Today’s guest was winning writing competitions as a child but went on to study medicine. She worked for many years as a child psychiatrist. Around the age of forty, she did her first writing course after which she was like a lunatic driving home full of ideas and lines for poems.
Fast-forwarding to 2021, her debut novel, Words to Shape My Name, has been shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award. It tells the story of the relationship between Lord Edward Fitzgerald and his manservant, Tony Small.
British author, Hilary Mantel describes it as “An ambitious and vital novel with an epic sweep: a complex, timely story about liberty, equality, identity. This book is an act of salvage.”
It was longlisted for the 2019 Bath Novel Award and was a winner at the 2020 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair.
Laura McKenna’s debut novel has left me with a deep admiration for her writing and her ability to express so wonderfully details of someone’s life that was so vastly different from her own.