Q&A - Author Belinda McKeon

Author's debut addresses battle between the rural and urban

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Q&A - Belinda McKeon

Photography | Hiroki Kobayashi

Our debut author Q&A returns with Belinda McKeon, whose first book is about a battle between the rural and urban, the past and present and of family and the future

Give us five words to describe Solace?
Of love, loss and change.

What was the first book you read?

Something starring Peter Rabbit.

Which book makes you cry?
A surprising number of them do, which either says something about me or literature in general.

Which book makes you laugh?
Anything where Flann O’Brien is lurking nearby.

Which dead author do you wish was still alive today?
Irish novelist John McGahern (Amongst Women), because I miss him, and there are many things I’d like to know his take on these days.

Name one author who should be more famous than they are now?
The 19th century novelist Maria Edgeworth, often called the Irish Jane Austen (though Anglo-Irish would be more accurate). I’m not the only one to think so; Austen herself regarded Edgeworth’s novels of social change and manners as favourites.

What one thing would you change about the publishing world?
For the people who are getting books out to readers not to be so stretched by doing the jobs of several people, as they often now are due to cutbacks.

What plans do you have for book number two?
To finish it! It’s a novel set between Ireland and New York. I’m interested in the many sediments of Irish people living in that city. Of course, I wouldn’t be the first to have such an interest, but it’s the most recent wave of immigrants and transplants in which I’m especially interested.

Solace is out now published by Picador.

Philip Hensher & Belinda McKeon

How is so-called progress changing us? Hensher's novel King of the Badgers provides a disquieting revelation of private lives in a small English seaside town – and a look at what is lost when there are doors we can no longer close on one another. McKeon's Solace highlights the tensions between traditional Ireland and its…

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