Featured Readers

Each month we sit down for a chat with a ‘Featured Reader’, to find out about their favourite books of all time, their literary preferences, recommendations, revered authors, & the likes...

This Month

Emilie Pine

Emilie Pine

I always read and read and read, whenever and whatever I could. I would read anything ...

Emilie Pine, Author and Associate Professor

Emilie -Tell us a bit about yourself - where were you born? What memories do you have of the neighbourhood you lived in growing up?

I grew up in Dublin 8. My local libraries were in Kevin Street and Rathmines and I remember so clearly our weekly visits – the children’s section used to be upstairs in Rathmines and it was a real treat to graduate through the sections! Nearby was the swimming pool, and there was Harolds Cross park too, so between them, they filled my childhood days very happily.

What is your earliest memory of reading? Do you have a favourite book or author from childhood?

I always read and read and read, whenever and whatever I could. I would read anything from adventure stories for boys to the chalet school books to the children’s bible. My mum would buy boxes of books, where you didn’t know the contents, they were a jumble. I discovered Little Women and What Katy Did in these second-hand copies. I also had a grandfather who gave me books all the time, and from him I got historical fiction for children by Rosemary Sutcliff and Penelope Lively, and, my favourite, The Borrowers series by Mary Norton.

Did you use your local library as a child ? Do you have a favourite library now or from your past?

I still love Rathmines Library, and the newly restored Kevin Street library. My local library where I live now is Terenure and I use it a lot! I really missed it during the lockdown. I think it’s incredible that you can order in books from any library in Ireland, it’s such a wonderful resource.

Is there a book you think every child should have on their shelf?

I like the idea that children will find their own way to the books that will shape their lives.

Which of your books is battered and worn from using over and over again? (This can be any type of book e.g. novel, dictionary, cookery, travel, etc. )

All of them! I tend to read and eat and drink at the same time, books are creased and pages bent over. My cookbooks are particularly spattered with drips, and also notes on ingredients and timings. Any time I make a new recipe, I write the date at the top.

What are you reading right now?

I’m joyfully making my way through Shirley Hazzard’s fiction – I read and loved The Great Fire in 2005, but am only now reading her earlier works. The Transit of Venus was a real treat to read recently, and I have The Bay of Noon on my library request list.

Is there a book that opened up another culture to you?

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

You have written three books now that explore memory, from the political to the highly personal - what is it about how we remember both as individuals and collectively that interests and excites you?

How we remember ourselves and others, and how we are remembered, is such a big part of who we are, and how we make ourselves. In my family, we tell the same stories over and over, like a ritual of togetherness. It almost doesn't matter anymore exactly what happened or who said what, as long as we're together when we tell them. And you can see the same thing on a large scale, during national commemorations. The way memory can bring us together is something we celebrate through these moments.

But the opposite can be distressing - the way certain memories are unspeakable, or the way groups use memory to exclude others, to announce that 'you don't belong'. So I think it's an important job to look at memory, both happy and painful, and consider what kinds of stories are being told, by whom, and why.

Would you like to share a memory from your residency in the National Maternity Hospital?

I did some creative writing workshops with staff in the hospital, because everyone has a story and though they may not want or need to publish it, I think writing should be something everyone has the confidence and space to do.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.

One of my favourite experiences is the moment when the lights go down in a theatre before the performance. It’s full of anticipation.


The Books

We have been finding out about the books that matter to you, to grow this virtual bookshelf that represents the lives, families and culture of the people that call Dublin home. Here are a selection of some of the books that you have been telling us …

Share Your Favourites?

We want to hear about the books that matter to you. Tell us about your most cherished books, what you’re reading right now, your favourite book from your childhood, and the books that make up the story of your life. Share your recommended reads and take part here

Take Part

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