Head over Heels
Hosted by Selina Guinness, Eithne Shortall (Love in Row 27
), Gwendoline Riley (First Love
) and Jamie O'Neill (At Swim Two Boys
) will discuss their three very different stories of love. In each
of their three novels, the sometimes perplexing story of love takes many forms and compels and corrupts characters, each writer interpreting and exploring romance from very different perspectives. Hear these three novelists talk romance, relationships and the riskiness of opening your heart.
Eithne Shortall studied journalism at Dublin City University and has lived in London, France and America. Now based in Dublin, she is an arts journalist for the Sunday Times newspaper. She has been a committed matchmaker from an early age and, when not concerning herself with other people's love lives, enjoys sea swimming, cycling and eating scones. In her Love in Row 27, Cora Hendricks, still reeling from a break-up, gives up on ever finding love. For herself, that is. To pass the time while working the Aer Lingus check-in desk at Heathrow, Cora begins to play cupid with high-flying singles. While she's busy making sparks fly at cruising altitude, the love she'd given up on for herself just might have landed right in front of her...
Gwendoline Riley studied English at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her first novel, Cold Water won a 2002 Betty Trask Award, and was named one of 5 outstanding debut novels of 2002 by The Guardian Weekend Magazine. Her third novel, Joshua Spassky, tells the story of Natalie, a British writer who travels to North Carolina to meet up with the title character, an American playwright. Joshua Spassky won a 2008 Somerset Maugham Award. Shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, Gwendoline Riley’s First Love sees catastrophically ill-suited protagonists forever straddling a line between relative calm and explosive confrontation.For the moment they have reached a place of peace in their relationship, but past battles have left scars. As Neve recalls the decisions that brought her to Edwyn, she describes other loves and other debts - from her bullying father and her self-involved mother,to a musician she struggled to forget. Drawing us into the battleground of this marriage, Gwendoline Riley tells a transfixing story of mistakes and misalliances, of helplessness and hostility, in which both husband and wife have played a part. Could this possibly be, nonetheless, a story of love?
Raised in County Dublin, Jamie O'Neill is the author of Kilbrack and At Swim, Two Boys, which won the Ferro-Grumley Award for Fiction and the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Men's Fiction. He lives in Galway, Ireland. Praised as “a work of wild, vaulting ambition and achievement” his At Swim, Two Boys invited comparison to such literary greats as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Charles Dickens. Set during the year preceding the Easter Uprising of 1916, At Swim, Two Boys is a tender, tragic love story and a brilliant depiction of people caught in the tide of history. Powerful and artful, and ten years in the writing, it is a masterwork from Jamie O’Neill. It tells the story of Jim Mack , a naïve young scholar and the son of a foolish, aspiring shopkeeper. Doyler Doyle is the rough-diamond son - revolutionary and blasphemous - of Mr. Mack’s old army pal. Out at the Forty Foot, the two boys make a pact: Doyler will teach Jim to swim, and in a year, on Easter of 1916, they will swim to the distant beacon of Muglins Rock and claim that island for themselves. All the while Mr. Mack, who has grand plans for a corner shop empire, remains unaware of the depth of the boys’ burgeoning friendship and of the changing landscape of the nation.
Selina Guinness lectures in Irish literature at TCD and formerly at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and edited The New Irish Poets, an anthology. The Crocodile by the Door is her first book. She lives at Tibradden with her husband, their children, and a lot of sheep.