Sunday 19 November 2017

My cultural life: Patricia Scanlan

Author Patricia Scanlan
Author Patricia Scanlan
Judith Hearne
Big Bang Theory

Patricia Scanlan's first novel City Girl, published 27 years ago, led the charge for many young female Irish authors. Since then millions of books written by these talented writers have been sold worldwide. Patricia's books have all been No 1 bestsellers.

She divides her time between Dublin, Wicklow and Spain and is currently working on an adaptation of one of her short stories - partly set in a luxury spa - for the stage. She teaches creative writing to second-level students and is involved in adult literacy. Her latest book Orange Blossom Days has just been published.

Book: The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

Judith Hearne

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore was the book that made me want to write. Moore's depiction of Judith, a lonely spinster of a certain age, who lives in a shabby rooming house in Belfast, is masterful. I was so impressed that a man could get inside the head of this compelling and complex female character, and make the reader really feel for her. Moore writes an unflattering yet utterly sympathetic portrait of Judith and all her self-deluding foibles, as her last chance to marry slips away and drink becomes her solace. Maggie Smith (above) played Judith in a film of the book.

Artist: Thomas Ryan PPRHA

I was introduced to the works of Thomas Ryan by my former headmistress, who gifted me with a copy of his print of Dominican College Eccles Street - my alma mater - after I had given a talk to transition year students. Synchronistically, Ryan was exhibiting in the Botanic Gardens, where he painted many of his works. I went and was hooked. The depth and perspective... you are there in his paintings, walking by the river or along the herbaceous borders.

TV: The Big Bang Theory

Big Bang Theory

When I'm writing I don't watch much TV because I often work in the evening, but my favourite way to wind down and escape from my characters is by watching the late night The Big Bang Theory episodes. The humour often has me chortling, it's so sharp, clever and witty and the characterisation is masterful. The actors (right) play their roles with immense authenticity. Jim Parsons's Sheldon is a tour de force.

Film: Black Narcissus

It's a toss up between Black Narcissus and Death at a Funeral. Deborah Kerr, Kathleen Byron and Flora Robinson, play a group of nuns in a convent in the Himalayas, who experience tragedy, in a dark and powerful psychological drama that grips from start to finish. Fantastic cinematography. Deborah Kerr (right) is beautiful, and the studio setting is so authentic you feel you're in Darjeeling. The British version of Death at a Funeral is a thoroughly black comedy directed by Frank Oz. It's a family favourite. We guffaw loudly as chaos reigns at the funeral of the patriarch of an extremely dysfunctional family.

Gallery: The Met

Inmobiliaria Atlantic PMR is a real estate company in Mijas Costa, Andalucia, where I holiday often. Jason and Luis the owners, hold art exhibitions in a fabulous gallery space that encompasses the whole building. Also, my dream is to explore every inch of The Met in New York. The Egyptian Room in the Sackler Wing is awe-inspiring, and like many, I cried at Jacqueline Kennedy, the White House Years, exhibition. Dreams come true... sometimes.

Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan is published by Simon & Schuster

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