Five Questions with... Cethan Leahy

25 Sep, 2018

Five Questions with... Cethan Leahy

Young Adult author Cethan Leahy is a writer, filmmaker, and editor of Irish literary magazine 'The Penny Dreadful'. His short stories are published in 'The Looking Glass,' 'Wordlegs' and 'Five Dials' and he has written two Fiction Express eBooks for Middle Grade, 'The Chosen One (and his mum and his dad and his sister)' and 'Prince Charming and his Quest for a Wife'.

Cethan's animation short 'The Beast of Bath' was broadcast on national television. His short film 'The Amazing' appeared in Cork film anthology 'Cork, Like' in 2013. His radio programmes, including children's drama 'Tales from the Fairy Fort', have appeared on national radio. He has also contributed illustration work to Cork comics press Turncoat Press.

What attracted you to writing for young adults?

Being a teenager is a time where you are figuring out what you like and don’t like so there is never a time you are more open minded to new books, movies and music. It’s an exciting audience to write for and it’s reflected in the best writing in YA – a melting pot of experimentation, stories, genre hopping and real emotional stakes.

What Young Adult novel should we all be reading right now?

Telling the story of a quizshow obsessed son and his difficult mother, No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen is a brilliant look at the “hidden homeless”, people who aren’t living on the streets but are struggling to get by in stolen vans or floors of friends. It’s funny, sharp and heartwarming. Though it’s set in Canada, its dire situation is surely replicated many times in Ireland today.

Given the narrator of Tuesdays, what’s your favourite ghost story?

I like literally every ghost story, from M.R. James to someone at a party remembering that time in a spooky B&B. For the purposes of this interview though, I would like to highlight one in a Point Horror anthology called “Something to Read” by Philip Pullman (Yes, that one). It tells the story of a bookish girl stranded at a school dance when she would rather be reading her favourite book series in the library, then things go wrong and supernatural as they often do in Point Horror. The main character is delightfully unlikeable and the twist ending is so mean it still makes me laugh.

What was the last book you read and loved?

Not YA, but I loved The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova, a collection of weird and unsettling stories set in worlds that feel like they were woven together by spiders and eyelashes.

Tell us something nobody knows about Tuesdays are Just as Bad.

In the book, there are a couple of short stories written by Adam and Aoife. Most were written for the book but one of them is based on something I wrote when I was a teenager. I’m not saying which one though...

Cethan Leahy visits the Red Line Book Festival for Schools programme on Wed 10 Oct to discuss his novel Tuesdays are Just as Bad; a witty debut novel dealing with weighty issues, such as depression and teenage suicide.

For bookings please see: