It is a rare occurrence for students to be afforded the opportunity to meet one of the authors of their Leaving Certificate text. However, last Friday morning (Nov 20th) eighty of our students got to meet Claire Keegan, author of the award winning novel, ‘Foster’.
Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award in 2014, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. The novel was elected by readers as the best story published that year in The New Yorker. She also has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents. She holds an MA and an M.Phil in Creative Writing and was kind enough to share many of her tips about writing stories with the students.
During her visit Claire spoke eloquently about her work and her passion for writing, telling us that in all her years of writing, she had never been bored. She also spoke about how her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years. She then gave us some background to the writing of the novel and told us that she was inspired to write it because she grew up on a farm. She then treated us to a reading from her book before an engaging Q & A session with the students. She then focused on the key components of a story and how time plays such a vital role when you are writing.
She was extremely charismatic, frank and honest about her writing and no questions were off limits. Understanding the themes and characters in the novel was she insisted very much up to the reader and their own interpretation of it. One of the students expressed her incomprehension at the book’s ending, Claire then revisited the ending, discussed it and insisted that she had left it open, so that the reader could come to their own conclusion about it.
It was an absolute pleasure to have Claire visit our school and speak to us about her novel. It certainly gave us a deeper insight into the story. We wish Claire the best of luck and eagerly await her new book.