Liza Costello’s work has been shortlisted in the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition, the Francis McManus Prize and the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize and has been broadcast on Radio RTÉ 1. She lives in Co Westmeath with her family. . Her novel Crookedwood was recently published by Hachette Ireland.
I buy a lot of books and am a slow reader, so it pretty much piles up there. Right now, I’m weaving between Ian Cobain’s Anatomy of a Killing – Life and Death on a divided islandreimagines Northern Ireland’s complex history through a very human story, and an elegant collection of short stories by Lucy Caldwell, Intimate.
There is also an old copy of the fantasy horror genre Horror by Dan Simmons, which I picked up after seeing its charismatic TV adaptation. Psychological thriller Hunting party by Lucy Foley was also in it, according to an introduction. Elizabeth Bishop’s collected poems are never far away.
The first book you remember?
Complete illustrated stories by Hans Christian Andersen, a gift from my late father. A fax version of a 19th-century booklet, the front cover features a mermaid lounging on the seabed, her white-blond hair bobbing outward as she leisurely watches a fish.
Your book of the year?
It was actually published in 2020, but I have to say JFK Episode I by Fredrik Logevall, which I read earlier this year. I tend to start reading history books with the best of intentions only to sooner rather than later slide back into fiction. But I like Anatomy of a KillingThis book is all about its people, the facts are so seamlessly woven into its fabric, you barely notice them absorbing them. This is an amazing detail.
A favorite literary character?
So many to choose from. I recently finished Olives, again Elizabeth Strout’s story revolves around Olive Kitteridge, a brilliant, flawed character as she is sentient and kind and who, even towards the end of her life, is always evolving.
A book that changed your life?
Video of the day
I think all good things change a reader, and therefore their lives, though imperceptible, in the sense that they take us out of ourselves and into an experience. do others.
On a more tangible level, read Dermot Healy’s poetry book A Fool’s Errand was the beginning of his writing obsession, which led to me (eventually) submitting my PhD in his work a few weeks ago.
The book you can’t finish?
There are many of them. My pitiful repeated failure to complete Ulysses However, that ended recently when I discovered its amazing RTÉ audio production (made in the 1980s but available on Spotify).
Read your Covid comfortably?
Chekhov’s ‘Gooseberries’, which I found in one of the lockdowns, evoked its lush rains while the three wet and muddy men bathed for milliseconds, and then as they slept, somehow making it a gentle read.
The book you gave as a gift?
That tends to change over the years but I recently gifted someone a copy of the kind and inspiring Maggie Smith. Constantly on the move.
Writers Who Shaped You?
I have been fortunate enough to attend a few writing workshops with Claire Keegan, an amazing teacher as much as she is a writer – her classes are always a thrill.
I recently discovered American writer Attica Locke’s crime thrillers and was completely captivated by the wonderfully balanced action she achieves there, with her literary sensibility. and the theme takes the reader deep into the dire realities of racial inequality in the United States, past and present, all delivered through conspiracies that make each book impossible to take down. .
The book you want to be remembered the most?
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/my-life-in-books-liza-costello-41939010.html My Life in Books: Liza Costello