One of Ireland’s best short-story writers, the award-winning Danielle McLaughlin, embarks on the next chapter of her career by launching her debut novel, The Art of Falling, online through the West Cork Literary Festival this Thursday evening.
Given the quality of Danielle’s work to date, which saw her win the Windham-Campbell Prize (€146,000) for her collection Dinosaurs on Other Planets and the Sunday Times Audible Short Story award for A Partial List of the Saved, the release of her first novel is keenly anticipated. The early indications from critics are that it doesn’t disappoint.
The central character of The Art of Falling is Nessa McCormack, whose marriage is on the mend following her husband’s affair. At work, she has taken charge of a retrospective art exhibition for an enigmatic sculptor, the late Robert Locke. Nessa appears to have attained an equilibrium of sorts in her life.
Yet, when an old friend threatens to expose a betrayal Nessa had hoped she’d long put behind her, and a peculiar woman claims to be the true creator of Locke’s most famous piece, Nessa must make tough decisions, personally and professionally.
If Danielle’s previous short stories are anything to go by – including her edgy Night of the Silver Fox – the former lawyer will take her characters into places emotionally and mentally where others would never dare to tread.
The “first spark” for The Art of Falling came to her at a workshop given by Ballinasloe-based author Nuala O’Connor in 2012. “It was from a writing prompt that we got that day,” explains Danielle over a Zoom call last week.
“I tried to write it as a short story for the best part of two years, but it just wasn’t right. There was always something missing from it. And over time, it became a novel and other things fed into it. The first bit of it, though, I can trace back to 2012. So, a long time (in the writing of it).”
With so much happening in the novel – between marital issues, betrayal, the exhibition and a claim of fraudulence – Danielle admits that, while all these strands grew around each other, it took a while for the layers to fully develop.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms
Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.
The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.
A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.
Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.
Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.
The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.
“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.
“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”
Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.
“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.
The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools
Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.
“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.
“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.
A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.