Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 17th August
Beginner’s Pluck. Suzanne Harrington
A columnist for this paper, Suzanne had always written; but she did a lot of terrible jobs before she found a way to make writing her career. She left Cork at 19, and after dropping out of college in London, she travelled, then had menial cleaning and office jobs.
“In 1999 I was in Cork and at a loose end with no work, and my dad introduced me to Anthony Dinan of the Examiner. I went in for a day and wrote an article on car tax, then I started sending in articles from London.”
Suzanne started writing The Liberty Tree two years ago.
“I’d talked out my story in Alcoholics Anonymous, and it was nice to write it down in a coherent way.”
Who is Suzanne Harrington?
Date of birth: 28th July 1967.
Education: Scoil Mhuire Cork. North London Polytechnic, Half a BA, then University of Sussex, half a Masters.
Family: Lola 12, and Felix 10.
The Day Job: Freelance Journalist/writer.
Interests: Football, reading and animals.
Favourite Writers: Augusten Burroughs; Edward St Aubyn; Charles Bukowski; Zadie Smith.
Second Novel: “I’m half way through another memoir. It’s a travelogue, and a series of misadventures.”
Top Writing Tip: Just do it.
Web: www.suzanneharrington.wordpress.com Twitter: @soozysuze
The Debut: 'The Liberty Tree' by Suzanne Harrington is out now, published by Atlantic: €18.60 Kindle: €6.26
In 2006, Suzanne Harrington’s estranged husband, Leo, hung himself from a tree. In this memoir of their relationship, she tries to explain to their children, and to anyone else who might be interested, how and why this happened.
Suzanne’s life had always been extreme. She writes of her addiction to drink and to drugs; of the homelessness, illness, depression and divorce that ultimately led to Leo’s death. She ends with hope, describing how she made herself a life worth living. It’s a searingly honest account of someone who partied too hard, and spent years avoiding the truth.
The Verdict: A magnificent piece of writing; lyrical yet brutal; painful yet achingly funny.
© Sue Leonard 2013