Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Meet Gail Honeyman
in conversation with Eithne Shortall
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is an extraordinary and unusual debut that perfectly depicts the loneliness of life in a big city and the simple power of a little kindness, through the endearing and inimitable Eleanor. She has learnt to survive – but not how to live…She leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Meet the author of this stunning debut novel in conversation with Eithne Shortall before it finds its way on to the big screen.
Gail Honeyman wrote her debut at same time as holding down a full-time job, fitting writing into early mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays. While it was still a work-in-progress, she won the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award, which included a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre - an opportunity to spend uninterrupted time working on the book. Gail was also shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the Bridport Prize and longlisted for BBC Radio 4's Opening Lines. She lives in Glasgow.
GAIL ON WRITING ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE: There were two main ideas behind Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: the first was sparked by a newspaper feature about loneliness. One of the interviewees was an ordinary woman in her late 20s, with a job and a flat in the city, who said that, unless she made a special effort to arrange something in advance, she’d often – and not by choice - spend entire weekends without seeing or speaking to another human being. I started to wonder about how such a situation could come about, and about how devastating the consequences of such loneliness and isolation could potentially be, particularly for a relatively young person living alone in a big city.
Eithne Shortall is chief arts writer with The Sunday Times Ireland.