Press Release-A Life Before

London UK – After seven years of research and writing, Irish novelist and poet Orna Ross launches a new novel, A Life Before, with an exclusive Kickstarter edition. 

A Life Before is the first book in the highly anticipated Gonne-Yeats series which comprises seven standalone novels that together form an epic biographical fiction sequence about the life and times of Irish luminaries Maud Gonne and WB Yeats, and their circles… public and private.

Introducing A Life Before

A Life Before, the first novel in the sequence, tells the coming-of-age stories of three young Irish people on the brink of life-changing decisions: Maud Gonne, Willie (WB) Yeats, and Paddy Cross, the fictional uncle of Rosy Cross, the series narrator and at time of writing, “the oldest woman in Ireland”.

The novel is set in the late 1880s amidst land wars and class upheaval in Ireland, England and France, as revisited by Rosy from her vantage point in the 1990s. It weaves together the stories of an heiress questioning her privilege, an aspiring poet seeking true love, and a country laborer in desperate need. The three are exiled to England, and must navigate a world of emotional turmoil and societal challenges to overcome the death and destruction that has erupted in their lives.

This first novel in the series introduces readers to its cast of extraordinary characters but is a standalone read in itself. Orna Ross masterfully blending history and fiction to take readers a journey filled with emotional twists and spiritual turns, as A Life Before offers a fresh perspective on the bohemian lifestyles of Dublin, London, and Paris in the 1880s, and uncovers lesser-known aspects of the lives of WB Yeats and Maud Gonne.

Through the enchanting voice of its narrator-romancer, the story intertwines factual and fictional elements, revealing hidden aspects of the famous poet, the revolutionary activist, and the Irish people.

Kickstarter Campaign Launch

A Life Before launches with a Kickstarter campaign on July 22nd, 2024, to create an exclusive, premium edition to support the campaign to see a statue of Maud Gonne in Dublin. The Kickstarter campaign will offer exclusive rewards for backers, including ebooks, signed hardbacks, special experiences for fans of Maud Gonne and WB Yeats, offerings form Maud Gonne’s descendants, and even the chance to have a character named in the next book in the series. 

Introducing the Gonne-Yeats Series

A Life Before marks the beginning of the Gonne-Yeats series, a dazzling seven-novel sequence that traverses a tumultuous backdrop of 40 years, from 1886 to 1926 Ireland, England, and France, to dive into the real-life love triangle between Nobel laureate poet WB Yeats and the mother-daughter duo Maud and Iseult Gonne, and the murder of the sex worker, Honor Bright, a near-relative of the narrator. In spanning four decades across the Belle Époque, Celtic literary revival, first world war, the Irish war of independence, civil war, and the establishment of a new Irish state and world order, the series intricately weaves the personal and political lives of its characters with the historical events that shaped their age… and ours. 

The novel delves into these transformative events by bringing to life a dazzling line-up of real people, including the writers Ezra Pound and Francis Stuart, the activists Constance Markievicz and Emmeline Pankhurst, the Gonne and Yeats families, and a cast of unforgettable fictional characters, offering readers a front-row seat to the history that formed our world today.

About Orna Ross

Orna Ross is an award-winning Irish novelist and poet, who has been named one of the Top 100 People in Publishing (The Bookseller) for her work with the Alliance of Independent Authors. Her books explore themes of identity, creative empowerment, and the interplay between the personal and the political. Born and raised in Wexford, in the south-east of Ireland, she now lives in St Leonard's on Sea, in the south-east of England, within working reach of London. 

About A Life Before:

  • Title: A Life Before
  • Author: Orna Ross
  • Publication Date: Kickstarter Edition, November 2024. General Release: Spring 2025
  • Publisher: Font Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-913349-69-1
  • Book and pre-orders available at:

General Contact:

Interested parties can learn more and support the project by signing up for the Kickstarter launch at:

Find more information in the media kit for the campaign.

Media Contact

For media inquiries, interview requests, or additional information, please contact: 

Shanaya Wagh 


Phone No: +44 7459562252