Monday, July 30, 2012

Mother America touches down...

I am delighted to be hosting  Nuala Ní Chonchúir's second appearance on my blog in 12 months - for the second book of hers that has been published in that time! You may remember she was last here in December talking about The Juno Charm, her glorious fourth poetry collection. And now here she is again with her glorious fourth short story collection, Mother America (New Island) - and there is her novel,You, published in 2010.

A little about Nuala: She is a short story writer, novelist and poet, born in Dublin in 1970 and living in Galway. A story from this new collection, Peach, was published in the Winter 2011 issue of Prairie Schooner, and won the Jane Geske Award and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

This is a fabulous collection, which combines so many images, themes and Nuala's trademark beautiful use of language. It contains one of my favourite stories of last year, the Dublin Review of Books flash-fiction-contest winner, The Egg Pyramid. Read it. It's unforgettable.

For her stop here, I didn't want to ask Nuala questions I've asked before so I thought we'd play Word Association. I threw words at her that I drew from her stories and she responded to each without planning or thinking too hard. Read her responses below - and do feel free to play it yourself with the same words and share your responses in the comments section! Take it away, Nuala!

The beautiful art that fills my home by people as diverse as my father and my old friend, Pat Jourdan. Art makes me happy.

A mother is what I have been for nearly 19 years, so almost half of my life. I think it’s a difficult job but has its good bits too. Also the word mother is one half of the title of my new book so I am extraordinarily fond of the word at the moment. 

Oooh, one of my favourite colours. I collect blue and white pottery and glass. I love blue for its deep, mesmeric qualities. 
Dublin. I live in Galway, but Dublin is home. 
Knickers. That was my science teacher’s nickname. Bless her, she may have been brilliant but I learnt nothing. 
A subject dear to my heart. For me it’s all positive – I love a good feminist, man or woman. 
A country I have fallen in love with, despite its flaws. I love American people’s positivity and can-do-ness. I have had fabulous times in New York, Los Angeles, Nebraska, Arkansas, Chicago. And I’m going back next year for more. 
This word makes me think of my wider family who mostly live in Dublin and whom I miss being around. They are good fun – we laugh a lot when we get together. 
One of my favourite things on earth is the short story, as reader and writer. To read a sublime collection, like Sarah Hall’s recent The Beautiful Indifference, makes me feel good about the world and about writing. Hall’s language; the tension in the stories – just wonderful. 
I hate money but would like lots of it. I am convinced I would make an excellent rich person. 
Being in love is the best thing ever. And giving and having my kids’ love blows my mind sometimes. I am surrounded by love these days and it is fantastic.

Thank you, Nuala, what a beautiful note to end on. Find out more about all Nuala's writings and activities at, buy Mother America  - and if you didn't read The Egg Pyramid then read it now.


Sue Guiney said...

Congratulations, Nuala. I feel like I know her already, both from her work and from my friends' interviews with her -- not to mention the Irish connection. Maybe some day I will actually meet her. But for now, I'm happy to get lost in her stories. Thanks!

John said...

This article is really worth reading, it has too much details in it and yet it is so simple to understand, Thanks for sharing the picture it has great detail in it and i really appreciate your true artistic work!

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Sue - and I hope I meet you too!

John - thanks for commenting. TMI could be my middle name...Enough said.

Tania - big thanks for hosting :)

Martin R. Meyers said...

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Parrish Lantern said...

Great idea using word association to get a different reaction from an interview & a warm response from Nuala.

Rachel Fenton said...

Very sweet yet surprisingly deep and revealing - a fresh twist on the interview. Thanks, ladies.