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Louise O'Neill and Meadhbh McHugh on adapting 'Asking for It' for the stage, portraying sexual violence, and the Ulster rape trial

To bring her 2015 novel Asking For It to the stage, Louise O'Neill handed it over to playwright Meadhbh McHugh. The pair talk to Maggie Armstrong about the adaptation process, the challenges of portraying sexual violence and the recent Ulster rape trial

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Author Louise O'Neill, right, and playwright Meadhbh McHugh. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Author Louise O'Neill, right, and playwright Meadhbh McHugh. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Forensic approach: Louise O'Neill and Meadhbh McHugh. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Forensic approach: Louise O'Neill and Meadhbh McHugh. Photo: Caroline Quinn

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Author Louise O'Neill, right, and playwright Meadhbh McHugh. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Afew years ago I exchanged some emails with a girl from college. She told me she had written a novel. We met for tea a couple of times, kept in touch on Twitter and then met no more. She moved home to Clonakilty to write, and her career went stratospheric.

It's a strange experience, waiting in the corner of the Gresham for Louise O'Neill and Meadhbh McHugh, the Tuam playwright who has just adapted Louise's novel Asking for It for the stage. That friendly red-haired girl from college has become a decorated author and feminist supremo, a talented journalist and activist for abortion rights, a motivational speaker, a cover girl. Her mum made me sausages once in Clonakilty after I'd had a few too many shandies. I don't know why, but I cling to the memory.


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