August 9, 2015

The Weight of Words

A much loved friend of mine died earlier this year. She had cancer, but, even so, her death came as a shock. Once, I might have phoned my friends and…

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December 11, 2014

Family Secrets, Christmas Letters, and Hello From The Gillespies

Years ago, a young Monica McInerney was working as a publicist on a book tour for Roald Dahl, a year before he died. She was in a hall filled with…

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December 9, 2014

How I learnt to love the chaos of Christmas

Last night I dreamed it was Christmas morning. Outside, the snow lay thick and soft. Inside, the fire burned in the grate. I stood in front of the Christmas tree,…

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November 30, 2014

In Defence of Christmas Letters

I was ten when I first read a Christmas round-robin letter. My eyes widened at the writer’s account of her family’s exam successes, sporting triumphs, job promotions and exotic holidays….

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November 9, 2014

A Conversation with Monica McInerney

(Questions by Ellen Edwards, my editor at Penguin Random House in New York.) Hello from the Gillespies begins with a Christmas letter gone awry—how did this irresistible premise inspire the…

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March 17, 2013

The Real-Life Railway Children

‘They were not railway children to begin with,’ starts Edith Nesbit’s classic The Railway Children. Not in our case  – we seven McInerneys were always railway children, our father the…

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March 17, 2013

Teenage Angst

‘I’m on canteen duty next week.’ My Mum said it so casually, but the words struck fear into my heart. I was 14 years old, at high school in rural…

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November 17, 2012

The Statues of Dublin

In the centre of O’Connell Street in Dublin there’s a statue of the man who used to own the vegetable shop in my childhood hometown in Australia. On North Earl…

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March 17, 2012

Sweet Charity: Behind the Scenes in Charity Shops

My name is Monica McInerney and I am an addict. My drug of choice? Charity shops. As I push open the door, my fingers start to tingle. My eyes start…

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November 17, 2011

The Technological Times are A-Changing

I have a confession to make. At 46 years of age, I’m behind the technological times – not with the younger generation, but the older. I use a bulky desk…

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