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Debut novelist gets thumbs up from bestseller Mantel

March 7th, 2021 2:30 PM

Laura, above, got the stamp of approval from famous writer Hilary Mantel

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LOCAL novelist Laura McKenna has attracted the attention of Hilary Mantel, the world-famous author of Wolf Hall, with her debut novel.  

Laura, who moved from Bristol to Cork in 2003 and lives in Waterfall, told The Southern Star, she was thrilled with the endorsement for her book Words To Shape My Name.

‘It was fantastic,’ she said, ‘I mean, it kind of came out of the blue. I was so thrilled. She was simply lovely, she sent an email with it, it was so thoughtful and insightful.’ 

Laura’s book is about the friendship between Lord Edward Fitzgerald and a runaway slave Tony Small, who saved the Irish aristocrat’s life in the American War.

Their friendship took them from the US to London, Ireland, France, Canada, and places in between. 

Fitzgerald, a leader of the Society of United Irishmen, was fatally wounded during his arrest on the eve of the 1798 Rebellion. 

Laura writes both fiction and poetry and she worked for many years as a child psychiatrist. On moving to Waterfall, Laura met a fantastic community of writers and like-minded friends in lots of different settings, including UCC, where she did her PhD in creative writing and the Crawford Art Gallery, where she has given many workshops. 

She says Cork is a great place to live and a great place to write.  

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