Tuesday, 18 November 2014


In honour of the Lines of Vision exhibition, which runs until April 2015 at the National Gallery of Ireland, my art-inspired short story collection Nude (Salt, 2009) is now reduced in price for kindle. It's $3.09 on Amazon.com, and £1.97 on Amazon.co.uk. That's less than €2.50!

Sunday, 16 November 2014


I'd a busy two days in Dublin: I went to the Plotting History event at the Dublin Book Festival on Friday, featuring Lia Mills, Patricia O'Reilly and Martina Devlin, all of whom were very interesting on their diverse and excellent novels. Tea and cake afterwards with the sublime Mia Gallagher in Queen of Tarts.

Karl Parkinson, MCing
On that evening to the launch of Dave Lordan's new poetry collection from Salmon, Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains in Toner's. Karl Parkinson was a great MC, Philip Coleman of TCD  delivered a considered and moving launch speech (he and Dave are old friends) and Dave read brilliantly, as always.
Philip Coleman launching Dave Lordan's new book
I love hearing the context of poems and enjoyed Dave's explanations about the lost tribes and about learning to love the corner of Wicklow he calls home. It was great to see pals old and new, including Kerrie O'Brien, Dmita Xidous and Nicole Rourke, director of the Big Smoke Writing Factory. I do so love a night out in Dublin.

Dave reading (phone pic, so excuse quality)
Saturday then was my Lines of Vision event at the National Gallery with Moya Cannon, Dermot Bolger and Roddy Doyle, with Luke Gibbons as chairperson.

Roddy Doyle
We each read our piece from the Lines of Vision book (Roddy and me - stories, Moya and Dermot - poems) and then talked about our relationship to Jack B. Yeats and why we had chosen Yeats's particular paintings as jumping off points for the pieces we wrote. The place was jammers, Luke was a great moderator and I learnt even more about Jack B. Yeats which makes me fall even harder for him and his work.

Dermot, Moya, Janet McLean (curator and editor of the LoV book), Luke, me, Roddy)
It was a great weekend of literary chatter, food and drinks, but am happy to be back at my desk now ready to continue on into novel #4. It has slowed down a little so I may need to have a research/brainstorming week with it. As long as I stay in touch with it, anything will do.

Much as I love getting away, I love even more to come back and potter at my desk. So, while I thank the stars for outings, I thank them equally for retreats.

Friday, 7 November 2014


I'm taking part in the Writers on Art: Jack B. Yeats study morning, at the National Gallery of Ireland. Me, Moya Cannon, Roddy Doyle & Dermot Bolger. 15th Nov. €15. All details here.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


The Fiction Laureate post is given the once over in the Irish Times today, by Sarah Gilmartin. The article is here. I am 'newer talent' (ten books on...): 'The names that feature range from established authors such as Anne Enright, Colum McCann, John Banville and Sebastian Barry, to newer talent such as Donal Ryan, Eimear McBride and Nuala Ní Chonchúir.'

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


a writing competition for poems
with a political theme

Prize : €500
Closing date: 25 January 2015
Judge: Derek Sellen

Full details at

Monday, 3 November 2014


Writer Lane Ashfeldt reviews The Closet of Savage Mementos at writing.ie here.

A taster: '...chick lit is not what you get from Nuala Ní Chonchuir. There’s a sharp analytical edge here that cuts into the muscle of the action, dissects each tangled sinew that connects the characters. She is exacting in her descriptions of physicality and of relations between the sexes, and this clarity of observation runs right through her writing, its pages damp and sticky with the exertions of her characters, and the griefs they give each other…'

Saturday, 1 November 2014


When I was in New York last week I went to the Westside Theatre's production of The Belle of Amherst, off Broadway. It's one-hander by William Luce and the role was made famous by Julie Harris. This time Joely Richardson plays Emily Dickinson.

When the play was announced, some of the madsers on Facebook had a little hate party. Here's one typical comment: '''Emily Dickinson'' to be made into a movie??????? (sic) ''Emily'' is not a face, but, an idea inside of the Ideal, a cosmic metaphor grasped, then given gravity on a sigh, or the whim of wonder, from our menial intellects. And, you want to personify that abundance of knowledge within the frame of a has-been Actress! Please People, don't send Emily's name to the lost world, by allowing this woman to even attempt going inside the mind of Emily Dickinson. We want our Children, and there (sic) Children to remember ''Emily's'' name. This is not the way to do 'Emily Dickinson'' justice.'

Yes, this is what you're up against - cosmic metaphors and all. If the film of my Miss Emily novel gets made (touch wood) I imagine there will be more choice viewpoints such as the above to contend with.

I suffer from Pre Theatre Stress. I am always trepidatious going to the theatre, to any gig or play. I fear that I will waste a couple of hours of my life on a below par performance and I'm just too impatient for that. It is mostly misplaced - I rarely don't enjoy the theatre. And, glad to say, Joely was wonderful as Emily - she was intense, witty, energetic, moving and warm. Just the Emily I know. Her accent was great (not one dip in it) and she used the set well. I took a sneaky pic of the set with my phone, it's not great but I add it for what it's worth.

The stage is split in two - to the left Emily's bedroom, slightly elevated, where she writes. To the right, the parlour, where she receives visitors. Emily addresses the audience as if we are visitors to her home and, with words taken from her letters and poems, she tells us about her life and those closest to her: her brother and sister, Austin and Vinnie, her parents, her beloved sister-in-law Sue, her 'preceptor' Thomas Wentworth Higginson (who edited her poems after her death) etc. She has one-sided conversations with these people and that, surprisingly, works really well.

Joely as Emily - pic by Carol Rosegg, Wall St Journal
Joely Richardson has incredibly expressive hands and she uses them brilliantly as she flits like a bird around the stage, telling us her recipe for Black Cake one minute and the next, heartbreakingly, recounting the death of her nephew, Gib. She cries (briefly) many times during the course of the play (I cried along) and this helped get across the fervency and depth of Emily's personality. I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the themes and the poems that chime with my own novel - it made me giddy to hear/see them played out in front of me. It makes my book seem very real and makes me fall in love with Emily and her world all over again.

I've now seen both covers for the novel - the USA/Canada one and the UK one. They are both very pretty and also quite different to each other. I can't wait to show them off. My book tour in the States next July is being planned and meetings with booksellers in Massachusetts next spring too, so I'll be back and forth a bit, it seems. It's so exciting and I love America, so it's all good. I should be able to announce the UK publisher soon (contract is signed) and do a cover reveal for the UK side too. Looking forward to sharing it with you all.


The New York Times review of the play is hereThe Hollywood Reporter has a kinder one here.