Aingeala Flannery.

Posted by Sue Leonard on Wednesday 26th October 2022

At 15, Aingeala wrote Junior GAA reports for the Clondalkin Echo. But after college, with unemployment rife, she taught Secondary School Irish.

            “After a year I went off travelling,” she says. “I spent my twenties travelling to India or America, then I’d come back and double job, teaching and working evenings in restaurants to get enough money to travel again.”

At 30, after taking an MA in Journalism, Aingeala went to work for Today FM.

            “I edited the news, and soon I read the news too. I was there for 16 years as a staff senior news editor. I produced shows and filled in for Matt Cooper.”

During that time, she also freelanced, with columns in the Irish Independent and the Herald. In 2014, after winning Magazine Journalist of the Year for some personal essays in Image magazine, she decided to concentrate on fiction. Staying in Today FM, she wrote scraps of stories.

            “In 2017 I left Today FM and worked for Children’s Books Ireland. By that time, I had written a novel. It won a place at the Novel Fair but was never published.”

Aingeala wrote the first draft of The Amusements during her MFA in Creative Writing. She gained agent Clare Wilson through entering the novel in the Deborah Rogers Foundation for emerging writers, and having signed up, spent a year kicking it into shape.

Who is Aingeala Flannery?

Date of birth: 1970 in Waterford.

Education:  Coláiste Bhríde in Clondalkin; Maynooth University, English and Irish; Dublin City University, MA in Journalism; University College Dublin, MFA in Creative Writing.

Home: Dublin.

Family: Teenage son, Senan.

The Day Job: Social Media Manager @thedublinreview; producer and presenter of The Dublin Review Podcast.

In Another Life: “I’d be a bartender or a cocktail waitress”.

Favourite Writers: Elizabeth Strout; Anne Enright; Shirley Jackson; Donal Ryan; Paul Auster; William Trevor.

Second Novel: “It’s a novel and it’s more conventional. I’m working on it”.

Top Tip: Just keep going.

Twitter: @missflannery.

The Debut: The Amusements. Sandycove: €15.13. Kindle: €9.99.

Schoolgirls Helen Grant and Stella Swaine dream of escaping the seaside town of Tramore. This episodic novel follows the linked stories of the girls, their families, neighbours and visitors through three decades.

The Verdict: Brilliant. Dramatic, heartfelt, sometimes shocking and sad.   

Published in the Irish Examiner on 25th June.

© Sue J Leonard. 2022.


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