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City of Books

Dec 9, 2021

“I had to create her out of nothing,” says JR Thorp of her debut novel Learwife, which explores the untold story of King Lear’s wife, written out of literary history.

The idea first occurred to Thorp at the age of eleven when she read Agatha Christie’s The Moving Finger. “There’s a girl in that with a...


Nov 11, 2021

Famously, King Oedipus killed his father and married his mother. That's what everyone knows about the Greek myth. But Carlo Gébler sets out to humanise the story.

He talks about his novel I Antigone set in the seventh century BC, and why Antigone is his narrator: because she had "skin in the game" as both daughter and...


Oct 14, 2021

A chance meeting with a professor of circus fired children’s writer Sarah Webb’s imagination and led to her latest novel.

Sarah learned how Ireland had the second circus in the world in the late 1700s, with stunt riding, clowns, acrobats - and bee charming, or riding with a necklace of live bees.

Her novel, The...


Sep 16, 2021

Michael Collins is the most famous casualty of the Irish Civil War but there is a lot of “what-if-ery”about him, says Ireland’s best-known historian.

“Some “vey fanciful” claims are about the kind of leader he would have become if he had survived, according to Diarmaid Ferriter.

He says: “We have to be...


Aug 19, 2021

Playwright Rosaleen McDonagh talks about her activism, disability campaigning, journey through adult education which led to a Phd, and weaving together elements of Traveller culture and settled culture, forging an identity from them.

She tells her powerful story in a collection of essays, Unsettled, dedicated to her...