Irish writer Nuala O’Connor’s brand new novel, ‘Becoming Belle’, is a witty and inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, based on a true story of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time in Victorian London. Here are a few of her favourite things…

Café

The Lighthouse Café on Abbeygate Street. As a non-meat eater, this place is a gem. The food is always fresh and tasty, and the service is so friendly. I love going there when I’m in town.

Way to Spend the Weekend

Architecture

I’m obsessed with houses. My idea of weekend fun is to visit houses of historical interest, to wander their rooms and grounds and imagine the lives of the people who lived in them long ago.

Colour

Blue – I’m so committed to blue. My crockery, my sofa, the glass vases and paperweights I collect are all various shades of it. I find it soothing and exciting. It is just the perfect colour.

Festival

Cuirt

The Cúirt International Festival of Literature just lights up Galway when it’s on. Always a brilliant mix of international and Irish writers, lively panels and great readings.

Place to Reflect

I recently had a writing cabin built in my garden and it’s my haven, an oasis of calm. I write there and I also think and dream there. I love it.

Musician

Rufus Wainwright

I’m a big Rufus Wainwright fan, I’ve been following him for years. I love his poetry, his emotion, and his genius in his songs. His sister Martha is another music crush. I always catch their gigs in Ireland and I have travelled to the UK, Canada and the US to see them too.

Animal

We’re the new owners of an adorable rescue dog called Staffie who has turned our house into a disaster zone. But one of my cats is my true pet love. Another rescue, she’s a one-eyed, black and white called Nora Barnacle. She’s affectionate and funny. We all love her.

Comfort Food

I love a good veggie curry and my husband, who is vegan, makes a variety of great ones. He’s a slow, contemplative cook, whereas I’m always in a hurry.

Outdoor Activity

Nature

I was much more outdoorsy as a child. I grew up in a rural part of Dublin, by the River Liffey and I was a scout too. Nowadays I love a long walk in woods or by the sea in Connemara.

Way to Have a Laugh

Friends

The TV show Friends is still laugh-out-loud funny, even after many re-runs. What great writing they had on that show. I comfort watch it often to lift my mood.

Outfit

I’m very low maintenance during the week in my little writing cabin, usually leggings, a long tee and an enormous cardigan. But I love a posh night out and I wear one of the new midi-dresses, a vintage handbag and some Chupi or Alan Ardiff jewellery to feel good.

Becoming Belle

Becoming Belle by Nuala O’Connor is published by Piatkus and is out now in trade paperback, €16.99

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