Rooney’s rise

Staying In

AUTHOR IN THE ASCENDANT Sally Rooney, whose second novel will be published in September.

Ciara Moynihan

Mayo writer Sally Rooney’s rapid ascent into the most-acclaimed literary circles continues unabated. Her debut novel, ‘Conversations with Friends’, catapulted her to fame in 2017, and last week the author made the 13-strong longlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her yet-to-be-published second novel, ‘Normal People’. Two other Irish authors were also nominated – Donal Ryan for ‘From a Low and Quiet Sea’ and Anna Burns for ‘Milkman’.
Due to be published in September, ‘Normal People’ revolves around two characters, Connell and Marianne, who grow up in the same west-of-Ireland town. In school, they are polar opposites – Marianne is a solitary soul who doesn’t like her classmates, and they don’t like her; Connell is a popular lad. Connell’s mother works as a cleaner in Marianne’s family home, a mansion.
When they both end up at Trinity College in Dublin, a their connection grows and lasts long into the years that follow.
The book’s blurb describes ‘Normal People’ as ‘a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love … an exquisite love story that breathes fiction with new life’.
Born in 1991, Rooney was raised in Castlebar, where her mother, Marie Farrell, recently retired as director of the Linenhall Arts Centre. She is editor of Dublin literary magazine The Stinging Fly, which publishes and promotes the new Irish and international writing.