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'The sense of being outside'

17 April 2017

‘For three years after writing Girl, I didn't write at all. I thought I should try to be a productive member of society. But then I moved back to Ireland and had to decide whether or not I was a writer. And I realised I'm not equipped to be anything else. I saw that even if I was going to be a failed writer, that was probably the best I was going to manage and I made my peace with it - as much as you can...

Writing about sex is very difficult. I did not set out to write lots of sex scenes - they kept recurring and I realised they were intrinsic to the story of the relationship. And yet, I wanted it to be the opposite of pornography - even literary sex can be pornography. In this novel, it was the characters' way to speak to each other about what they could not verbalise.'

I feel completely Irish and that informs so much of who I am and how I write. But exile is more comfortable, the sense of being outside more useful to my writing...'

Eimear McBride, author of The Lesser Bohemians and A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, in the Observer