Beginner's Pluck: Gráinne Murphy says 'it was easier to write about Ireland from a distance'

“I’d love to work in a library for the books and the sense of community.”
Beginner's Pluck: Gráinne Murphy says 'it was easier to write about Ireland from a distance'

WOW FEATURE Grainne Murphy

Gráinne had an idyllic rural childhood. “There was lots of freedom. We cycled, and played in the forest and the river.”

Her parents encouraged her love of reading — everything from Enid Blyton to the classics. After university, Gráinne worked as a
research assistant. “I wanted to be an academic, but it was an uncertain career, and I had six part-time jobs at the same time.”

She then moved to the Musgrave Group on a graduate programme. “I stayed there for nine years. My jobs involved writing for research and writing training manuals.”

Moving to Belgium in 2011, Gráinne started to write fiction. “It was easier to write about Ireland from a distance; I could hear Irish voices in my head.”

Her first, unpublished novel was shortlisted for the Virginia prize for fiction, and Where the Edge Is was shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead bursary.

I met my publishers at the prizegiving event. Then I rewrote the novel, making it more character-based.

Who is Gráinne Murphy?

Date/place of birth: 1978 in Kilmichael, West Cork.

Education: St Mary’s Macroom. UCC, Applied Psychology, followed by an MPhil in Applied Psychology.

Home: Near Kinsale, Co Cork.

Family: Husband Colum O’Connor; Oisín, 11; Cara, nine, and a dog, Scout. (Another child, Ali, died before her first birthday.)

The day job: Freelance proof-reader and copywriter, working mainly for the EU commission, reporting on human and women’s rights.

In another life: “I’d love to work in a library for the books and the sense of community.”

Favourite writers: Niall Williams; Donal Ryan; Barbara Kingsolver; Mary Lawson: Carol Shields; Anne Tyler. Anne Enright; Stephen King.

Second novel: The Ghost Lights is due out next year.

Top tip: “Always be writing something. If you’re at the
submission stage, move on and write something else.”

Twitter: @gramurphy.

The Debut

Where the Edge Is; €8.63/ Kindle, €5.87

WOW FEATURE Grainne Murphy
WOW FEATURE Grainne Murphy

A road subsides, trapping a bus. Two passengers are saved but three are left teetering. The media watches, as people examine their lives and their choices.

“This isn’t a rescue thriller. The crash is the background for a multi-perspective character driven novel.”

The Verdict: A suspenseful, beautifully crafted debut, which is written with feeling and tenderness.

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