A prolific reader, Susan had read her way through most of Conan Doyle’s books by the age of 11. But her passion, as a child, was cooking.
“My school didn’t encourage it, so I took my degree in Sociology.
“My first job, however, was in catering. I worked as a hospital chef, and then had a series of catering jobs.”
She managed The Rainbow Café, Northern Ireland’s first vegetarian café, before moving to Cyprus to work. By then she was married with a child.
“When I became pregnant for a second time, we moved back to Northern Ireland, and I soon realised that a catering job wouldn’t work around a two-year-old and a baby.”
When her son was two years old, she worked in adult education for a few years, first in colleges, then in training. But after 12 years she retrained as a podiatrist. Then cancer struck.
“I gave up work and have been freelance since.”
Susan started writing poetry around that time, and, enjoying it, took a course in Creative Writing, concentrating on non-fiction.
“The debut is a follow on from a story I wrote for Radio Ulster. I completed the memoir in 2012 but rewrote it last year.”
Who is Susan Farrell?
Place of birth: Portadown, County Armagh
Education: Killcomaine High School. University of Ulster, Sociology. Belfast Metropolitan College, Diploma in Hotel Catering and Institutional Management. Falmouth College, Creative Writing.
Home: Rostrevor, County Down.
Family: Susan is a widow. She has two adult children.
The Day Job: Writing and painting.
In Another Life: “I wish I had attended Trinity College Dublin. There would have been better opportunities there.”
Favourite Writers: James Joyce, (For Dubliners, not Ulysses.) Des Egan; John Grisham; Helen Waddell; Mary Renault; Agatha Christie.
Second Book: “I wrote a non-fiction book for my MA. It needs reworking.”
Top Tip: “Go on a course. It helps you to write, but also to understand the industry.”
Website: susanfarrellartist.com Twitter: @farrell15866032
The Debut: My Homeplace Inheritance. Recipes for life from my Irish Country Childhood. The Blackstaff Press: €11.03 Kindle: €6.39
Susan’s childhood in sixties rural Armagh revolved around food; the brewing teapot; the bread; the cakes, and the Ulster Fry. Evoking a time and place, Susan illustrates the text with recipes.
The Verdict: A delight. Heart-warming and sincere.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 19th December.
© Sue J Leonard. 2020.