Patricia O’Reilly: a flash interview

Patricia O' Reilly

1. Patricia, you have been teaching Creative Writing for many years now, have you seen success stories amongst your writing students?

I’ve been teaching the writing of fiction for about about 20 years – in UCD as part of the Lifelong Learning Programme, at various literary festivals and with the Irish Writers Centre. Down the years we’ve had successes – books published traditionally and as e-books; short stories included in anthologies and various award winners. Our concentration, as well as the mechanics of writing for today’s market, is the importance of nurturing creativity.

2. Your latest novel The First Rose of Tralee is set in the 1840’s. What challenges did you come up against in your research?

No particular challenges with research, but masses of it required! I used the National Library for newspapers of the time (microfiches – a mine of information, but brutal on the eyes!); Daniel O’Connell’s speeches; and the archivist in the Library in Tralee

3. The Rose of Tralee has many female dissenters nowadays. Do you watch it? And do you feel it still has something to offer to the #metoo generation?

Yes the festival has its share of dissenters – both male and female as such occasions will. I’ve watched it from childhood – my mother was from Tralee. It’s fun, down the years the winners who are increasingly well-educated – this year a doctor holds the title, do good works. The ‘Rose brand’ is protected by the committee and PR company that organise and run the festival. And now that I know so much more I can see why – the festival, this year celebrating 60 years, is worth an estimated €15m revenue to the town.

Patricia O’Reilly is teaching our Advanced Fiction workshop on Sunday 29th September in St Cronan’s BNS: 10.00-12.00 €10

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