Saturday, 26 July 2014


Sarah Gilmartin has a review of The Closet of Savage Mementos in The Irish Times today. And it's a goody. A snippet: 'Earlier work has drawn comparisons to Edna O’Brien. With her ability to get inside a story, and a writing style that is both lyrical and exact, it is easy to see why.' Swoon. Big thanks to Sarah. Read it online here.

I am reading from the novel at the Galway Fringe Festival today: 2pm, The Bridge Mills. Adm.: €5. All welcome!

Friday, 25 July 2014


You may have noticed that my blog header now includes the anglicised version of my name 'Nuala O'Connor' and that my Twitter account name has changed to Nuala O'Connor too. I will shortly be setting up the Nuala O'Connor Facebook page, as FB makes it difficult to change the name of an existing author page.

The reason behind all of this is a simple one: when my novel Miss Emily comes out next year, it will bear the name Nuala O'Connor, not Nuala Ní Chonchúir. It makes sense. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can pronounce my name despite my efforts to cure that ill. Penguin USA and Penguin Canada are publishing Miss Emily and it will be easier for them to market me if my name (or half of it, at least) is pronouncable.

I was christened Nuala O'Connor. But I went to a Gaelscoil (Irish medium school) so from the age of four, I was known as Nuala Ní Chonchúir. It's the name I have been known by for 40 years. But, you know, change is good and it seems this change is going to help sell my book, so I am happy to do it.

I haven't decided yet if the change will be permanent, or if it will be a (very familiar) nom-de-plume/pseudonym. Time will tell. In the meantime, me, myself and I are still Nuala Ní Chonchúir, but the woman who will face the legions of Emily Dickinson fans will be Nuala O'Connor. May she fare well :)

Thursday, 24 July 2014


I have a piece called 'What the Highlands Gave Me' in today's Irish Times Culture section about the genesis of my new novel The Closet of Savage Mementos. The picture with it, of me and the kiddos, is by Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Costa Short Story Award 2014

This award, for a single short story, is open to authors aged 18 or over (on January 1st 2014) whose primary residence has been the UK or Ireland since 1st November 2011.

No Entry Fee.
Max of 4,000 words.
Previously unpublished stories only.
Closing: 4pm, 1st of August 2014.
One story per author only. No set theme.
Six stories will be shortlisted and these will be posted on the Costa Book Awards website from mid-November 2014 to mid-January 2015. The public will vote for their favourite. (GROAN!)
Prizes: £3,500, £1,500 and £500.
Full competition rules and entry on the website.


Writer Órfhlaith Foyle
My friend, super-writer, Órfhlaith Foyle, will be introducing me at my Galway Fringe reading on Saturday. We'd love to see you!

When: 2pm, Saturday 26th July 2014

Where: Bridge Mills

Admission: €5

The Closet of Savage Mementos will be for sale for the special, bargainous price of €10.

Monday, 21 July 2014


Art in our apartment
Oh, Vienna! You have me tired. I must be getting truly old when a trip to Europe wipes me out as much as a long-hauler. It was, of course, a great breakaway and it is always a joy to meet with friends old and new at the Short Story Conference. Our airbnb apartment was fantastic (large and antique furniture filled), so that was a bonus, particularly with Juno in tow. And with the temps in the mid-thirties. Swoon.

Anyhoo, we ate Sachertorte at the Belvedere and vegan ice-cream at Eis Greissler, we U-bahned and trammed, walked and drank bier, and had a go in the Riesenrad ferris wheel (featured in the film Before Sunrise). I read and was on a panel and I introduced the lovely Madeleine Darcy along with the equally fab Shirley Abbott.

My photos are a mixed bag (Embassy ones are particularly bad) but here are some others for what it is worth.

Juno at The Belvedere, where we saw Klimt's 'The Kiss'
Robert Olen Butler reads at Literaturhaus
Lots of horsedrawn carriages on the streets
Irish/Scottish writer Dónal McLaughlin reads at the Juridicum, Uni of Vienna
View from the Riesenrad
Golden statue on a Viennese corner
Lots of fun graffiti in beautiful Vienna
Juno in hat
In our apartment before our farewell party at the Heurigen (wine-tavern)
Me, Madeleine Darcy and Shirley Abbott
The linked stories panel I was on: me, Lucy Durneen, Kelly Cherry, Adnan Mahmutovic - Robert Luscher behind
Juno with Pinocchio
Finbar on Stephansplatz
Tania Hershman and I, new tattoo comparing
Yamm! is the veggie place in Wien. Finbar had vegan frogspawn cake. Or something...
My reading-mate I-Wei Wu, our introducer Madeleine Darcy and me
At the Irish Embassy waiting to read, with Maurice Lee and a beatific looking Alan McMonagle
Ying Tai Chang introduces Billie Travalini
Billie Travalini reads
Billy O'Callaghan reads at the Irish Embassy
Juno running through the very posh Ferstel Arcade
The flea market - we went with Tania. The heat was unbearable that day.
Free books stalls near our apartment being replenished by a lovely man
Pals! Pat Jourdan, me, Billie T and Tania
Paul McVeigh introduces Pat Jourdan
Jim Grady is alarmed by Wiener Würstchen at the
Ailsa Cox & Elizabeth Baines, warming up at the Heurigen
Yamm! lunch: Adnan, Vaness Gebbie, Jarred McGinnis, Zoe Gilbert, Tania, Dónal and Juno

Sunday, 20 July 2014


There are copies of my new novel The Closet of Savage Mementos up for grabs on Click here to enter.

I will be reading from the novel at the Galway Fringe Festival this Saturday 26th July at 2pm, in the Bridge Mills on Bridge Street, Galway City. Entry: €5. See details here.