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Siobhan MacGowan: ‘Shane has liked to walk on the wild side – but I get a high out of just life’

The writer speaks about her debut novel, being The Pogues singer’s sister, and her sense of Irishness

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Siobhan MacGowan in Dromineer, Co Tipperary. Photo: Paul McCarthy

Siobhan MacGowan in Dromineer, Co Tipperary. Photo: Paul McCarthy

Shane, Maurice, Therese and Siobhan MacGowan

Shane, Maurice, Therese and Siobhan MacGowan

Siobhan and Shane MacGowan

Siobhan and Shane MacGowan

Siobhan MacGowan in Dromineer, Co. Tipperary. Photo: Paul McCarthy

Siobhan MacGowan in Dromineer, Co. Tipperary. Photo: Paul McCarthy

Shane MacGowan performing in London in 2005

Shane MacGowan performing in London in 2005

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Siobhan MacGowan in Dromineer, Co Tipperary. Photo: Paul McCarthy

You never stop being the little sister. That’s what I think as I speak with Siobhan MacGowan, who is in her late 50s now, and four years younger than her brother, Shane. His presence has loomed large in her life – but now she’s setting out on her own.

This week Siobhan releases her debut novel, The Trial of Lotta Rae. Set in London in the early 1900s against the backdrop of the suffragette movement, it’s the story of a young, working-class woman who is raped by a wealthy businessman, and the consequences of the ensuing trial. It’s a haunting tale, verging on the Gothic. When Siobhan reveals her childhood literary idol was Charlotte Brontë, the influence is clear.


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