There's a good interview with Éilís Ní Dhuibhne here on the Dalkey Archive Press website. She says, among many things:
"As a writer, I tend to believe that I am individual and unique—indeed, every individual work, novel, short story, seems to make its own special demands and to have its own unique characteristics. However, only a fool believes she is not influenced by the writing and traditions of the past, the writing of the present, and the world in which she happens to live."
I so agree with that. It's kind of maddening, because each work is so different, to constantly feel like a beginner when you start a new project, particularly fiction. But there it is. And, though I have struggled with the idea of influence, I know for a fact that I owe a huge deal to writers like Éilís, Edna O'Brien, Eavan Boland, Sylvia Plath etc. etc. I think every writer I meet adds something to my knowledge and understanding of writing and that is brilliant.
When asked if there is a market for literary fiction in Ireland, she responds:
"There is a market for literary fiction. It is not very big and of course prefers good accessible conservative work to anything very challenging, but many people read and there is now a thriving Book Club scene. I think literature is prized and respected in Ireland."
She mentions me - I'm a 'neglected good short story writer'. Woop! That shouldn't make me happy of course (except the 'good' bit). I'm just happy because I am on Éilis's radar at all - I've always loved her writing. If you want to read a stunning short story, read Éilis's 'The Pale Gold of Alaska'. Fabulous.