Friday, May 24, 2019

A Dublin janitor wins the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature from the university she cleans. . .

from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

After graduating in 2004, Ms. Lally worked as an English teacher in Japan for a year and then traveled a lot. Back in Ireland, she held various jobs, including as a copywriter, and she went to New York for a time as a home helper. She found herself unemployed in 2011, which was when she got the idea for Eggshells.

Eggshells is about a socially isolated misfit who walks around Dublin searching for patterns and meaning in graffiti or magical-sounding place names or small doors that could lead to another world,” Ms. Lally wrote to the Post.

“I spent the guts of a year wandering around Dublin in 2011, the year I was unemployed. I had been laid off from my job in the recession and was walking the streets myself looking for ‘staff wanted’ signs, and came up with the idea of my character, Vivian, who’s just looking to belong, to connect with someone,” she said.

Ms. Lally finally got a job in data entry and decided to develop Vivian’s character and write her book. Once she finished it, she entered it in a competition and won, with her prize being a day pitching her novel to agents and publishers. She got an agent and a book deal.

“There were many, many rejections, but after hundreds of job rejections, I think I’d gotten used to being told ‘no,’” she said.

Her book was published in 2015, the same year she found herself out of a job again. She had remained friends with some of her old cleaning buddies from Trinity, and they told her the school was hiring housekeepers. “I went back,” she said.

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