Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Evening with Marian Keyes

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you a guest post from that other, quieter Narcissistic Expat...

That's right, folks, this is Sara coming at you to share one of my year's (lifetime's?) highlights: meeting Marian Keyes. Few events in my life will force me to poke my head out my mole-hole (where I do science and knit a whole bunch) and share with people outside of my immediate family, but this one certainly qualifies. That, and Cory understandably had no interest in coming with me for this one, so he can't give his (always outstanding) recap. 

I guess that's enough preamble. On to the main event! 

Before moving to Dublin, I was a big fan of the works of a certain Irish writer named Marian Keyes. By big fan, I mean I have read all of her terrific novels. They are funny and warm, the characters are vivid and interesting, and she often presents themes on mental health that I find fascinating and extremely important. Seriously, reading Marian's books (or the work of Allie Brosh, while I'm at it) is like taking a crash course in empathy.

When moving to Ireland, I would be lying if I said the fact that I would be living in the same city as Marian hadn't crossed my mind. Dublin isn't a huge city...would I by chance ever be in line behind her at the supermarket? Sit next to her on a bus? Walk by her on Grafton Street? Would I even recognize her from her dust jacket photo? 

I knew my best chance to meet her would be if she published a new novel while I live here. As luck would have it, she did! Last month, in fact! Her new book is called The Woman who Stole my Life, which I sadly have not had time to read yet (but I think it will tag along with me over the Christmas holidays). 

As I hoped, Marian scheduled a couple of events to promote her new book. One was a reading and Q&A at the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire. Although I was at first wait-listed for a ticket because it sold out rather quickly, as luck would have it, a ticket opened up on the day of the event! And it ended up being a front-row ticket, no less! See how close I was?

Marian Keyes (left) reading an excerpt from her new book, The Woman who Stole my Life
Marian Keyes (left) reading an excerpt from her new book, The Woman who Stole my Life
The Q&A session with Marian was really fun and insightful. Although I have read all of her books, I am not super-familiar with her public persona. She is very active on Twitter (unlike me) and is a bit of an Irish personality, so people more familiar with Irish television and other media know a lot more about her than I do.

Aside from reading out of her book, Marian talked about her writing process, about how Twitter helped restore her confidence in writing during a period of self-doubt. She shared her collection of "prize knobs" with the audience (for real, she passed around a box full of knobs of various shapes, sizes, and textures), and told a hilarious story about pushing the 46A bus up the hill by her house during the great snowstorm of 2010. She discussed her pessimism about any of her books ever getting made into movies, and what her next book might be about (it could be another book Walsh family book about Claire!). She was unable to pick a favorite among the books she has written, but, to the dismay of the crowd, said that Sushi for Beginners is her least favorite. Sushi for Beginners was for me, and I'm sure many others, my entry into the world of Marian Keyes, but as it's not my own personal favorite, I was able to recover from the shock--Rachel's Holiday is my absolute favorite, for anyone who's interested.

To cap off a great evening, Marian stayed to sign books. When it was my turn, my introversion and shyness reared their ugly heads to prevent me from gushing at her, but I now own a signed copy of her new book.

A souvenir from Ireland that can never EVER be topped
A souvenir from Ireland that can never EVER be topped
For the record, had I my wits about me, I would have told her how important her books are to me and how her characters are so real they almost leap off the page and how I can't wait to meet Stella from the new book, and how her books are even better now that I live in Dublin and can picture all of the settings in her stories. Just saying...

And that was it! A pretty significant check off the old bucket list, to be sure. 

1 comment:

  1. Sushi for Beginners was my first experience, too. My best buddy gave it to me when I first decided to go to Ireland. Interesting it should be Marian's least favourite!!! That requires over punctuation.


Please leave a comment, we'd love to hear what you think! Comments are word verified to prevent SPAM.