As part of Red Line Festival

Ireland has a rich history full of interesting characters. Martina Devlin, Laura McKenna and Marianne Lee chose to highlight the forgotten lives of 3 Irish figures through fiction. Join them and host Emily Hourican as they discuss the joys and difficulties of writing historical fiction.

Martina Devlin is an author, journalist and playwright. Edith: A Novel, about the Irish R.M. co-author Edith Somerville, is her latest book. Prizes include the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Prize and a Hennessy Literary Award. She writes a weekly current affairs column for the Irish Independent and has been named National Newspapers of Ireland commentator of the year. Martina is the first holder of a PhD in literary practice from Trinity College Dublin. She presents the City of Books podcast for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.

Laura McKenna is a writer of fiction and poetry and worked for many years as a child psychiatrist. Her debut novel, Words to Shape My Name, was published by New Island in 2021 and shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award. She is the recipient of Tyrone Guthrie, Cork County Council, John Montague Mentorship (Munster Literature Centre) and Arts Council bursaries. Twice nominated for a Hennessy Literary Award and a Forward Prize for poetry, Laura was chosen for the 2021 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. She is currently working on her second novel and her first collection of poems.

Marianne Lee grew up in Tullamore, Co. Offaly and now lives in Dublin with her husband and two cats. She has a degree in Visual Communications from the National College of Art and Design and an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin. She works as a designer and copywriter. Her debut novel, A Quiet Tide, a fictionalised account of the life of Ellen Hutchins, Ireland’s first female botanist, was published in 2020 by New Island. A Quiet Tide was shortlisted for the 2021 Kate O’Brien Award, featured on RTÉ Radio One Book on One in spring 2022, and was recently reissued as a paperback. Marianne is currently adapting A Quiet Tide for the screen and working on her second novel.

Emily Hourican is an author and journalist. She studied English and History in UCD  and has written for The Sunday Independent, the Independent, Image magazine, The Gloss and various international publications for 20 years. She is the author of seven novels. The last three of these have been historical fiction, set during the 1920s and 30s, in Ireland and the UK, and featuring the three daughters of Ernest Guinness. Researching these novels was, she says, the best part of the process. In particular, going beyond the published works on the Guinness family – most of which include only peripheral mention of the women of that large family – and discovering local archives, personal recollections and private papers. Drawing together all of the disparate material she discovered – about the Guinness sisters but also the environments in which they lived and the people they interacted with – and creating a story out of that has been instructive, and endlessly fascinating.

Presented By: South Dublin Libraries & Arts
Duration: 60 mins. No interval