Dawn O Porter was in conversation with Roisin Ingle on Saturday at Smock Alley Theatre. Róisín Ingle is a features writer for The Irish Times whose column in the Saturday Magazine is required reading at weekends. She has also written a mini-memoir, Pieces of Me. Dawn is warm, witty, thoroughly engaging and stunning. Married to Chris O Dowd, she has an affinity with the Irish and some of his cousins were in the audience.
She was there to talk about her new book, Paper Aeroplanes, a painfully honest coming of age story and a touching tribute to the power of female friendship. The two characters are Flo who is thoughtful and introverted and Renée who is quite the opposite. Dawn named them after her grandmother who was called Florence and had an affair during the war where she was known as Renee. She said the book helped her come to terms with the death of her mother who died when she was younger. Herself and her sister lived with their grandparents in Guernsey until a bohemian aunt and uncle took them in when her sister reached puberty.
Dawn is very honest and open and thoroughly like she is on twitter talking openly about all aspects of her life. She spoke of her love of crisps, her career, meeting the love of her life, becoming the face of bumwipes and dealing with the red carpet. When she met Chris on her 30th birthday, she was at her lowest ebb professionally speaking with no job and a decreasing bank balance. She spoke honestly about how bumwipes gave her financial security and independence to write the book. Although she did turn down 1.5 million to be the face of bumwipes in America. She has a two-book deal and the manuscript for her next book, to be called Goose, is due in July. They opened the floor to questions before finishing with a book signing over in the Gutter Bookshop.
The Dublin Writers Festival is a brilliantly organised event with fabulous authors and interesting interviews with this years theme inviting the audience to ‘Be part of the story’. I’ll be back next year for sure.