This is a blog about art, fiction and history, both separately and where they overlap.
I’m an award-winning Irish novelist (The Hennessy Award, Lannan Foundation Award) and short story writer, the author of three novels, Mother of Pearl, The Pretender and The Rising of Bella Casey, and two collections of short stories, A Lazy Eye and Prosperity Drive. (See my Books page.)
I have 20 years experience of teaching creative writing at university level in the US and Ireland. Until May 2020, I was the associate director of creative writing at University College Cork, teaching on the MA in Creative Writing and leading undergraduate teaching of creative writing.
I now offer one-to-one creative mentoring and editing and appraisal services for writers – see The Deadline Desk page on this site.
I’m also a superannuated hack, with 30 years’ experience as a journalist, having worked as a reporter/feature writer/sub-editor on three of Ireland’s national dailies. I still write articles for various publications and websites and review fiction, as well as keeping this blog fed, and curating a second site – unawattersartist.wordpress.com– devoted to the Dublin artist and designer Una Watters (1918 – 1965)
10 thoughts on “About”
Hi Mary, this is one of your former students who has fond memories of the classes I took with you here in Fayetteville. Kelly and I had a son last Dec 6! His name is John Patrick, and though I’m in no way objective, he’s a beautiful boy. We have lots of photos of him on our Facebook pages if you care to challenge me on that issue. Glad to find you’re doing a blog, I’ll be following.
Mary , see link to upcoming event relating to Sean O’Casey , the Dublin Docks and World War One. We have included link to this blog in the events page. Feel free to pass on to anyone who you feel may be interested.
Hi Mary, I just had coffee with the lovely Maura Crilly in London, Ontario. We both worked at Western University. Maura told me about your blog. I grew up in Belfast, N.I. and I have taken some part-time courses at Queens University during a few winters spent over there: creative writing, acting, public speaking, very enjoyable to meet all the people in the class. Very nice to meet you.
Hi Barbara – good to meet you too, and to hear Maura’s out and about. I need to feed the blog pretty soon – am currently on a writing residency in Italy so that might appear here. Watch this space! – Mary
Hi Mary. Im currently doing a research project for my Leaving cert history project on Anna Anderson. I love your article you did for the Irish Times and was hoping to use it as a second source but was wondering and im so sorry if this sounds so rude but what historical research did you do/have before your novel? Thank you Brodie
Hi Brodie – I did a lot of reading before writing the novel. As it’s 20 years since I wrote “The Pretender”, I can’t now remember all the research I did, but here are five books I remember using. (1) The File on the Tsar – Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold, (2) Anastasia: The Life of Anna Anderson – Peter Kurth, (3) The Quest for Anastasia – John Klier, (4) The Romanovs: The Final Chapter – Robert K Massie (5) The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas 11 – Edvard Radzinsky. If you’re interested in Anna Anderson you should read the Peter Kurth book in particular. Good luck with your project. Mary Morrissy
Hi Mary! I’m a student from Austria and we just read Prosperity Drive in class and I really enjoyed it! One thing that I am still unsure about is the story Drag. Is Pauline Larchet an actual Drag and is everyone around her just very accepting of the fact that she wants to be addressed and seen as a woman or was she actually born one? My teacher believes that she was born a woman but I’m still unsure about it because of the story’s title. I would really like to know your thoughts on this! I hope you’re doing well in these difficult times!
Dear Markus – good to hear from you. I see the character in the story “Drag” as a woman, i.e. born a woman, so your teacher is right. The title “Drag” is ambiguous. Pauline feels as if she’s in drag when she conforms to the way a woman is expected to dress. But the confusion about her gender is deliberate – I wanted the reader to be unsure in the early part of the story if she’s a boy who dresses like a girl, or a girl who wants to look like a boy.
I have no idea why you popped up on my LinkedIn (but I loved the Boss bit!) but more importantly I wanted to say that A Lazy Eye was the first book I ever reviewed right round the time I started working for the Irish Voice in New York. Had many great years there and to cut a very long story short am now 20+ years back in Ireland and a librarian. And I STILL have that proof copy of A Lazy Eye because of how much I loved it and how much I credit it with giving me the confidence to keep going. Have read everything since, too. You’re amazing. Thank you!
Darina – well, thank God for algorithms, which have allowed me to meet a long-time supporter. (You’re part of a small, but select, following!) Thanks for the kind comments and taking the trouble to respond. There’s a new novel coming in September – watch our for it! Best, Mary