A LOCAL writer has been shortlisted in a prestigious literary competition with her first ever work of fiction.
The Science of Falling is a beautifully crafted evocative short story which was published in last Saturday’s Irish Independent and has been shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Awards.
“It is my first published piece of fiction. Never before did I put anything out in this kind of arena. It was the first time I sent anything off,” said Helen Murray who is a former reporter with the Kilkenny People and also completed a certificate in Creative Writing with NUI Maynooth last year.
“I started writing a novel years ago and did the course with Gerry Moran back in 2005 who was very encouraging,” she said.
Helen spent a number of years living in Birmingham and when she returned she completed a diploma in Journalism and Public Relations.
“I had a couple of pieces picked up by the County section of the Irish Examiner and I did some writing for the travel section of the Irish Examiner. I worked as a reporter for the Avondhu newspaper for a end and also spent some time working as a journalist with the Kilkenny People.
“During this time I continued to work on my novel and met up with the people who did the writing course with Gerry Moran on a regular basis. One of the people involved in that group, Gerry Moran put me in contact with John McKenna who is involved with the Creative Writing course with NUI Maynooth. I met him and showed him some of my work and he encouraged and mentored me and I eventually got the money together and did the course.
Helen admits that as a mother-of-three it is hard to find the time to write and to put ‘bread and butter’ on the table. “It can be a difficult balancing act but it is immensely gratifying,” she said.
She explained that The Science of Falling, her first published work of fiction is about the impact of relationships. “It is about how another person’s actions can have an impact in your thinking and the impact on you if you are complicit with someone’s elses wrongdoing. If you lie there and take abuse it will continue but if you buck against it it can have far reaching consequences. As a writer you draw a lot from your own experiences and a lot of the characters I suppose are based on people you would know. Saying that often when you sit down to write you are surprised as what comes out is completely different. To have been picked is a phenomenal honour,” she added.