Her Academy Street (the 2014 winner of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards – Eason Novel of the Year) is the Irish Times Book Club‘s latest selection, and at 7:30 tonight, in the latest stop of her U.S. book tour (which included an event this past Sunday in Washington D.C. at Solas Nua), Mary Costello comes to NYC to the Irish Arts Center for a reading and discussion of the novel, set here in New York as well as in Ireland.
In this story in the Irish Times, Mary Costello discusses what prompted her to write Academy Street and the inspiration she took from walking around Inwood, on the same streets of what was her Aunt Carmel’s neighborhood in the early ’60s. The article includes several family photos from the actual Academy Street and the area.
Like Costello’s Aunt Carmel, my mother came here (in 1955), sailing up the Hudson River on a sweltering July day, and docking at Pier 90 (Manhattan Terminal). Whenever I pass the west side piers and I look at the Manhattan skyline, I imagine what butterflies my mother must have felt, traveling on her own (much like Colm Tóibín’s Eilis in his novel Brooklyn) to a country where the only family she had was an uncle 3,000 miles away on the west coast.