Entertainment Books

Sunday 17 November 2019

Art imitates life in Cecelia's new book

Cecelia Ahern, the
novelist with her
husband David
Keoghan at the
'Irish Tatler'
Women of the
Year Awards.
Cecelia Ahern, the novelist with her husband David Keoghan at the 'Irish Tatler' Women of the Year Awards.
Cecelia Ahern

John Spain Books Editor

SHE'S sold millions of books thanks to her talent for intertwining romance and magic.

But in her latest novel, Cecelia Ahern is focusing on a journalist who falsely accuses a man of child abuse, resulting in a crippling court judgment and leading to the journalist losing her job on a current affairs show.

But Ahern's agent, Marianne Gunn O'Connor, has insisted that the idea for the book came to the young writer "long, long" before the Fr Kevin Reynolds libel action against RTE.

Last year a 'Prime Time Investigates' programme falsely accused the Galway priest of raping a woman in Kenya and fathering her child. A DNA test confirmed he was not the father and after apologising, RTE had to pay substantial damages and legal fees.

The journalist at the centre of the report -- Aoife Kavanagh -- has since resigned from the station.

However, Ms Gunn O'Connor told the Irish Independent that the mistake made by the journalist in the fictional novel, Kitty Logan, is only a small part of the story.

"It is part of the book but it is only a peripheral thing, it kicks off the story," she said, adding that the novel moves on to the journalist following a list of 100 names.

The book -- entitled 'One Hundred Names' -- tells how Logan turns to a trusted friend, Constance, after she loses her job and becomes the object of public hate.

Constance, an older woman who is the editor of a 'Magill'-style magazine for whom Logan also works, is terminally ill.

Mystery

But just before she dies she tells Logan to retrieve a file from her office and in it Logan finds a list of names: 100 names.

There is no explanation, nothing to explain what might connect these people or why Constance was interested in them.

The list is a mystery but by chance Logan also finds an old telephone directory in Constance's office which has the 100 names highlighted, allowing her to contact them.

Logan then embarks on the biggest story of her life and along the way she uncovers Constance's own story, and, in true Ahern style, rediscovers her own value.

Moira Reilly of HarperCollins, Ahern's publishers, said last night: "Cecelia usually is thinking of ideas for years before she writes them."

Ahern had a new baby just two weeks ago but her latest work will be published in two months.

Already mum to a two-year-old girl, Robin, Ahern gave birth to her new baby boy, Sonny, a fortnight ago -- but she had been writing away during her pregnancy in order to finish the novel before the new addition to her family.

The book will be published on October 11.

Her first novel, 'PS, I Love You', became an instant international bestseller and was adapted into a major movie. Her subsequent novels have also all been bestsellers.

Ahern created the series 'Samantha Who' for TV and has also written for the stage.

Her books are published in 46 countries and have sold over 15 million copies, making her one of the wealthiest Irish writers.

Irish Independent

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