Moya Roddy spent two-years painting in Italy before moving to London where she trained as a television director. Her screenplays have been optioned in the US and she’s worked for Channel 4, BBC, Scottish Television and RTÉ. Her novel The Long Way Home (Attic Press) was described in the Irish Times as “simply brilliant”. Her collection of short stories Other People (Wordsonthestreet) was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She was awarded an MA in Writing (Hons First Class) from NUIG in 2008. Her poetry was shortlisted for the Hennessy Award and her debut collection Out of the Ordinary was shortlisted for the Strong Shine Award in 2018. She also facilitates meditation at Brigit’s Garden.
A Wiser Girl A novel by Moya Roddy 262pp, €14.00, ISBN 9781907017599
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It’s 1975 and Jo Nowd is escaping to Italy with a suitcase full of paints and a broken heart. Working-class, feisty and sometimes inarticulate, she entertains wild dreams of becoming a great artist and a woman of the world, showing people back home, especially ex-flame Eamonn, exactly what she’s capable of.
Jo’s soul yearns for something deeper and her passionate love for the medieval art of Sienna leads her on a journey of discovery and a year of unexpected revelations.
Deceptively simple, yet profound and funny, a wiser girl is an original and fascinating read.
‘Dubliner Jo Nowd leaps off the page. Irreverent, incorrigible, intense, she plunges into a new life in Italy with a newly broken heart. But don’t be fooled by Moya Roddy’s breezy style or mistake a wiser girl for just another coming-of-age story. Through Jo’s journey from sitting for an artist to becoming one, Moya Roddy delves into life’s great paradoxes – body versus soul, art versus action, sex versus love, happiness versus authenticity. Her writing is full of verve, wit and compassion. This is Normal People for a different generation.’
Mary Morrissy author of Prosperity Drive
‘a wiser girl, delivered with sparkling humour by Moya Roddy, is the story of heartbroken, Irish would-be artist Jo, who hurtles headlong into the sensual delights of Italy as she tries to find new, better ways to be in the world. A funny, fast-paced delight.’
Nuala O’Connor, author of Becoming Belle
Dumping Jo at the side of a dual carriageway, the autobus disappears in a cloud of diesel. Ugly tower-blocks elbow each other for room. So much for the luxurious palazzos she’d passed on the way! With a screech of tyres, a low-slung E-type hurtles past, horn blaring. Madman! Jo swears, watching the car overtake a snarl of traffic, a second lunatic on its bumper, the sun sparking off the gleaming metal.
Picking up her suitcase, she looks up and down the street, not sure which way to go; is relieved to see a guy in singlet and shorts with a row of corks swinging from the brim of his cowboy hat ambling towards her. Beggars can’t be choosers, Jo thinks, plonking herself in his path, her lack of Italian sticking in her throat like a gobstopper.
‘Excuse me, do you know where this is?’ She enunciates each word, holding out a piece of crumpled paper with the address of the hostel in block capitals.
‘Relax, I can speak English. It’s round the next corner, far end of the block. Follow me.’ His accent sounds as if someone’s squashed it.
‘Are you staying there?’ Jo asks, hurrying to keep up, the case banging off her leg; her attention side-tracked by a waterfall of creamy-white flowers cascading all the way to the ground from a third story balcony.
‘You should get yourself a haversack if you’re travelling. It’s less hassle.’
‘I’m not. I’ve got a job as an au-pair.’
‘Cool. The name’s Kevin, from Oz if you haven’t guessed.’