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Writer Presents: Claire-Louise Bennett

Writer Presents

72'14"

“Get on with what? Get on with getting a job and a house and a husband and all the rest of it and I just didn’t want to. I wasn’t interested – or able for any of that at all…. But I couldn’t see any alternatives, I just couldn’t see any way around it, so I thought I’ve got to get out of here, and so I came to Ireland. So many Irish people have gone to England to get work and I came to Ireland to get away from it.” – Claire-Louise Bennett

RadioMoLI’s Writer Presents series invites writers to produce a radio programme focussing on and exploring a chosen subject that is close to their heart. In the first episode of Writer Presents, Claire-Louise Bennett looks at three writers that have inspired her own work: Danish writer Tove Ditlevsen, English writer Ann Quin, and French writer Annie Ernaux. 

Through interviews with novelist Dorthe Nors, writer and critic Jennifer Hodgson, literary agent Laurence Laluyaux and novelist Deborah Levy, Bennett teases out some of the challenges faced by these three writers, while reflecting on her own experiences as a woman and a writer from a working-class background. This episode of Writer Presents features a rare recording of Ann Quin reading her own work, and an extract of Bennett’s new novel, Checkout 19.

“Reading their books gave me the courage to spend time with all those conflicting feelings that being reacquainted with my long-lost, working-class self, stirred up, and has provided me with the intellectual space to properly think through the relationship between class and writing and womanhood,” says Bennett about Ditlvesen, Quin and Ernaux.

Claire-Louise Bennett grew up in Wiltshire and studied literature and drama at the University of Roehampton, before moving to Ireland where she worked in and studied theatre for several years. In 2013 she was awarded the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize and went on to complete her debut book, Pond, which was published by The Stinging Fly in Ireland, Fitzcarraldo Editions (in the UK) in 2015, and by Riverhead (in the United States) in 2016. Pond was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2016. Claire-Louise Bennett’s new novel, Checkout 19 will be published by Jonathan Cape in August 2021.

Writer Presents is produced with the support of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

Written and presented by Claire-Louise Bennett
Produced by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Additional Production by Laura Harvey-Graham, Katie Mishler and Ian Dunphy
Edited and Mixed by Ian Dunphy and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Music composed by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Music performed by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Nathan Sherman

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