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Poetry and Prose with Nuala O’Connor and Alan McMonagle
Nuala O’Connor lives in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Her fifth short story collection Joyride to Jupiter was published by New Island in 2017; her story ‘Gooseen’, about Nora Barnacle, recently won the UK’s Short Fiction Prize and was published in Granta. Nuala’s fourth novel, Becoming Belle, is published in September 2018.
Becoming Belle is a witty, inherently feminist novel set in Victorian London, based on the true story of a woman ahead of her time. In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed ‘the peasant countess’ by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle’s rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down. Reimagined by a novelist at the height of her powers, Belle is an unforgettable woman. Set against an absorbing portrait of Victorian London and Ballinasloe, hers is a timeless rags-to-riches story à la Becky Sharpe.
Alan McMonagle lives in Galway. In November 2015, he signed a two-book deal with Picador. His debut novel, Ithaca (2017) was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Award for first novels and shortlisted for a Bord Gais Irish Book Award. He has published two collections of short stories Psychotic Episodes (Arlen House, 2013) and Liar Liar (Wordsonthestreet, 2008), both of which were nominated for the Frank O’Connor Award. He also writes for radio and his plays, Oscar Night and People Walking On Water, have been produced and broadcast as part of RTÉ’s Drama on One season.
Sponsored by Ronnie and Francoise Millar.