Write side... with novelist and poet Anne Haverty
Novelist and poet Anne Haverty on Constance Markievicz, Charles Haughey and why children of gardaí become writers.
When do you like to write poems?
I write poetry as an aside. I'm always writing it when I'm doing something else. I am somebody who waits for a poem to come. I wait until something arrives - that is the happiest feeling of all with any kind of writing.
Your first book was a biography of Constance Markievicz, published in the 1980s. Was she a neglected figure at the time?
She played an important role, but then she just vanished. If we heard about her, we saw her as a strange figure, known for her eccentricities rather than her achievements. Women were sidelined.
Have attitudes towards her changed?
Yes, I think we are going through a feminist insurgency that has been dormant for some time. These things come in cycles.
How did your upbringing in Tipperary influence your writing?
I was born in Holycross and I look back on it as a kind of paradise. We moved to Thurles. My father was a garda. That's the case with so many Irish writers, including John McGahern, Dermot Healy and Shane Connaughton. It's because you feel like a bit of an outsider. Your father is an outsider because he has to be an authority figure.
Did anybody give you encouragement to write?
Not really at first. I kept it private and I was a bit embarrassed. Then Anthony Cronin [who became Anne's husband] gave me encouragement.
Anthony was a friend of Charles Haughey, as well as being his government's cultural adviser. What were your impressions of Haughey?
I liked him. He was clever, witty and friendly. People demonise him, but I never got that.
If you weren't a writer, what would you be?
A farmer, but I wouldn't like sending the animals off to the factory.
A Break in the Journey is published by New Island