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“Under the Skin of the Story”: An Interview with Lia Mills

Author(s): Luz Mar González-Arias

Journal: Estudios Irlandeses : Journal of Irish Studies
ISSN 1699-311X

Issue: 6;
Start page: 112;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Lia Mills | Irish fiction | Exile | Immigration | Sexual abuse | Illness | Memoir | Creative processes

Lia Mills is an Irish novelist, short-story writer and essayist born in Dublin. She has lived in London and in the USA, but in 1990 returned to her native city to stay and pursue a writing life. Her debut novel, Another Alice (Poolbeg, 1996), was an immediate success. Nominated for The Irish Times literary award, it develops, as Gerry Smyth has pointed out, “central concerns” of Irish fiction, such as “the family, madness, dreams, gender and nation – pulling them together into an ultimately enabling vision of the role of women in modern Ireland” (Smyth 1997: 93). Her diasporic experience somehow impinges on her second novel, Nothing Simple (Penguin Ireland, 2005), about the difficulties encountered by an Irish family on their arrival in North America and which was shortlisted for the “Irish Novel of the Year” at the inaugural Irish Book Awards. In 2006 Lia Mills was diagnosed with oral cancer. Her experiences during the treatment of this threatening illness are collected in her memoir, In Your Face (Penguin Ireland, 2007), critically acclaimed and described by Anne Enright as a life-changing book. Lia Mills is currently working on a historical novel and has published numerous short-stories and essays in literary journals like The Stinging Fly and The Dublin Review. She has lectured in University College Dublin and often facilitates creative writing workshops. Lia Mills’ varied literary production is a good example of the strength and energies of modern Irish fiction.
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