The Blagger's Guide To...Anne Enright

'Do you realise there is sex on every page?'

*Anne Enright's The Forgotten Waltz will be launched this week at a small party in the home of her editor at Jonathan Cape. Her first novel since the Man Booker Prize-winning The Gathering, this Dublin-set work is "a memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing".

*In 2007, Enright became the fourth Irish writer to win the Booker (after Iris Murdoch, Roddy Doyle and John Banville), and the fifth consecutive winner to beat the bookies' odds. Not that she ever listened to the bookies. "They don't read," she said, "so how would they know?" Nonetheless, The Gathering was an unexpected victor. Before its appearance on the shortlist, it had sold fewer than 1,000 copies. At the end of February 2008, it had sold 250,000 copies, and been sold to 31 countries, including Bangladesh, Korea, and Macedonia. But this was the year that Katie Price's Crystal ("the sensational new novel by Jordan") sold more than all six shortlisted Man Booker novels put together.

*The Gathering received a mixed reception from the critics. One called it "pretentious" and "wearing" and said that it was obsessed with "the dirty-handkerchief side of life". Enright retorted: "I have to say, if there's any obsession with sex, it's on the critic's part". However, she has previously admitted that sex is important in her fiction. Of her second novel, she said: "When I wrote What Are You Like?, someone said disapprovingly to me, 'Do you realise there is sex on every page?' Well, good. I hope I'm not moral as a writer." This was not always the case. At school, in Canada, the 16-year-old Enright studied "La Belle Dame Sans Merci". "'She made moan,' said the teacher. 'Well, we know what that's about!' I was straight from convent school. Poetry and sex? I was outraged. I said: 'You've ruined Keats for me!'"

*Enright was born in Dublin in 1962, to civil servant parents, and educated in Dublin and Canada. She started writing fiction when she was given a typewriter for her 21st birthday, and studied on the prestigious creative writing course at the University of East Anglia, under Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter. But it was not until after a brief career in TV that she started writing in earnest. After working as an actor in the 1980s, she moved to the Irish channel RTE as a producer and director on the comedy show Nighthawks (on which Graham Norton made an early appearance). She left in 1994, after having a breakdown. "At the time, people said to me that I must be brave to leave," she says. "But I thought that a person would have to be much braver to stay. The place is an abattoir." She lives in County Wicklow with her husband Martin Murphy, an actor and director, and their two children.

*Before The Gathering, she had written three novels (The Wig My Father Wore, 1995; What Are You Like?, 2000; and The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch, 2002, which begins with the line: "Francisco Solano Lopez put his penis inside Eliza Lynch on a lovely spring day in Paris, in 1854"). Her non-fiction work, Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood (2004) was written while she was doing exactly that. Her short fiction collections are The Portable Virgin (1991); Taking Pictures (2008) and Yesterday's Weather (2009).

*Her fans include Colm Tóibín and Angela Carter.

*She says: "'How do you know when something is finished?' I am sometimes asked...For novels I say: 'When I have a little cry.'"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory