We caught up with poet and creative facilitator Nessa O’Mahony as she prepares to teach her Finding Your Form course here at the Irish Writers Centre. Nessa was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to give us an insight into her reading and creative habits, among other subjects. Places on Finding Your Form are filling up fast, so book now to avoid disappointment.

Irish Writers Centre: When did you start to write?

Nessa O’Mahony: Well, if you don’t count the poems in the school magazine, I’d turned 30, would you believe. My parents gave me a birthday present of a creative writing course; I wonder would they have thought twice about that gift had they known I’d ultimately give up full-time, pensionable employment in order to be a full-time writer. I hope not.

IWC: Who is your favourite living writer?

NM: That’s a very hard question to answer. There are writers whose new books I delight in reading, and new writers whose work I’m delighted to discover. But if you do force my hand, Louise Gluck’s poetry is always thrilling, as is Richard Ford’s prose, and Robert Holmes writes the best biographies I’ve come across.

IWC: What do you use to write ?

NM: I have a notebook and an iPhone for first drafts or phrases or images or scraps of anything that might be turned into a poem. I began my novel on the laptop and have kept it going there, though trying not to edit myself as I go along. I’m a great believer in allowing the first draft its full reign before going in with the scalpel, though one has to be brutal when that edit stage happens.

IWC: If you could work in any other field besides your own, what would it be?

NM: I’d love to be a dog whispering antiques shop-owner.


Nessa O’Mahony has published four books, Bar Talk (1999), Trapping a Ghost (2005), In Sight of Home (2009) and Her Father’s Daughter (2014).

Book here for Finding Your Form with Nessa O’Mahony>>>