Sunday 17 December 2017

Feisty sisters help Joe to see literary light

Singer SInead O'Connor with her Brother and Author Joe O'Connor
Singer SInead O'Connor with her Brother and Author Joe O'Connor
Joe O'Connor with his father Sean and sisters Sinead and Eimear (far right), at the Abbey Theatre yesterday at the launch of Dublin: One City, One Book Festival 2011

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

BEST-selling novelist Joseph O'Connor has spoken of how the spirit of his two sisters inspired the feisty heroine of his most recent novel.

The 48-year-old paid tribute to the pair -- singer Sinead O'Connor and art historian Eimear O'Connor -- when he read from 'Ghost Light' at the launch of Dublin: One City, One Book Festival in the Abbey Theatre yesterday

The O'Connors' dad, Sean O'Connor, was with his three children at the launch.

The month-long series of events encourages book lovers to read the same book during the month of April each year -- and this year's choice is 'Ghost Light'.

The novel is a fictionalised account of the life of Dublin-born actress Molly Allgood, who was both lover and muse to playwright John Millington Synge.

O'Connor said he is often asked where he got the inspiration for the character Molly.

"With sisters like mine, you don't have to look very far for it.

"Molly is a very defiant person. She decided at a young age, she was going to live life in a certain way, which would involve the arts, and that if that brought success, great, and if it brought other things, that was great too.

"I admire people like that and I don't have to look very far in my own family to see them," O'Connor said.

Sinead (45) said she was "delighted" with the comparison.


"I wasn't aware of that reading Joe's book, but it's lovely to hear now. I like it that Molly stands up for herself and isn't intimidated by Yeats, or anyone else. To her, all people are equal," she said.

The three O'Connor siblings are involved in the Dublin City Council initiative, with Sinead performing along with other artists at 'The Music Of Dark Light: An Evening of Songs with Joseph O'Connor and Friends' at the Abbey on Sunday.

"I'm doing four songs on the night. Three of which were popular at the time, and a fourth: 'Factories' by Damien Dempsey.

"I wanted to do a song by Damien because, in one way, all these guys like Synge and Yeats had these great romantic dreams about Ireland which didn't really turn out," she said.

Eimear, meanwhile, who was recently appointed to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, will deliver a lecture on 'John Millington Synge, Art and the West' which will examine Synge's artistic response to the west of Ireland through his own photography and text at the Hugh Lane Gallery on Sunday April 17.

More than 30 other events are part of the festival. Two of the events are: 'The Poetry of John Millington Synge', a lecture by Dr PJ Mathews at Dublin City Library and Archive on Monday, April 4 at 6pm, and 'Gallous Stories or Dirty Deeds', a talk on Synge and Irish theatre by Dr Patrick Lonergan at the National Library on Kildare Street on Wednesday, April 6 at 7pm.

A full list of events can be found on the website

Irish Independent

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