Great Writers, Great Readers: Belinda McKeon

Every semester, my school has a program called “Great Writers, Great Readers.” Essentially this is a series of readings and discussions for students to attend. This month, the guest author was Belinda McKeon.

As we listened to Belinda read from her second novel, “Tender,” I could not help but think of words like mesmerizing, eloquent, and illuminating. To be honest with you, I hadn’t read Belinda’s work before I went to this reading. My professor, Dr. Murphy was at the forefront of this event, and so I decided to attend. Belinda is from County Longford and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. She said that she doesn’t have any particular attachment to County Longford, but it is quiet and has an understated beauty, which is alluded to in “Solace.” Belinda read from a manuscript, and later answered questions of students. I found the question and answer sessions much more interesting than I had originally anticipated.

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There were questions concerning her first novel, “Solace,” her writing process, personal taste in literature, the Abbey Theater, and teaching. Her answers were genuine, making it enjoyable to ask her real questions. Regarding her writing process, she said it is helpful to be able to take a break, to take a walk. Writing every day is for the best, otherwise you lose momentum. She said that “morning pages” was a helpful practice. It’s essentially free writing, in the morning. Writing makes you a better writer. She said at one point, “it really is just about doing it” (Field Notes). Listening to Belinda speak about writing gave me a greater insight to the writing process as a whole.

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I ended up buying a copy of her first novel, “Solace.” She signed it. I came back from this event feeling refreshed. I tend to forget why I read, why I write, and what my next step should be. I’ve written about it here and here. I came out of this event more conscious of writing as a skill, and more conscious of my professors’ confidence in me.

Also, did you know that literary/creative nonfiction is a thing?

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