Molly didn’t learn to read until she was 10.
“But at my Steiner school I was focused on art and stories. I forced my friends to do theatre and puppets. I loved directing and controlling them.”
“I’ve always loved fairy and folk tales; I was told them, along with bible stories when I was little. I believed in them all; they all existed together.”
At 10 she wrote a book and sent it to her aunt who had it published into a real book.
“That made me think, ‘I want to be a writer.’”
After university Molly worked in Bath as a copywriter for a year.
“And I continued to do that in conjunction with my MA.”
Molly won best thesis of the year with what became the first half of her debut.
“Through winning that, I acquired my agent, Helen Ogden.
Moving to Manchester, then Sheffield, she continued copywriting for advertising companies.
Who is Molly Aitken?
Date of birth: 1991 in Perth Scotland, but brought up in Kildare, and then Ballydehob, West Cork.
Education: Schull Community College; NUI Galway, Literature and Classics; Bath Spa University, MA in Creative Writing.
Family: Husband, Artur Gower. “He’s a lecturer. We met in Galway.”
The Day Job: Development Editing and some Ghostwriting.
In Another Life: “I’ve always wanted to fly, so I’d be an acrobat in Cirque du Soleil.”
Favourite Writers: Edna O’Brien; Jeanette Winterson; Faye Weldon; Sally Rooney; Naoise Dolan; Louise O’Neill.
Second Novel: Set in Scotland, it’s about a little girl who is fascinated with death.
Top Tip: Keep writing. Keep editing. Be persistent. Successful writers are the ones who keep trying.
The Debut: The Island Child. Canongate: €17.98. Kindle: €8.70
Brought up on an Island, steeped in myth and fairy tales, Oona can’t wait to escape its confines. She goes to Canada and has her own daughter. She’s desperate for a second chance, but can you ever truly leave your past behind?
“Oona isn’t the easiest character; she’s a difficult person, but I hope readers understand why she is prickly, and how history made her that way.”
The Verdict: Rich, original, and rooted in folklore. This lyrical debut charts a search for identity, and the difficulties of mother daughter relationships.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 29th February.
© Sue J Leonard. 2020