Fionnuala Kenny adds Oh La La to French-themed book launch

Julia Stagg.

Julia Stagg.

A debut novel by the daughter of a Mayo man will be launched in Castlebar this month by Fionnuala Kenny, wife of the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

Julia Stagg, whose father Mícheál is from Hollymount, will celebrate the publication of her first novel, L’Auberge, with a French-themed evening at the County Library in Castlebar on Tuesday June 14 from 8pm.

And introducing the event will be Mrs Kenny, who enjoyed L’Auberge so much, she agreed to participate.

“It’s amazing,” said Julia. “I thought my parents were just arranging an informal event to mark publication. But suddenly it’s taken on a whole new dimension.”

Although the book, L’Auberge, has a French title and is centred around a small village in the French Pyrenees, Julia insists that it has relevance to anyone living in a small community.

“Basically it’s about local politics and the intrigue and deception that arise from outsiders entering a community which is initially hostile to their presence. It could be based in any rural setting.”

The idea for L’Auberge, which is French for a small hotel, arose from Julia’s own experiences. She spent six years in the Pyrenees running an auberge with her husband and although the characters in the novel are purely fictional, the setting is very much the area in which she lived.

“I was lucky in that the dramatic landscape that surrounded us became another character in the book. And my French neighbours can’t wait for the French translation so they can try and identify each other!”

It is a warm-hearted comedy, and Julia has high hopes that L’Auberge will prove an ideal summer read. It has already generated a great deal of interest across Europe with translation deals having been signed in many countries.

The launch is being supported by Castle Book Shop, Castlebar and also by the County Library. And in true French fashion, wine and refreshments will be provided on the night. All are welcome.

For more details, contact Castle Book Shop on 094 902 422.

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