Tuesday 20 February 2018

My cultural life: Novelist Deirdre Purcell

Deirdre Purcell
Deirdre Purcell
Some Like It Hot
Donal McCann

Novelist, non-fiction author, playwright, journalist, broadcaster and screenwriter, Deirdre Purcell has written 12 best-selling novels, a number of non-fiction books, books in the Open Door series to help with literacy, a screenplay of her novel Falling for a Dancer and a play for RTE TV and Vision Independent, Shine On.

Having worked for Aer Lingus she became an actress in the Abbey Theatre, was a travel agent and cocktail waitress in Chicago, and before taking up writing, her career in broadcasting and journalism spanned a range of media. She presents It Says in the Papers for Morning Ireland on RTE Radio One, and her latest novel, The Husband, has recently been published.

Film: Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot

I tend to love the latest films I've seen, books I've read, plays I've seen, concerts I've heard and TV I've watched, so in all cases, choices are as fluid as the Liffey. So in recent memory my film standouts are Quartet, The Concert, and The Big Short - while forever and a day, it's Some Like It Hot. For my guests' wedding entertainment, I hired a cinema in Fairview, Dublin, bussed them to it and showed it. It's always freshly hilarious.

TV: Happy Valley

I am an avid TV viewer and believe we are so privileged to be living in this era as the drama quotient has never been better. Most recently, I've been glued to the series Happy Valley; I love the veracity and immediacy (and the courage of the patients who allowed themselves to be filmed) in RTE's reality series Keeping Ireland Alive, I sneak into Kirsty and Phil's Location Location whenever possible and I really enjoy the sitcoms Modern Family and Outnumbered.

Artist: John Behan

The sculpture of John Behan - I aspire to own all of it - also (sadly won't manage this) I'd love to have a painting by Martin Gale. But I'm lucky enough to have pieces by the Cork City-based artist, Tom Climent - also by Sarah Walker, Tim Goulding, Joanna Kemper and Cormac Boydell, all neighbours from the Beara Peninsula. I don't "own" any of these; they continue to do so because their spirits live in their work.

Play: Translations

Donal McCann

I was one of those privileged to have been in the audience at the Guildhall in Derry for the first night of Brian Friel's Translations. Equally so at the first night of the same playwright's Faith Healer in the Abbey in 1980 - and I was also in the Gate for the first performance of Sebastian Barry's The Steward of Christendom - not to speak of the premiere of Tom Murphy's Bailegangaire for Druid in Galway. All four will never leave my mind, not least for the performances, particularly by the late Donal McCann, above, in the Friel plays and Siobhan McKenna in Tom Murphy's.

Music: Brahms

I like "big" music: to hear a large symphony orchestra or a huge choir in full voice - or a contemporary performer at the top of his or her game. Choices of musical events are: Simon Rattle conducting the Brahms Symphony no. 3 at Dublin's NCH, the opera Tristan and Isolde at the Staatsoper, Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim (who conducted without a score and sat on a stool throughout) and the recent Bruce Springsteen event at Croke Park.

'The Husband', by Deirdre Purcell, is published by Hachette, price approx. €17.

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