25 November 2015

Author profile: Kate O’Riordan

Irish writer Kate O’Riordan's day job is as a writer and executive producer on the hit ITV/PBS show Mr Selfridge.

Her other screenwriting credits include The Return (2003), the Dublin-set drama starring Julie Walters as a former alcoholic returning home after 10 years in prison for killing her violent husband. The cast included Neil Dudgeon, Ger Ryan and Pauline McLynn.

O'Riordan also wrote the screenplay of The Kindness of Strangers (2006), starring Julie Graham, Hermione Norris and Neil Pearson.

Although many profiles list her birthplace as the west of Ireland, O'Riordan was born in London to Irish parents and grew up in Bantry, County Cork.

As a young adult she spent time in Canada and Los Angeles before settling in London, where she has been based for the past two decades. She switched from the travel business to journalism, and was an editorial assistant at the Guardian newspaper then deputy editor of the lifestyle section of Time Out magazine.

As a short story writer she won the Sunday Tribune Hennessy "Best Emerging Writer" award in 1991. She adapted her debut novel Involved (1995) for television in 1996. The political thriller was followed by four more novels in various genres: The Boy in the Moon (1997), The Angel in the House (2000), The Memory Stones (2004) and Loving Him (2005).

She also contributed to Finbar's Hotel (1999), a "co-operative" novel of seven linked stories, written by different Irish novelists but all set in the same hotel.

Her latest novel Penance is due out on 1 March 2016. The publishers describe it as a disturbing psychological thriller about sexual obsession, family secrets and betrayals:
When Rosalie Douglas and her teenage daughter Maddie meet charismatic young Jed at bereavement counselling, their lives are changed forever.

Jed moves into their home and a deadly and morally corrupt triangle begins to take shape.