Tatt’s The Spirit: Questions with Christine Dwyer Hickey

Though busy with the republishing of the 2004 classic Tatty, we were fortunate enough to catch legendary irish author Christine Dwyer Hickey with a few of the questions submitted to us from social media, before she joins us for the festival later this year to answer more:

Enid Beb: “Finished reading this a few days ago – really excellent book but a tough read in parts. Shows how resilient children are. Would a follow up ever be considered by the author – Tatty at 20/30yrs old?”

(Enid Beb). No follow-up I’m afraid. Tatty ends when she’s 14 years old and so a follow-up would probably have to cover the years 14-18. To be honest, these are years I never want to revisit and as Tatty is very much an autobiographical book, I don’t see how I could avoid them. Tatty from 20-30? Well, that would consist of nappies and babies and such like. Happier times for me but not sure readers would find them all that interesting!

Jacquie Jacqueline: “When you are writing your books, do you include little things about people or events you know that they or others might recognize? Physical descriptions or characteristics, a conversation or funny moment, etc.”

Little things about people or events? Usually not on purpose though inevitably some things do slip in. I gave my daughter’s black hair for example, to Farley’s wife in The Cold Eye of Heaven and the blue-eyed Sicilian named Pino is based on an Italian taxi driver I know. I think my father has made several appearances in my books under various guises. In The Cold Eye of Heaven, he and many of his pals came into the picture as old Dubs of a certain vintage. He (literally) is the father in Tatty of course and he has popped up in short stories too.  However, apart from Tatty which is largely autobiographical, I have only taken one incident – something that I witnessed as a child. It’s in my second novel The Gambler and concerns a pair of shoes belonging to a man that I recognised under the bed of a house I was visiting and wondered what they were doing there…. all parties now deceased of course, which is why I feel I can mention them. 

#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. 

You are invited to submit questions to each week’s chosen author via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Email. Create a tweet or post containing your question and include the hashtag #AskAnAuthor. Alternatively, you can send us an email at info@dublinbookfestival.com with #AskAnAuthor in the subject line.