Elizabeth Reapy - Author
Mayo author, Elizabeth Reapy’s first novel ‘Red Dirt’ was the winner of this year’s Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. The novel tells the story of three young Irish people who emigrate to Australia, each hoping for redemption in the arid Australian landscape. Elizabeth talks to us about her time at UCC training to become a teacher and how it helped her pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
Course/subjects studied in UCC
Postgraduate Diploma in Education (English and History) 2006/2007.
Best memory of UCC
I had a lot of fun in Cork, I loved the friendliness of the people and the liveliness of the city. I've fond memories of living in The Spires student accommodation. For the Dip., we’d teach in the mornings then we’d get back from school, eat something quick whilst watching the lunchtime Home and Away and leg it down to the University for afternoon lectures.
How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
I learned invaluable organisational and time management skills. Self-reflection was an integral part of teacher training and I have carried this into my writing practice. Though I left secondary school teaching to pursue my writing dream, I now teach writing quite a bit - giving workshops or lectures and mentoring groups. The Dip. gave me a very steady foundation for this.
What is your advice to current UCC students?
Work hard, be kind, train yourself to see the opportunity in everything.
What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
My mentor was Brian Mulcahy. He said that my teaching portfolio was an entertaining read, showed good observational skills and storytelling techniques. He’d ask me to include more educational theory alongside my depictions of the classroom and its characters, but he often encouraged my creative writing with his comments.
Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
No, I was never confident enough when I was younger to participate in socs or clubs - the irony being that some of this confidence I lacked would have probably come with leaving my comfort zone and getting involved in them.
Favourite UCC legend or superstition
Not a myth or superstition but I found it interesting to discover there’s a crater on the moon named after George Boole.