Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 31st August
Beginner’s Pluck Anakana Schofield.
After college, Anakana worked on films in Dublin, and on a one woman show about the life of Catherine Mansfield.
“I moved to Vancouver in 1999. It took me a while to settle there, then I began researching the history of the labour movement. That drew me into society.”
Anakana started novel writing twelve years ago. She wrote various versions of the book that became Malarky, but she was never satisfied, and for years, considered herself a failure.
“I didn’t want to write a linear middle-brow novel. I continued to experiment until I found a form that suited the book. Meanwhile I was earning a living, writing gambling and horse racing news and literary criticism.”
Released in Canada last year, Malarky won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and was selected as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great new Writers pick.
Who is Anakana Schofield?
Date of birth: 1971, North of London. “I grew up there but went back and forth to Mayo.”
Education: Catholic Comprehensive in England, left at 16 with O’levels. Drama school in London for two years.
Family: Partner, Jeremy, a visual artist, and a son Cúán, 13.
The Day Job: Full time writer, but still write gambling and horse-racing news.
Interests: Labour history, seismology, knitting.
Favourite Writers: George Eliot; Marilynne Robinson; Thalia Field; Edward Lewis Wallant. Cesar Aira
Second Novel: “I’m working on one. It takes Martin John, a character who appeared in Malarky. But I’m struggling. It feels like being back at the beginning of my career.”
Top Writing Tip: “Read. Read anything and everything. At the moment, when I read I’m studying form.”
The Debut: Malarky. Oneworld Publications: €13.99. Kindle €9.21
Our woman has a lot to cope with. A new widow, she discovers that her husband had a dalliance with Red the Twit, and her son, having cavorted with another man, joins an army division heading for Afghanistan. Life starts to unwind.
The Verdict: Our woman explodes from the page, taking the reader by the throat.
© Sue leonard 2013