SALLY ROONEY, author of the Conversations with Friends, is going to be one of a group of some of the finest writers of Ireland participate in Crosstown Drift.
Viewers will traverse the town, to attend readings from locations. Rooney is well placed to join the likes of Sara Baume, Lisa McInerney along with Kevin Barry with this trail given the critical acclaim that her debut novel has received.
It sold with Rooney at a seven-way auction receiving a deal.
Rooney’s editor at Faber explained her as “Salinger for its Snapchat generation.”
She points out that she’s never employed Snapchat and nor do the characters even though 26-year-old Rooney says she’s flattered to be compared with a few of her authors. Email is favoured by them and don’t even accept selfies. But besides their conservatism that is technological, the figures are a creation, intent on exploring their creativity and their sexuality’s voice.
Even though Rooney writes on her own milieu that takes in Trinity (where she’s a master’s degree in American literature), the west of Ireland (she is from Castlebar) and northern France (where she spends time) she states her novel isn’t autobiographical.
What’s especially notable about it is its grappling with ideas as well as its own insightful, witty and clever dialogue.
The major character is year-old Frances, also a Trinity student from the west of Ireland, who’s bisexual and a communist. Frances, who plays her spoken word poetry along with her former fan, Bobbi, has an affair with Nick, an older man. Nick is married to journalist, Melissa, who insinuates herself into the lives of Bobbi and Frances, photographing them to get a profile and encouraging them to stay in a villa in northern France.
Rooney has a approach to prose. “I try to keep my paragraphs quite pared back,” she states. “What I really wish to do is see people’s relationships and interactions. I don’t want language to get in the way of this. It’s quite a process to achieve this, for the language to feel clear. I am kind of a perfectionist. When writing the novel because I did not think it was finished, I delayed for a time. Looking back, I was right. I have done a first draft very quickly and then spent about a year editing, cutting, revising, altering the structure and altering the end entirely.”
Rooney explains that the book is about electricity and how “conceptual kinds of electricity like sex, money and class perform within intimate relationships. “I am considering that. The issue is, how can you exercise power in a way that’s not dangerous or oppressive?”
She finds it odd that people say she’s not likeable and suggests that this type of charge is seldom made at authors about their characters that are shadowy, while Rooney agrees that Frances is a character.
“I don’t even know what people mean when they say ‘likeable’. I don’t understand. Male writers who create characters who do atrocious things such as murder and rape don’t necessarily get asked questions regarding not or whether their character is likeable.
“Once I read interviews with people like Kevin Barry or even Colin Barrett, who I hugely admire, they don’t actually appear to come up against the issue of likeability even though their characters in some cases are really horrible. I think my characters are all pretty basically decent, even if they have negative characteristics.”
Asked why is a flourish in Irish writing, Rooney claims that her creation has been promised the world, just to find itself having to emigrate or exist welfare. She states the recession and the crisis produced a climate scepticism that enabled people to express ideas that before was repressed.
“It actually felt like my creation has been deprived of a future that we believed was ours. I really don’t mean some enormously privileged future where all of us have houses. I mean using a job.
“So today, maybe there’s a sense of needing to speak back into the narrative we had been marketed. But I just want to observe and write about what I view. I wasn’t attempting to write a polemic.”
- Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney is out today
Word up for Crosstown Drift
Tomorrow, meet at 12.45pm at Henchy’s Tavern, St Luke’s, to get a trail across the town on foot. Readings take place at Griffith College, St Angela’s, Nano Nagle Place and Elizabeth Fort from authors including Mary Morrissy, Billy O’Callaghan, Cónal Creedon along with Rory Gleeson. (Free but ticketed.)
Tomorrow, by 7pm-9.30pm, the Farmgate at the English Market has a night of music and merriment hosted by Sinéad Gleeson with readings by the likes of Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Eimear Ryan and Gerry Murphy. (The ticket price of $45 includes a prosecco cocktail, a major course and tea/ coffee.)
On Sunday, there’s a mystery bus tour starting at 12.30pm outside the Cork City Library, Grand Parade. A double decker bus will float across the city with readings from authors including Kevin Barry, Lisa McInerney, Sally Rooney, Alan McMonagle along with Sara Baume. Ticket: $20.
On Sunday by 5pm-7pm, explore the reasons of the newly re-opened Nano Nagle Place since Ó Bhéal presents poets including Mary O’Connell Cal Doyle, Jennifer Matthews along with Afric McGlinchey. There’ll also be storytelling containing Sharon O’Neill, Pat Speight along with Paddy O’ Brien. (Free but ticketed.)
About Sunday by 8.30pm, the place is that the River Lee Hotel at which Crosstown Drift finishes using a multi-room extravaganza. There’ll be from Sara Baume, Sarah Griffin, Sinéad Gleeson, Kevin Barry, Billy O’Callaghan, Rory Gleeson and also Sally Rooney. Eoghan O’Sullivan, by the Irish Examiner, will host a Q&A session using literary magazine editors Eimear Ryan (Banshee), Marc O’Connell (Penny Dreadful) along with Thomas Moore (Stinging Fly.) There’ll also be an exhibition of Catherine Kirwan, Danny Denton and Cork writing feature Rachel Andrews. DJ Stevie G will server Spitting Rhymes while Lisa McInerney will host Swearathon. Ticket: $15.
On the eve of her trip to Cork, Sally Rooney tells Colette Sheridan concerning the novel that’s become the must-read book of the summer