What’s in a word?

I am in the bank.   “Date of birth?” the cashier asks.   I tell her and she smiles – an action that transforms her from a bank teller into a real person.   “That’s in two days,” she says. “Happy Birthday. Do you have any plans?”   I have plans that involve the cinema,

To the End and Back

 The first time I made the journey was on the train, one of three Irish girls with pale skin and oversized backpacks. Boarding at Penn Station, we’d been nervous, indecisive about where to sit, moving twice before deciding on the four seater nearest the door so we could watch the bags while we stood between

Better late than never

The first time I heard the word “lezzer” I was playing a game called “Home Truth.”  My friends and I played every day for years and that day two of us were hiding in a hedge between two gardens. A boy cycled up the driveway behind us. He was a boy we never asked to

Learning to listen

Last month, I turned 40. Having an age that ends with a ‘0’ makes you think – it makes me think. And the collision of this milestone birthday with the publication of my third novel is making me think about writing, and its place in my life. When people ask if I always wanted to

Home away from home

I have something else I should be doing right now, a whole list of things in fact. I hadn’t planned on writing a blog post today and certainly not this one. But sometimes things happen that you just need to write about – that I just need to write about – and this is one

How to be a man

Last year, I was honoured to be asked by Colum McCann to take part in the launch of his non-profit project Narrative 4 and to write 800 words on the first assignment: “How to be a man.”My take on this is below and you can read pieces from other writers and find out more about

Hurry Up and Wait…

I don’t like waiting. I don’t like waiting and I’m not very good at it. I don’t have a lot of – what’s it called again? – patience, that’s it. I don’t have a lot of patience. People are sometimes surprised to hear that. Some people have even remarked on my patience, praised me for