Debut voices at Literary Festival
Following on from the great success of the debut fiction event last year with Louise Nealon and Eimear Ryan, this year’s festival has invited three writers whose first novels have been published this spring.
Journalist and broadcaster Edel Coffey who interviewed last year’s debuts onstage published her first novel Breaking Point in January this year. A gripping thriller investigating the aftermath of an infant’s death, it has been described as having all the hallmarks of a future bestseller by crime writer Jane Casey. It also examines and confronts the pressure that women can feel when they’re expected to be perfect in every way both at home and professionally. The novel was inspired by a news story about a mother who left her baby in a car and the baby tragically died. Coffey as a recent mother was haunted by the story and the opening of the novel tells the story brilliantly.
Aingeala Flannery’s debut collection of linked stories, The Amusements, is set in the tourist town of Tramore in Co Waterford. Inspired by ‘Honeymoon’, William Trevor’s 1990 story – the book unfolds over three decades and has been compared more than once to the work of the great American writer Elizabeth Strout. Flannery gave up her broadcasting job in Today FM five years ago and completed an MFA in creative writing in UCD. The gamble paid off and she won the Harper’s short story award and had a story broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 as part of the Francis McManus Short Story award. After writing more stories, she then drew them together for The Amusements to great success.
Writer, broadcaster and former porn star Conner Habib moved from the USA to Dublin in 2019. Hawk Mountain was partly inspired by his suffering as a child at the hands of bullies in rural Pennsylvania. He has written for Vice, Slate, Buzzfeed and The Irish Times, and he’s the founder and host of the popular podcast,Against Everyone with Conner Habib, where he interviews a mix of writers and artists. Set in a small town on the New England coast, Conner Habib's debut introduces characters trapped in isolation by the expansive woods and the encroaching ocean, their violence an expression of repressed desire and the damage it can inflict. Described by his publishers as ‘both gruesome and tender, Hawk Mountain offers a compelling look at how love and hate are indissoluble, intertwined until the last breath’.
These three writers will be reading and in conversation with book blogger Mairéad Hearne on Saturday, October 1, at 6pm in Nenagh Arts Centre. For booking see www.dnlf.ie