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My cultural life: Emily Hourican


Emily Hourican

Emily Hourican

Emily Hourican

Emily Hourican is a best-selling author and journalist who has written four novels and one non-fiction book. Her fourth novel, The Outsider, is out in paperback on July 2, and her fifth, The Glorious Guinness Girls, will be published by Hachette Ireland and the UK in September (and by Hachette US in spring 2021). Emily lives in Dublin with her husband and three children. She loves swimming, likes running and puts up with yoga. www.emilyhourican.com

The Book

Different every day, every season, every mood. Recently I have been reading a lot about the Guinnesses, as research for a new novel, and I really loved Paul Howard's I Read The News Today, Oh Boy, for its meticulous research and reconstruction that adds up to a sparkling story. I've also been reading novels of the 1920s and the Anglo-Irish writers, including Molly Keane, Elizabeth Bowen, Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh. I'd almost forgotten how magnificently funny and cruel and clever Keane's Good Behaviour is. That was a wonderful rediscovery.


The Movie

Alas for the days of cinema-going! The last film I saw was Greta Gerwig's Little Women, and I loved it. That must be the third or fourth film of Little Women I've seen, all utterly different. Which shows how rich the original novel is. Gerwig's interpretation is gorgeous, and Florence Pugh's characterisation of Amy was a revelation.



How I miss the theatre. Not everything I see is brilliant, but it is always interesting, in a way that the more passive experience of cinema/television isn't necessarily. The best piece of theatre I've seen in a very long time was Michael Keegan-Dolan's reinvention of Swan Lake - Loch na hEala - a few years ago. The most moving and beautiful performance I've ever seen, that created a new (to me) art form somewhere between dance and theatre, with all the most powerful elements of both. Astonishing.



Lockdown was the greatest TV-watching time I've ever had. All of Ozark, lots of Homeland, and, best of all, three seasons of Call My Agent, on Netflix. I know I'm late to this, but anyone else equally behind - watch it! This is a perfect blend of drama and comedy. Characters you care about, with high-stakes plots that are just this side of believable, and various French cinema icons dropping by: Isabelle Huppert, Cecile de France, Beatrice Dalle…



Last week I watched I Am Not Your Negro, the film adaptation of James Baldwin's last, unfinished essay, and was blown away. This is a superb, visceral analysis of the history of racism in the US and the struggle for civil rights. The text of Baldwin's essay is read by Samuel L Jackson, cut with archive footage of interviews with Baldwin, along with Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers, laid over documentary and film archive footage, all combining to produce something brilliant and memorable. Baldwin died in 1987; everything this contains is still relevant. Everyone should watch it.



Swan Lake, by Tchaikovsky. Mainly because I have seen the ballet so often now that I can just about replay it in my head while I listen to the score.


Sunday Independent