Writing is second nature to Lucy; her father was a film and music critic and her mother an English teacher who wrote.
“I wrote my first book at six years old. My grandmother said they would stock it in the library. For years, I believed her.”
After university Lucy worked in London, in American Apparel, but in that three months her life imploded, as a seven-year relationship ended.
“My world cracked. I feel if my stories in Paris Syndrome had a beginning time, that was the moment.”
From them on, Lucy took odd jobs to make money to go travelling and keep writing.
“I ended up in the James Joyce Centre for five years. They were brilliant.”
Moved to London a year ago, working over there. Lucy’s first story was published by Banshee in 2014. Her stories have also appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Dublin Review, and Grist.
Who is Lucy Sweeney Byrne?
Date of birth: 1989. Lucy was bought up between Bray and Greystones. “My parents split up when I was small.”
Education: Loretto, Bray. Trinity College Dublin. English. “The same as my mother had.”
Home: London but moving to Connemara soon.
Family: Fiancé, David.
The Day Job: Part time at a nature reserve in London. “And I’m a dog walker.”
In Another Life: “I’d make a difference in politics. I’d be the powerful second command to a non-evil dictator. (Nothing happens in a democracy.) I’d make the decisions but not appear in the newspapers.”
Favourite Writers: Virginia Woolf; Beckett; TS Eliot: Joseph Brodsky: Borges: Elizabeth Hardwick; Annie Ernaux.
Second Novel: “I’m working on a full-length piece, but I don’t know what it will be.”
Top Tip: “Sit at the desk. You can have all the talent but unless you sit you won’t get the writing done.”
The Debut: Paris Syndrome. Banshee Press: €15.00.
These eleven stories explore what it’s like to be young, female, alone, and travelling the world with all its pleasures and dangers.
“The stories are true but not always real. I’m indulging in the worst versions of myself.”
The Verdict: I adored this collection. It’s accessible literature at its best, and the author is a name to watch.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 28th September.
© Sue J Leonard. 2019