‘A sunny place for shady people’: Crime writer Liz Nugent on living in Monaco

Monte Carlo, where Liz Nugent spent the month of September 2016 as writer-in-residence at the Princess Grace Ireland Library. Photograph: iStock It sounds like an unlikely twist in an airport blockbuster: a best-selling author travels to Monaco to work on a novel set on the French Riviera only to be almost mown down by a Ferrari. But fact is stranger than fiction, and this is exactly what happened to an Irish crime-writing queen, Liz Nugent, when she accepted a bursary in one of the world richest countries, Monaco. “There’s extreme wealth,” says Nugent. “I stepped out on the road and a Ferrari nearly took the legs from under me.” The Riviera was described by W Somerset Maugham as a “sunny place for shady people”, and Monaco, a playground of the super-wealthy squeezed between Nice and the Italian border, is certainly a place of contradictions, which makes it fertile ground for a crime writer seeking inspiration. Courtesy of a bursary funded by the Irelands Fund Monaco, Nugent spent the month of September 2016 as writer-in-residence at the Princess Grace Ireland Library. There in her office, sitting beneath a Jack B Yeats original painting, windows thrown wide in the heat, Nugent worked on her third novel, Skin Deep. And boy did she work. READ MORE What I learned from working in RTÉ and elsewhere: It’s not conspiracy, it’s incompetence Colm Meaney: ‘We’ve got to get these f**kers out – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’ By the end of the month, she had written 30,000 words, one third of a novel that would go on to become an instant best-seller upon publication. She makes the point that a lot of this material had to be rewritten, but still, she had never achieved this level of wordage before. How did Monaco induce such astonishing creativity? “When you’re awarded a bursary, it makes you work harder than you normally would,” she says. “I’m not going to waste any time when I’ve got that concentrated period of time.” The lifting of humdrum domestic duties also helps on these bursaries. “I don’t have to worry about […]

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