Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Shortlist 2022

Speechless by Fiacre Ryan


By Fiacre Ryan

‘Here now I tell my story, showing my understanding, reaching out, being respected, so people can listen to my turmoiled world. My thoughts unfurled on each page of my life story.’


Fiacre Ryan’s story to this point is compelling. He was the first non-verbal autistic student to sit the Irish Leaving Cert, achieving honours marks in Maths, English & History.

Until the age of 13, Fiacre had no means of communicating with his family or the outside world. His family believed his non-verbal autism had effectively locked him out of an ability to engage, and their perception was that he was incapable of ‘learning’ beyond any basic form of communication.

Through the introduction of the ‘rapid prompting method’ (RPM), a tool designed to help autistic children communicate, Fiacre has subverted all prior perceived limitations of somebody with non-verbal autism. In the process, he has unleashed his inner writer to devastatingly beautiful effect through his extraordinary and unique way of combining words and ideas in prose and poetry.

His writing is astonishing, independent from his autism. His poems address his daily experiences, while his commentary showcases his thoughts on the non-autistic world, on how those with autism are treated and his own personal ambitions and dreams for the future.

About Fiacre Ryan...

First and foremost, Fiacre Ryan is a writer. Speechless is his first book and with its publication he will become the first Irish-published author who also has non-verbal autism. He currently lives in Co. Mayo with his family, who have been a constant source of strength and determination.

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