 2FM

‘I’m not sure I can think of anyone out there who will be on board with everything in this book. That might be its best quality. It will get people talking. Coyne does things her own way and doesn’t (excuse the blasphemy) give a blessed damn.’ Niamh Donnelly, The Irish Times

‘THIS is the book I’ve been waiting for!!! Its so desperately needed, so timely...Twenty pages in and I cannot put it down’ Deirdre O’Kane


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Publication Date

October 2020




Paperback, 272 pages

Country of Origin



Gill Books


By Ellen Coyne

Availability Status


Ellen Coyne is a news correspondent with the Irish Independent. She was previously Head of Politics with and a correspondent with The Times Ireland. In both 2017 and 2018 she won the Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Award for political story of the year. A Waterford native, she lives in Dublin.

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