Kate Thompson


Life
b. 23 July [?1956]; ed. TCD, grad. French & English; acted TCD Players with Malcolm Douglas, et al.; played alongside Liam Neeson on BBC series; m. Malcolm Douglas; dg. Clara, b. 1987; awarded Best Actress Award at Dublin Th. Fest., 1989; played part in Glenroe (Telefís Eireann) for nine years; encouraged to write by Deirdre Purcell; issued It Means Mischief (1998), a first novel dealing with Irish theatrical life, published by New Island Books;
 
issued More Mischief (1999), concerning soap star Deirdre O’Dare, unfaithful Roy and landed-gent Gabriel; issued Going Down (2001); The Blue Hour (2002), shortlisted for Parker Romantic Novel of the Yearm 2003; Striking Poses (2003), set in the Irish fashion world; A Perfect Life (April 2004), and Living the Dream (Oct. 2004); has appeared on “The View”, John Kelly’s RTÉ arts review programme, in early 2005; issued Love Lies Bleeding (2008), her ninth novel; has also published as Pixie Pirelli (Hard to Choos, 2006); not to be confused with namesake author of Thin Air and other children’s fiction; That Gallagher Girl (2010), centres on the unlikely friendship of the title-character, who squats in an empty West-of-Ireland villa only to be confronted by the owner Rio Kinsella, when the latter - a woman with a troubled past - turns up unexpectedly; set in the fictional town of Lissamore.

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Works
Fiction , It Means Mischief (Dublin: New Island Books 1998), 489pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] (Dublin: New Island 2003), 450pp.; More Mischief (Dublin: New Island 1999; Bantam 2000), 492pp.; Going Down (London: Bantam 2001), 476pp.; The Blue Hour (London: Bantam 2002), 557pp.; Striking Poses (London: Bantam 2003), 463pp.; A Perfect Life (London: Bantam 2004), 409pp.; Love Lies Bleeding (Dublin: New Island Press 2008), 302pp.; The Kinsella Sisters ([London:] AvonCollins 2009); The O’Hara Affair (AvonCollins 2009), q.pp.; That Gallagher Girl (Avon 2010), 400pp.

[as Pixie Pirelli,] Hard to Choos (Dublin: New Island Press 2006), 354pp. [t.p. “A Kate Thompson novel”; ‘Choos’ sic.];

Filmography, Criminal Conversation (1980), dir. Kieran Hickey, script by Hickey & Philip Davison, with Emmet Bergin, et al.; Attracta (1983), dir. Kieran Hickey, based on William Trevor’s novel; Glenroe [RTE series] , 1983-2001, with Mick Lally and others, appearing as char. Terry Killeen.

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Criticism
Books Ireland [notice] (Sept. 1999); interview (Nov. 2004) [infra]

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Commentary
[Shirley Kelly,] interview, Books Ireland (Nov. 2004): Studied French and English, TCD; played alongside Liam Neeson on BBC series; m. Malcolm Douglas; dg. Clara, b. 1987; endured 'two and a half years of grinding poverty’; Best Actress Award at Dublin Th. Fest., 1989; part in Glenroe, played for nine years; mentored by Deirdre Purcell; first novel, It Means Mischief (New Island 1997); followed by seven novels; plans novel based on collection of her grandmother’s letters, one of the first Cambridge women-graduates, 1919, and a 'great bohemian’. Quotes Thompson: 'This distinction between so-called chic-fic and serious literature is something I feel strongly about. Chic-fic [chick-lit] is a derogatory term invented by men to denigrate women’s writing. The books I like to read are books that help me escape from the vicissitudes of the real world, and I hope that’s what I achieve in my own writing.’

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Claire Looby, review of The O'Hara Affair, in The Irish Times (27 Feb. 2010), Weekend, p.13 [Paperbacks notices]: Hollywood comes to Lissamore to make a film about Scarlett O’Hara’s ancestry (of Gone with the Wind fame). ‘There is already so much intrigue in the seaside village that the locals are practically tripping over it, but with the film's star being Shane Byrne, local lad turned international movie star, they're spoiled for choice. The frivolous story appears to have been savagely attacked by a rampant Thesaurus and is further weighed down by twin albatrosses. The first is boutique owner Fleur’s sudden fascination for Facebook and Second Life and the injurious effects she fears they’re having on a young actress; she discovers that even vigorous “virtual sex” is certainly not worth the effort. The second is ex-super-estate agent Dervla's forced decision to take on the care of her mother- in-law, who has dementia. These threads are too heavy for the storyline to carry and their neat conclusions are the best way to dispense with them. Just like in the movies, though, almost everyone gets a happy ending.’

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Reference
Kate Thompson’s webpages ...

It’s Hard to Choose (2006): ‘a Kate Thompson novel ... where she discovers that it’s wickedly hard to choose between love, sex and friendship ...’; Even with her bra on, even after the Dutch courage instilled in her by the Sancerre, Charlotte couldn’t help feeling a [...]’ (Note: Choos spelt sic.)

Kate Thompson interviews Pixie Pirelli’ [online]. The page shows facing reverse portraits of KT/PP, identically dressed with remodelled - younger - face and hair - darker - for the latter: ‘I arrange to meet Ms Pirelli in the luxurious drawing room of the Hamilton Hotel. When I arrive (five minutes early), she is already there, sitting in the embrace of a massive sofa, looking uncannily as she does in the photographs on her website - her pretty face a tabula rasa [...]’. KT declares that Deirdre Purcell was her mentor while Pixie's is Lorraine Lavelle. Both writers declare that Coco de Mer lingerie in Covent Garden is their favourite shop. (Accessed 14.09.2008.)

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Notes
Living the Dream (Bantam 2004), with Cleo, a former bookseller as main character; brings back the characters of Dannie Moore from A Perfect Life and Deirdre O’Dare from the Mischief books.

Love Lies Bleeding (2008), centres on three women, Deirdre, Madeleine and Dannie, each going through some a crisis when the mysterious Corinna turns their world upside down as she impacts on the three women’s lives. Before they find out who she really is, what she wants, and how they can get their lives back on track, they must pursue a plot line that reels between Los Angeles, Dublin and Languedoc in a story that explores love, friendship and loyalty. (See Books Ireland, Sept. 2008, p.199.)

The Kinsella Sisters (2009): Rio Kinsella and her sister Dervla, the first free-spirited and the second locked into a businesswoman's life in Dublin, have a long-stranding feud but are reunited after the death of their wayward father when the discover an intriguing secret on clearing out the family home. (Derived from kate Thompson website [online; 20.06.2009].

Malcolm Douglas played the boyfriend in Educating Rita (1993), with Michael Caine, Julie Walters (Rita), and Michael Williams - filmed at Trinity College, Dublin where Caine played a 'don'. The play and playscript are by Willy Russell.

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