Niamh Mulvey

Posted by Sue Leonard on Wednesday 26th October 2022

Leaving college, Niamh had no idea what she wanted to do.

“I loved writing, always, but I didn’t think I could be a writer.”

Instead, she worked in primary schools teaching English, History and Irish, teaching through Irish. Then, deciding to work in publishing, she moved to London, and worked in publishing for 10 years.

            “I started with children’s books in Quercus, then moved to adult fiction.”

Meanwhile she tried writing novels, but never felt they were good enough. And it wasn’t until she decided to leave publishing and give up the idea of writing, doing just enough freelance work to pay the bills, that her stories started to work.

            “I felt so free,” she says. “It’s the best thing I ever did. The stories started to bloom like little mushrooms.”

In 2020, the collection complete, Niamh signed with agent Sallyanne Sweeney, and gained her deal.

Her publishing experience definitely helped.

            “In publishing you have to think about books as projects,” she says, “and about business in terms of creativity and what art is. I’ve learned that everything interesting comes from conflict. Themes emerge from that.”

Who is Niamh Mulvey?

Date of birth:  1983 in Dublin, but spent her childhood in Carlow, then Kilkenny.

Education: Presentation College, Kilkenny.; NUI Galway, English and History.

Home: Catford, South London.

Family: Husband Thomas. Two children, Séan 6, Rosanna 3.

The Day Job: “I’m a writing coach and editor, charging by the hour.”  

In Another Life: “I’d love to do something physical, like being an athlete.”

Favourite Writers: So many. My influences for tor this book, are Alice Munro, Yiyun Li, and Chekhov.

Second Novel: “I’m currently editing a novel writing based on one of the stories. It’s due out next year.”

Top Tip: “Try to get yourself out of the way; make it not about you.”

Website: www.niamhmulvey.com     Twitter: @Neevkm.

The Debut: Hearts and Bones. Love Songs for Late Youth. Picador: €17.72.  Kindle: €9.42

From sibling and family tussles, to a teenager’s need to conform, these well observed stories examine the changes wrought over the past years in Ireland, through the eyes of a new generation. They’re about relationships, what love is, and how we survive it.

The Verdict: Gorgeous.  I loved these stories for their humour, insight and readability.

Published in the Irish Examiner on 16th July.

© Sue J Leonard. 2022

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