Book mad, Aoibheann taught herself to read aged 3, and by junior infants was reading the Famous Five. After college she worked for an environmental theatre before moving to London with her husband to be.
She wrote throughout college, getting published and reading at events, but stopped at 24, after the birth of her daughter.
“We moved to Galway two years later, and I did an HDip in teaching. I taught drama before moving to the Rape Crisis Centre where I designed an education programme. I ended up teaching there and working. Then in 2004, I took a break and wrote a draft of Marina.”
Afterwards, she returned to the Rape Crisis Centre, eventually becoming the Executive Director. After 12 years she left, but has done contract work for them since.
A meeting with Declan Meade led to a Stinging Fly Mentorship with Mike McCormick.
“It helped me in all kinds of ways. I think the novel had percolated over the years.”
Who is Aoibheann McCann?
Date of birth: 1973, in Dublin. “But we moved to Donegal when I was 3. I had an aunt there who read a lot. I learned magical realism through her.”
Education: A technical, vocational school in Carndonagh. NUI Galway, English and philosophy – with Italian in first year.
Home: Knocknacarra, Galway.
Family: Husband, Anthony, and daughter, Saoirse.
The Day Job: “I work in community development, helping individuals and groups across the county.”
In Another Life: “I’d be a TV presenter.”
Favourite Writers: Margaret Atwood; Roberto Bolano; Haruki Marukami; Rachel Kushner.
Second Novel: “I’m completing a selection of short stories, and have 29,000 words of a novel I started some years ago.”
Top Tip: “Read and record your novel. Do corrections, then read and record it again.”
Website: www.aoibheannmccann.net Twitter: @aoibhMc
The Debut: Marina. Words on the Street. €15.70.
From childhood onwards Marina has felt lost; she believes she belongs on the sea bed. Feeling she’s betrayed her only friend, she moves to music college in London, and falls under fellow student Jules’s spell.
When her life falls apart Marina’s mental stability is questioned. Is there really something wrong with her?
The Verdict: A superb new voice, Aoibheann has produced a poignant portrayal of the effects of pervasive abuse.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 1st December, 2018
© Sue Leonard. 2018.