The wonderful Seán Rocks interviewed me about darling Belle on Arena. Link here.
Fantastic night in the Church Gallery at Ballinasloe Library for the launch of Becoming Belle and the opening of my artist collective’s exhibition, MAPS. Mary O’Rourke did the launching honours. A warm atmosphere and many, many people showed up to support us all.
Fittingly, 11th September was Belle Bilton’s birthday.So I bought her a cake.
I was interviewed by Dr Miriam Nyhan of Glucksman Ireland House about Becoming Belle. Go here: http://www.nyuirish.net/radiohour/
- Victorian Afternoon Tea, 1 Pery Square, Limerick, 19th Aug
- Hodges Figgis 200 year anniversary. Reading series – 23rd Aug, 6pm. Hodges Figgis, Dublin.
- Dublin launch of Becoming Belle, The Gutter Book Shop, 5th September, 6.30pm. Launch by Mia Gallagher.
- Galway launch of Becoming Belle, Ballinasloe Library, 11th September, 6pm. Launch by Mary O’Rourke.
- Shorelines Arts Festival, Portumna 15th September, 3pm. Portumna Library.
- Clifden Arts Week – 18th September with Alan McMonagle. 4.30pm, Station House
- Wexford launch of Becoming Belle, Gorey Visitor Centre, 21st September, 6pm. Launch by Caroline Busher.
- Bluestacks Festival, Donegal – 7th October, 3pm,Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon. Reading and conversation with Mary O’Donnell.
- Red Line Festival, 9th October – Victorian Mavericks with Bernie McGill & Caroline Busher, 7.30pm, Pearse Museum, Dublin
- DLR Voices, 23rd October – The Pavilion, Dun Laoghaire – reading and interview with Sarah Maria Griffin. Time tbc.
Nuala has won the 2018 Short Fiction Prize with a story about Nora Barnacle, wife and muse to James Joyce.
Judge Ríona Judge McCormack said the follow of Nuala’s winning story ‘Gooseen’:
“The winning entry, ‘Gooseen’, stood out for its freshness, its stunning use of language, and its warm, beating humanity. Joycean Dublin as a setting can be a risky endeavour, the path having been so well-travelled already, but this story rises easily above such comparisons to bring us something new and satisfyingly urgent. There is a finely-balanced weighting here between the raunchy, delicious beginnings of a love affair and the more poignant aspects of Nora’s inner life. Giving voice to someone known only through the letters and writings of another is an audacious undertaking, but one ‘Gooseen’ achieves with both a dancing lyricism and a deftly-executed sureness of touch”.
Becoming Belle is a witty and inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, based on a true story of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time in Victorian London.
In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed “the peasant countess” by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle’s rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down.
With only her talent, charm, and determination, Isabel moves to London alone at age nineteen, changes her name to Belle, and takes the city by storm, facing unthinkable hardships as she rises to fame. A true bohemian and the star of a dancing double act she performs with her sister, she reigns over The Empire Theatre and The Corinthian Club, where only select society entertains. It is there she falls passionately in love with William, Viscount Dunlo, a young aristocrat. For Belle, her marriage to William is a dream come true, but his ruthless father makes clear he’ll stop at nothing to keep her in her place.
Re-imagined by a novelist at the height of her powers, Belle is an unforgettable woman. Set against an absorbing portrait of Victorian London, hers is a timeless rags-to-riches story a la Becky Sharpe.
Becoming Belle will be published in August 2018, and is available to pre-order now.