Female protagonists and big dreams with Michelle Gallen and Olivia Fitzsimons, chaired by Mia Colleran
Venue: An Díseart – Fresco Room
Date: Saturday 19 November 2022
Time: 15.00 – 16.00 IST/GMT
Tickets: €8 in advance, €10 on the door
Michelle Gallen agus Olivia Fitzsimons i mbun comhrá, faoi chathaoirleacht Mia Colleran
Ionad: An DIseart – Fresco Room
Dáta: Dé Sathairn 19 Samhain 2022
Am: 15.00 – 16.00 IST/GMT
Costas: Beidh na ticéid ar díol ar €8 roimh ré agus €10 ag an doras
Michelle Gallen was born in Tyrone in the 1970s and grew up during the Troubles a few miles from what she was told was the “Free” State and the “United” Kingdom. She studied English Literature at Trinity College Dublin and publishing at Stirling University. She won several prestigious prizes as a young writer before a devastating brain injury in her mid-twenties. Michelle is published by John Murray Press and Algonquin Books.
Olivia Fitzsimons is from Northern Ireland and now lives in Wicklow. She is the recipient of the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris/Literature Ireland Residency 2022/23 and has been awarded grants from the Arts Council of Ireland and Northern Ireland for her writing. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly and The Cormorant, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Short Works. The Quiet Whispers Never Stop (John Murray Press 2022) is her first novel and was an Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair Winner in 2020.
Grief and love; identity; courage and female bonds are just some of the topics Michelle Gallen and Olivia Fitzsimons will be talking about at their joint Dingle Literary Festival event. The women, both from Northern Ireland, have both released novels this year featuring female protagonists struggling to reconcile big dreams with the confines of a small hometown set against the background of The Troubles.
Michelle Gallen won several prestigious prizes as a young writer before a devastating brain injury in her mid-twenties forced her to take a break. Her debut novel Big Girl, Small Town was one of 100 books chosen by MOLI to represent contemporary Irish writing and is currently being adapted for TV by BBC production company Lookout Point.
Olivia Fitzsimons worked in film and found herself writing after having children and figuring out what came next. She is the recipient of the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris/Literature Ireland Residency 2022/23 and has been awarded grants from the Arts Council of Ireland and Northern Ireland for her writing.
Gallen’s Factory Girls has been compared to Derry Girls while Fitzsimons’ The Quiet Whispers Never Stop has been described as an “exceptional debut”
Smart-mouthed and filthy-minded, Maeve Murray has always felt like an outsider in the shitty wee town in Northern Ireland that she calls home. She hopes her exam results will be her ticket to a new life in London; a life where no one knows her business, or cares about her dead sister. But first she’s got to survive a tit-for-tat paramilitary campaign as brutal as her relationship with her mam, iron 800 shirts a day to keep her summer job in the local factory, and dodge the attentions of Handy Andy Strawbridge, her dubious English boss.
In 1982, Nuala Malin struggles to stay connected, to her husband, to motherhood, to the smallness of her life in the belly of a place that is built on hate and stagnation. Her daughter Sam and baby son PJ keep her tethered to this life she doesn’t want. She finds unexpected refuge with a seventeen-year-old boy, but this relationship is only temporary, a sticking plaster on a festering wound. It cannot last and when her chance to leave Northern Ireland comes, Nuala takes it
Mia Colleran is an assistant editor at 4th Estate. She is an award-winning bookseller and writer, has worked at numerous book festivals and has reviewed books for The Irish Times, Guardian and Irish Independent among others. Mia is a fluent Irish speaker. In 2019 Mia was a winner of James Patterson’s Young Bookseller Special Achievement Award.