Irish women writing fiction were dismissed as ‘quiet’. Ireland wasn’t listening

“Grandmother’s voice – which I hear in my mind as rich and deep and assured – was only considered quiet because it was a woman’s. Women’s lives were not considered to be of general interest in Ireland until Gay Byrne started talking about them on the radio in the 1970s, but women were writing about their lives all along….”

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Mary Lavin portrait circa 1982 (photo by Diarmuid Peavoy)

TONIGHT OR TOMORROW, a short story.

“The strange thing was how normal Sarah felt. More than normal, she felt like she was operating on a higher plane. Like she was some kind of super functioning human being, someone who could put in half a day at the office, order the turkey and ham at lunchtime, keep a vigil at her mother’s bedside for the afternoon and still make the Christmas concert at the music school…”

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‘A City of the Past’

“It had always been Eva’s intention to go back to the city where she had spent a single, disproportionately dense year as a young woman, but somehow or other a quarter of a century had passed, and she had not done so…..”

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THE PAST IS A PLACE YOU CANNOT VISIT

In February of 2016, Kathleen travelled to Nicaragua with her father. They lived there as a family forty years ago, but had never been back since.

In this piece for ‘The Irish Times,’ Kathleen wrote about their personal journey  into the past, and the political realities of present day Nicaragua.

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THE SECOND BOOK IS THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR IN A HOTEL…

This is How it Ends author Kathleen MacMahon on Second Novel Syndrome
Ahead of her discussion on the subject with Pat Kenny, Liz McManus and Donal Ryan in the Irish Writers Centre, the bestselling writer reveals the perils and pitfalls of the second book.

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On writing the short story ‘Brave Girl’

“The idea for a novel arrives with its own energy. Maybe it HAS to generate its own energy, if it’s to power itself to completion. Like a skier who has to build up speed on the downhill to make it to the other side of a valley, the novel has to come in with a whoosh if it’s going to make the distance. But the short story travels cross country and without dramatics, powered entirely by me….

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