‘Once upon a time and a very good time it was…’ I spent three years working on a PhD in Anglo-Irish literature (that means Irish literature written in English). During my studies on twentieth-century Northern Irish fiction I came across Kate O’Riordan’s debut novel Involved (1995), which described ‘Troubles’ Belfast in an incredibly powerful manner. I loved this atmospheric book, so it was an agreeable surprise to later be introduced to Kate socially and find out she was a close neighbour in Twickenham!
Since her first novel, Kate has published five further novels: The Boy in the Moon (1997), The Angel in the House (1997), The Memory Stones (2003), Loving Him (2005), and Penance (2016). Her TV work includes head writer for Smother (2021), Penance (2020 – an adaption of her own novel), The Bay (2019) and Mr Selfridge (2013-2016). As she lives nearby, my serendipitous meetings with Kate O’Riordan have continued over the years and I am consistently impressed by her tales of her remarkable career. What’s more, my unplanned ramblings through Twickenham, absorbing the area with no expectations, remind me of the preponderance of fascinating artists living here.
Dr Richard Mills is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Popular Culture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
Dr Richard Mills