14/01/17: Lisa McInerney
Column: The Brief


Lisa McInerney is an Irish writer who first gained a following for her award-winning blog about life in a Galway council estate, ‘Arse End of Ireland’. Her short story ‘Saturday, Boring’ was published in Faber & Faber’s ‘Town and Country’ anthology, edited by Kevin Barry. The Glorious Heresies, her debut novel, won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 and the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016.


Which book would you recommend to our readers? 
Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr. In Selby’s teeming city, misery doesn’t exclude vibrancy. Why can’t degeneracy be vivid?

Which film would you recommend to our readers?
Irréversible, directed by Gaspar Noé. As punishing as it is to engage with, the ambiguity in its contorted denouement is beautiful.

Which poem would you recommend to our readers?
‘The Circus Animals’ Desertion’ by W.B. Yeats. It’s about the loss of inspiration in a creative life, but I read it as Yeats reassessing his muse, and find it comforting.

Which television episode would you recommend to our readers?
‘Gelsomina Verde’ from Gomorrah - The Series, directed by Claudio Cupellini. An unflinching telling of a cruel world and a cruel act, named after a real, innocent victim of the Camorra. I didn’t sleep after it.

Are artists their own greatest censors?
They should be. The expansiveness of creativity must be pinned down, id tamed by ego. Else it’s purely personal. If not self-congratulatory.

Is exploitative art ever excusable?
If it exploits the self, or manipulates its consumer, yes. If it exploits the vulnerable for the artist’s pride or consumer’s pleasure, no.

Should artists ever endanger themselves?
I would argue if the artist isn’t endangering themselves to some extent they’re being far too wary. You'll find little truth in caution.

Is artistic discovery a private or shared experience?
Primarily a private experience, because art is subjective. Context and nuance are integral to discovery, and both are deeply personal.

What does experimentation mean to you?
Finding new structures to express thought, unusual angles, maybe the odd neologism. Strict writing rules can often force experimentation!

Why increase inclusion in the arts?
History is written by the winners. Excluding people from the arts means we all end up with stunted understanding.


More to discoverLisa McInerney's official website can be found here, including her blog. Her Twitter handle is @SwearyLady. You can read an excerpt from The Glorious Heresies here. The novel is available to buy online via Hodder & Stoughton or Penguin Random House, or from a bookshop near you. You can also read a short story by Lisa McInerney, 'Navigation', on the Granta Magazine website, and read about the author's writing habits in an article for The Guardian. Three interviews with Lisa McInerney available online are her conversations with Paul McVeigh for The Irish Times, with Katy Guest for The Pool, and withStylist following her Baileys Prize success.

You can read an excerpt from Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr. on Google Books. Lisa McInerney has also written about the book for Granta Magazine. You can read 'The Circus Animals' Desertion' by William Butler Yeats on the Poetry Foundationwebsite. The trailers for Irréversible and Gomorrah - The Series can be found here and here, respectively.