On a February evening, just over three years ago, I was happily procrastinating on Twitter when I came across a post by a paediatric palliative care doctor. Here, he had listed what his young patients said they would miss the most when they died. It was an incredibly powerful and moving Tweet, and after reading, I immediately opened up the laptop and wrote the first chapter of Boys Don’t Cry, which has remained virtually unchanged from then till now.
Although that Tweet sparked this story, the true inspiration lies in my Da, who called the inner city home, who attended, along with his brother, free music lessons in Parnell Square, set up by a man who believed that music should be accessible to all, who went to college in his thirties, with three young children at the time, to train as a music secondary school teacher, so that he could give the same opportunities to the young adults in his care that he himself was given, who believed without question that one person could make a difference, and that we should all at least try, who died on the 10th December 2020 at the age of just 66.
There is so much of my Da in Joe, he is woven through these pages, and it’s only really after he died, that I realised just how much.
Originally, this story was going to centre around Finn, and his Ma, Annie, but Joe just kept pushing through, wanting to be heard, and I’m so very grateful for his persistence. There is so much of my Da in Joe, he is woven through these pages, and it’s only really after he died, that I realised just how much. So even though all the excitement and joy surrounding this novel is incredibly bittersweet, making my Da’s absence all that more visible, I cannot think of a better tribute to him and his life.
Fíona Scarlett is from Dublin, but is now living in Co. Kildare with her husband and two children. She holds an MLitt in creative writing with distinction from the University of Glasgow, was awarded the Denis O’Driscoll Literary Bursary for an emerging writer through Kildare County Council 2019, and a Literature Bursary through the National Arts Council Ireland 2020. She works full time as a primary school teacher and her debut novel Boys Don’t Cry is be published by Faber & Faber this April 2021