Lisa Harding

Posted by Sue Leonard on Saturday 29th April 2017

Loving languages, Lisa aimed to join the European parliament, but at university she got wrapped up in Trinity Players. After a year spent travelling she studied acting, then spent four years in Ireland, appearing in The Gate and the Abbey, as well as the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, before moving to London.

“I  did more stage work there, touring around England, but I played the ingénue, and at a certain age the parts dried up and became uninteresting, so I started writing plays.”

She had some success, and one play got loads of attention, but contracts fell apart.

“I was heartbroken. I decided to write a novel because I could take more charge.”

After 13 years in London, she came home, and played Connie in Fair City for a year. Through that, she headed a Body Shop campaign for children’s rights, and read firsthand accounts of the victims of sex trafficking. Shocked at the extent of Ireland’s involvement, she felt compelled to write the story.

“I tried writing short stories, but the characters kept coming back. The novel tumbled out in six months.”

Who is Lisa Harding

Date of birth: “My playing age is 30 to 40.” Born in Dublin.

Education: Muckross Park, Donnybrook. Trinity College Dublin, European Studies. M Phil in creative writing. Gaiety School of Acting; Diploma.

Home:  Dublin.

Family: “I live with my rescue dog, Fay. My mum, sister and brother all live in Ireland and all have dogs.”

The Day Job: Voice-overs. Teaching creative writing.

In Another Life: “I’d be a choreographer.”

Favourite Writers: Tim Winton; Roddy Doyle; Elizabeth Strout.

Second Novel: “It’s totally different.”

Top Tip: Do it. “Be true to yourself; let whatever comes out, come out.”

Twitter: @lisaharding10

The Debut: Harvesting. New Island: €13.95 

Sammy, a spiky 15 year old, flees her dysfunctional Dublin family, only to end up in a highly supervised brothel. Here she meets Nico from Moldova, sold to a sex trafficker by her father. The two form a bond, but can Sammy protect the younger girl and engineer an escape for the two of them?

“I would love for men to read this book. I hope it opens up a discussion.” 

The Verdict: Impressive and profoundly moving. It’s a harrowing read, but is never gratuitous.  

Published in The Irish Examiner on 29th April  

© Sue Leonard. 2017

Leave a Reply