“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "Ireland"
Embracing the dread

Embracing the dread

Horror novels have an incredible ability to take us out of our lives and excite our imaginations. Reading a novel is great exercise for the mind as we build images in our heads of the worlds on the page, and this becomes even more pertinent when we read horror and our brains start to spawn...
Eve

Eve

Colm Tóibín’s first collection of poetry Vinegar Hill, written over several decades, explores sexuality, religion and belonging through a modern lens, across themes including politics, queer love, reflections on literary and artistic greats, living through Covid, memory, mortality and a fading past. Here he gives voice to a rueful Eve as she looks back on...
Love's old sweet song

Love’s old sweet song

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liver slices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencod’s roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine. Kidneys were in his...
Books as a Covid passport

Books as a Covid passport

Earlier this year, my novel The Butchers won the 2021 RSL Ondaatje Prize, awarded to the book which best evokes ‘the spirit of a place’. The prize seems like a lovely thing at the best of times – I am a big believer in the transportive power of books – but this year it felt...
Spilling over

Spilling over

Alix O’Neil’s memoir The Troubles With Us is full of tales of growing up among the sectarian divisions of Northern Ireland in the 80s and 90s. Both hilarious and frightening, it’s a brilliant insight into living in a war zone and also having to deal with family secrets. She tells us about her love of...
Shades of remembering

Shades of remembering

The Good Neighbours by Nina Allan (riverrun, 10 June) is set on the Isle of Bute, a not too remote island near Glasgow. Cath, who is from the island but living in the big city, is a freelance photographer who takes pictures of murder houses for a new project. This takes her back to where she...
Reading Ulysses

Reading Ulysses

When I was 22, I spent the month of June travelling around the Balkans by myself. I was trying to heal a broken heart, having been unexpectedly dumped by a boyfriend. Night after night, I ate supper alone in a taverna with just my book for company. The book in question was not only one...
Wilde

Wilde

Inside the Dublin guesthouse, over a breakfast of peppery scrambled eggs, I sat watching the young couple below on the street. They stood on the opposite side of the road, next to the bus stop’s thin yellow pole, bundled up in woollen accessories and thick, dark jackets. They pressed their bodies together, their arms clasping...
Everything, everywhere

Everything, everywhere

Fíona Scarlett’s stunning debut novel Boys Don’t Cry is a heartbreaking book about two brothers growing up in Dublin. Trying to get by while their dad is in prison, their world shatters when the younger brother Joe gets a cancer diagnosis. This book will make you cry and warm your heart at the same time....
Louise Kennedy: Marks on the ground

Louise Kennedy: Marks on the ground

Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award in both 2019 and 2020, and the recipient of many earlier awards, Louise Kennedy has become a leading light in Irish storytelling. Having worked mostly as a chef for thirty years, she began writing at the age of 47 in 2014, and has since completed an...
Lost souls

Lost souls

Suzanne O’Sullivan’s The Sleeping Beauties (Picador) is utterly fascinating. It reminds us that the brain is a wonderful and powerful thing and we have a long way to go before understanding it fully. Suzanne, a consultant in neurology, delves into cases that doctors and scientists have struggled to explain. Why are refugee children in Sweden...
Groundbreaking women

Groundbreaking women

What does it mean to break ground? To make an incision in soil so that building can begin or, more loosely, a reference to genius or creative prowess – some kind of innovation. What does it connote for the female body, given it’s a rare woman that hasn’t been told to lie down on the...