An original short story commissioned by BBC Radio 4 from the writer Olivia Fitzsimons. As read by Aoibhéann McCann.
Olivia Fitzsimons is just one of many artists exhibiting her work at the newly-opened Dean Art Studios on Chatham Row in Dublin. Here she shares more about writing, the most invaluable thing she’s learned in her career and her debut novel.
The Dean Arts Studio is a new, multi-disciplinary artistic hub located on Chatham Row, in the heart of Dublin city centre.
Both established and emerging practitioners across visual arts, literature, photography, sound, music, art curation, comedy and more are in residency in what previously housed the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. Each residency runs for one year, and it is envisaged that more than 20 artists, cultural institutions and arts organisations will benefit from the Studio, which will be wholly funded by Press Up Hospitality Group for the benefit of the artistic community.
The Dean Arts Studios is a celebration of creativity. We strive to be an inclusive space representing the cultural, artistic, and social diversity that make up Ireland today.
Ten years ago this month, Irish fiction lost one of its most endearing, vivid characters. Credited for tackling the big issues, from abortion and depression to infidelity and divorce, with an impressively light touch, Binchy was one of the first big chroniclers of a quickly changing Ireland. Her successful career spanned 17 novels, three plays, countless collections of short stories and a treasure trove of journalism.
“Though her pages were rife with faithless lovers, alcoholism, unwanted pregnancies and even murder, Ms Binchy resisted being described as a romance novelist. For one thing, she pointed out, her heroines were less inclined to win the dashing hero than they were to learn to live, quite capably, without him,” The New York Times noted in its obituary of the writer.
I often drift off into my imagination and my kids do too. We have sanctioned dream time in our house; everyone gets to go off and potter or daydream if they need it. My eldest son will say “I’m dreaming” and then no one interrupts him. Of course they interrupt me but after years of fragmented sleep I rarely dream. When I do, my dreams are very vivid, I wake from nightmares in tears, so I prefer daydreaming. My youngest experienced some night terrors when he was little – he appeared completely awake but was locked in a trancelike state – so I’m very aware of the power of dreams and nightmares.
Kit de Waal
This is Not a Pity Memoir by Abi Morgan is a memoir by one of the country’s leading screenwriters on a terrible change in her family’s life and her own diagnosis of breast cancer. It’s exactly as the title says, not pitying nor maudlin but brutally honest and very, very funny. The Quiet Whispers Never Stop by Olivia Fitzsimons, a confident debut from a new voice, is a multi-voiced family drama set in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. Well worth a read. Homesickness by Colin Barrett is another majestic collection from one of the best short story writers around, a whole world contained in a few pages. Excellent.
Essay by Olivia Fitzsimons
Review by Neil Heggarty
The annual residency programme offers great opportunities for artists of all disciplines to tap into the resources of Paris and the CCI, as well as being an important means of showcasing Ireland's dynamic contemporary culture on an international stage. Since 2015, CCI have partnered numerous Irish cultural organisations so as to be able to appoint up to forty artist residents every year who form the heart of the Centre Culturel Irlandais’ creative community.
The Writers Lab UK & Ireland is produced by co-founders Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, with UK partner Untamed Stories, helmed by producers Julia Berg and Ruth Spencer. It is presented with support from Dirty Films, in association with Birds’ Eye View, Screen Scotland, Northern Ireland Screen, Screen Skills Ireland, Ffilm Cymru Wales & BFI NETWORK with funding from the National Lottery, and New York Women in Film & Television.
In The Quiet Whispers Never Stop (John Murray, April) by Olivia Fitzsimons, a mother and, years later, her daughter plot to escape the stultifying, troubled North.
The Quiet Whispers Never Stop by Olivia Fitzsimons
This novel is also set in Northern Ireland, in the 1980s and 1990s, and is written by a Co Down native. It’s about Nuala Malin, who is struggling with her life – and then finds unexpected refuge with a 17-year-old boy. When she’s subsequently given a chance to leave the north, she does. That was in 1982 – fast forward to 1994, and her daughter Sam Malin plans her own escape.
The Quiet Whispers Never Stop by Olivia Fitzsimons (John Murray)
Northern Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s is the setting for this story of a dysfunctional family by debut novelist Fitzsimons. Mother Nuala Malin struggles to connect to her husband, motherhood and the smallness of her life. She finds unexpected refuge in a 17-year-old boy. Years later, her daughter Sam plans escape and finds solace in an older man.
In 1982, Nuala Malin struggles to stay connected, to her husband, to motherhood, to the smallness of her life in the belly of a place that is built on hate and stagnation. Her daughter Sam and baby son PJ keep her tethered to this life she doesn't want. She finds unexpected refuge with a seventeen-year-old boy, but this relationship is only temporary, a sticking plaster on a festering wound. It cannot last and when her chance to leave Northern Ireland comes, Nuala takes it.
In 1994, Sam Malin plans escape. She longs for a life outside her dysfunctional family, far away from the North and all its troubles, free from her quiet brooding father Patsy, who never talks about her mother, Nuala; a woman Sam barely knew, who abandoned them twelve years ago. She finds solace in music, drugs and her best friend Becca, but most of all in an illicit relationship with a jagged, magnetic older man.
She is drawn to him, and he to her, in a way she can't yet comprehend.
Sam is more like her mother than she knows.
We’re delighted to announce the 12 awardees for the IWC Evolution Programme 2021; Arnold Thomas Fanning, Deirdre Cartmill, Kevin Curran, Maeve Galvin, Máire T. Robinson, Melatu-Uche Okorie, Michelle Gallen, Liz Quirke, Olivia Fitzsimons, Sheila Armstrong, Sue Divin and Helen Blackhurst. They were selected by our professional judging panel Maria McManus, John Kenny and Mike McCormack.
The Evolution Programme was established to mark the Irish Writers Centre 30th Anniversary, and is an opportunity for published writers resident on the island of Ireland to avail from a series of sustained supports, which are partly tailored to their specific needs. The suite of supports will include bespoke career development with professional editorial, practical or creative support by way of a mentor.
"You have everything to gain. Be brave." Olivia Fitzsimons on her Novel Fair journey. September 11, 2020Irish Writers Centre - News https://irishwriterscentre.ie/blogs/news
SKIN DEEP explores skin’s parallels to architecture and continues Walsh’s obsession with architecture.
Using Arnold Bocklin’s ‘The Isle of the Dead’ (1883) as a reference, SKIN DEEP brings us to an imaginary
island, a medical-tourism destination for the pursuit of the perfect skin.
Writer: Olivia Fitzsimons
Narrator: Shashi Rami
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