The Dublin Book Festival Team got talking to debut author and journalist Patrick Freyne this week to ask him all of your burning questions about his new memoir, OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea.
Lucy Henderson: Why did you decide to structure your memoir in a series of essays, as opposed to writing it as a continuous narrative?
I did that partly because I didn’t really want to write about everything in my life. There would have been big gaps in a continuous narrative if I had chose to write the book that way. But I also love essay collections. Everything from Bill Drummond’s 45 to Emilie Pine’s Notes to Self to Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck. I love the fact the chapters can work discretely and independently and that you can dip in and out of those collections. I also found that over the course pandemic it was nice to read shorter pieces of writing without feeling the pressure to read a whole book. But then, with books like that, with the pressure off my shoulders, I usually read the whole book anyway.
Oisin Maguire: If you had to choose a favourite from the essays in your book, which one would it be?
That’s very hard for me to answer because I like different essays in the collection for different reasons. But Gigantic (What I did on my summer holidays, 1995) was the most fun to write because it was the most fun to remember. I put the Pixies song Gigantic on a loop as I wrote it because it helped bring me back to that daft and squalid summer in Bremen.
Daire Browne: How do you think the pandemic has affected the journalism industry?
It revealed that we could put out a daily newspaper with everyone working from home. That was a slightly revolutionary revelation that may well affect how we put our journalism together in the future. I think, overall though, with people stuck in their homes they were more reliant than ever on media voices they felt they could trust. The demand for the Irish Times (where I work) definitely went up. On the other hand, it also showed how vulnerable media companies are when the advertising revenue drops away. It possibly hastened the demise of some of them.
Barbara Wilson: What was your favourite book that you read during the lockdown?
I read a lot during lockdown and loved a lot of books (The Boldness of Betty by my wife Anna Carey/As You Were by Elaine Feeney/Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent/Little Big by John Crowley/The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler/Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan). But I read Nuala O’Faolain’s memoir Are You Somebody? For the first time back in March and I couldn’t believe how beautiful, raw and honest it was. I feel slightly ashamed that I wrote a whole book of memoir essays myself before I ever thought to read it.
#AskanAuthor is an initiative at the Dublin Book Festival that encourages our audience to pose questions to the authors at DBF 2020. We may be going digital but we want to make sure that our audience don’t miss out on direct engagement with the authors.
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