Proust Questionnaire 8: Sinéad Gleeson

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Sinéad Gleeson is a journalist and broadcaster who contributes to publications such as The Irish Times, and programmes such as RTÉ’s The Works. She interviews Caitlin Moran tonight at The Concert Hall (8pm).

What is your idea of happiness? 

No deadlines. A day spent with my children, and when they’re asleep: a book I’ve been saving, an open fire and a glass of wine.

What is your favourite virtue? 

Empathy – most of us are quick to judge without putting ourselves in other’s shoes.

What do you most value in your friends? 

Honesty.

What is your biggest weakness? 

Cake. And not saying no to things/my children/more cake.

What is your most marked characteristic? 

Past illnesses are wonderful for making a gal determined.

What is your idea of misery? 

Living in a worse climate than the one Ireland already has. These six-month winters are killing me.

Who are your favourite artists? 

Edward Munch, Frida Kahlo, Alice Maher, Max Ernst and Marina Abramovic. I also adore Cindy Sherman’s photographs.

What is your favourite colour and flower? 

I always gravitate towards the angry sky end of the spectrum – blue, green, purple. Tulips, sweet pea, delphiniums.

What is your favourite bird? 

I’ve become fond of the magpies that squabble in the tree in my back garden.

Who are your favourite writers? 

Not all writers are good all of the time. Some consistent ones: Maeve Brennan, George Orwell, Flannery O’Connor, James Joyce, George Saunders.

Who are your favourite musicians?

A cruel, vast question: Kate Bush, Grizzly Bear, Nick Cave, St. Vincent, Steve Reich, Kraftwerk, The National.

Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in fiction? 

Most people despise her, but Emma Bovary fascinates me. John Self in Martin Amis’ Money. The female friends in Lorrie Moore’s Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Tank Girl.

Who are your favourite heroes and heroines in history? 

Joan of Arc. Countess Markievicz. Joan Jett. The Suffagettes.

What is your favourite food and drink? 

Who doesn’t like olives, fancy cheese and a nice Rioja? Also: Hendricks gin.

Which historical figures do you most dislike? 

The usual fascists dictator types. And whoever cancelled Top of the Pops.

What event in history do you most admire? 

The courage that Rosa Parks displayed in refusing to give up her seat on that bus is staggering.

What social movement do you most admire? 

It would have to be Feminism, which continues to strive for necessary equality.

What is your present state of mind? 

Tired but happy – and about to read some more James Salter, which is a good thing.

Which fault in others do you most easily tolerate? 

Lateness. Several of my best friends are a ridiculously unpunctual lot – but I still love them.

Which fault in yourself do you most easily tolerate? 

My ability to be easily distracted. I blame the internet.

(SK)

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