The write stuff

Posted on: 7th April, 2014

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

Louise O' Neill’s debut novel, Only Ever Yours, has been described as ‘The Handmaid's Tale meets Heat Magazine’, and has received a glowing endorsement from Jeanette Winterson who said, “O' Neill writes with a scalpel”. It will be published by Quercus in August 2014. Louise is a native of Clonakilty. Over the next six columns/editions Louise will describe, step-by-step, how she went from that initial idea for a novel to signing a two book deal with a London publisher.

Writers often talk about their childhood incarnations as the ‘nerdy kid’ who ‘read all the time’. It’s akin to when supermodels recall being teased for the crime of being too tall and too thin; we all pretend that it’s something that we’re embarrassed by when truthfully I suspect we’re secretly a little proud of this early indication of the path our future selves will follow. So yes, I will admit to living up to the cliché. Reading was my favourite pastime as a child. I read voraciously, I often preferred books to people, the punishment my parents meted out for any particularly nefarious crime I committed was to ‘ban reading’, like something out of Ray Bradbury novel. In those desperate times, I took to reading the back of cereal boxes and washing instructions on clothes. I was incredibly popular, as you can imagine.

At 18, without a clue in the world what I wanted to do with my life besides getting drunk on Saturdays and kissing as many cute boys as I could find, I decided to read English at Trinity. My main criteria for this choice was a)It was very, very far away from home and b) figuring that since I liked to read, English Studies was an easy option. I imagined myself like an Evelyn Waugh character, hanging out with intellectuals in tweed jackets and leather elbow patches, all of us dropping witty bon mots like the spiritual descendants of Oscar Wilde. ‘Oh Tristan, stop it, you’re just wickedly funny’, etc. In truth, I found the course difficult that first year, the standard of academic writing something that I was unprepared for, and my classmates dauntingly brilliant. I loved the texts we were reading, and the lecturers were world class but I found the critical analysis oppressive, leaving little or no room for creativity. In my spare time, I started writing terrible, Sylvia-Plath style poetry, and short stories, which were thinly veiled autobiographical tales. In second year, I began my first attempt at writing a novel, but abandoned it after the first 10,000 words. Everyone wants to write a novel, I’d tell myself. What makes you think you’re so special?

I graduated from Trinity. I completed a post-graduate degree in Fashion Buying, and I moved to New York, to work for the then senior Style Director of Elle Magazine, and street style superstar, Kate Lanphear. I had a job ‘a million girls would kill for’, a boss who was kind and fun to be around no matter how stressful the work was, and I was living in the Greatest City In The World™. ‘And are you happy?’ My father asked me when I came home for Christmas, fashion-thin and worn out. ‘No.’ I answered honestly. ‘I’m not. I want to write. That’s what I want to do.’

‘Well, write then.’ he told me. ‘Get up at 5am and write before going to work. Write on the subway. Write in bed before you go to sleep.’

My father is the sort of man who thrives on self-imposed challenges, on tightly organised schedules, on taking pride in doing a job perfectly, all attributes that are reflected in the manner in which he runs his butcher shop in Clonakilty. I couldn’t explain to him that twelve hour days on my feet, sometimes without a lunch break, meant to that the subway ride home was often spent pretending to fall asleep so I wouldn’t have to give up my seat for the pregnant woman opposite me. (I still feel bad. Honest!) So, I left New York and came home to Ireland in 2011, saying I needed some ‘space to breathe.’ My relationship broke up, and I couldn’t find a job, giving me all the space I could ever want, and I didn’t know what to do with myself besides watching a worrying amount of One Direction interviews on YouTube and marvelling over Harry Styles’ hair. When people asked what I was going to do now that I was home, I said I was going to try and write a novel, of course.

September passed. Then October, November, December, January. I had been home nearly six months when my birthday arrived in February. I tore the paper of my parent’s present eagerly.

A new laptop.

‘For your novel!’ My mom said, delighted with herself.

Oh crap, I thought, pretending to smile gratefully at her. I’m actually going to have to write the damned thing now.

Latest News Articles:

Clonakilty Fairtrade Fortnight celebrates 15 years
€44 million to improve Cork roads
Clonakilty Access Group AGM hears of many frustrations and challenges for people with disabilities in the town
Schull student scoops top invention award at BT Young Scientist
Schull Garda Station wins ‘Leading Light in Road Safety’ award from Road Safety Authority
Go quackers at the 2018 West Cork Bird Race
Bandon in danger of losing its youth café
Local professionals invited to Anam Cara information pack launch
Bandon Transport and Public Realm Enhancement Plan shortlisted for Irish Planning Awards
Christmas on the beat

Join us on Facebook

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
... See MoreSee Less

20th February, 2018  ·  

Did you know..... ... See MoreSee Less

Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.
... See MoreSee Less

16th February, 2018  ·  

Vikings talk in Clonakilty!

“The Viking Gold and Silver Hoards from County Cork” is the topic of the next Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage lecture on Thursday 22nd at the Parish Centre starting at 8pm.

It will be delivered by John Sheehan, senior lecturer in the Archaeology Department, UCC and a former member of the Heritage Council and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

The Vikings were an important presence in Ireland for over two centuries. As well as inflicting great terror they were also responsible for introducing urbanism and new economic systems to the country.

In this talk the focus will be on the economy, looking at the gold and silver hoards that were buried in Co. Cork. It will also explore how these hoards were discovered, what happened to them, and where they are now!
... See MoreSee Less

15th February, 2018  ·  

Bandon Toastmasters is a club that helps people overcome Glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. The club is holding a night of inspirational and motivational speakers on February 22 that is a must for anybody wishing to overcome this phobia.
Tickets can be purchased either on the club's facebook page or through eventbrite.
... See MoreSee Less

13th February, 2018  ·  

Jump to: