Best-selling writer Anne Griffin is back on Cape Clear, where she is writing her third book. The whole of West Cork is rich in inspiring dialogue, inspiration and flavour, she tells Niamh Hayes
CAPE Clear is known for its beautiful landscape and small community, and these are the things that inspired award-wining author Anne Griffin to start writing eight years ago.
Originally from Dublin and now living in Westmeath, Anne has been visiting Cape Clear since her sister relocated there 30 years ago.
It was a four-month stint on the island in 2013 that ended up being the beginning of a very successful writing career for Anne.
‘I had an opportunity to come to the island for longer than usual.
‘My son was eight and went to the local school. On his first day, I dropped him off, went back to the apartment and started to write. It was serendipity,’ she said.
Having worked in bookshop Waterstones and with various charities for many years, Anne came to a crossroads in her life.
Her good friend, work colleague and fellow award-winning author, John Boyne, encouraged her to give writing a go.
The book she wrote on that trip never came out of the drawer, but it proved that she had the stamina to write. That was it, she had the bug.
Anne went on to write award-winning short stories and started a masters in creative writing in UCD with the bones of a novel, and came out with a finished product.
When All is Said became a bestseller and Anne won the Newcomer of the Year Award at the 2019 Irish Book Awards. Her latest novel, Listening Still, was released in April and now she is back on Cape Clear working on her third book.
‘I love the long sunny days. There is a calmness and peace here where I can totally immerse myself in my work,’ said Anne.
‘My best work is done in the morning. I get up and do yoga and work from nine until lunchtime.
‘If I have the head for it, I’ll do more in the afternoon. I walk or read in the evenings.’
Anne finds reading helpful for her own work.
‘It’s like getting a brain massage. My brain takes a rest but is still working in the background.’
In her first two novels, Anne writes about small villages with strong characters, and she finds between reading and spending time on Cape Clear, she has the perfect inspiration.
‘There is nothing better than immersing myself in a small community. Every moment here is research.
‘It’s just so rich. West Cork is like that in general,’ added Anne, who said she could sit and listen to the locals and tourists talking all day, as it gives her flavour and ideas.
Anne will appear in an outdoor event in Bantry, alongside fellow novelist Rachel Donohue, in conversation with journalist Sue Leonard, on Saturday July 10th at 3pm as part of this year’s West Cork Literary Festival.