How to pronounce Darragh McKeon: Da-ra McKeon
Born in 1979, Darragh McKeon grew up in Ireland and spent most of his twenties as a theatre director. He has worked in many reputable venues such as The Royal Court (London), The Young Vic (London) and Steppenwolf (Chicago) as well as many disreputable venues, including a derelict bakery, a metro carriage and a slaughterhouse. His writing has been shortlisted for the Francis MacManus Short Story Award and the Filmbase/RTE Short Film Award. All that is Solid Melts into Air is his first novel.
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Darragh McKeon discusses his novel, All That Is Solid Melts into Air
What inspired you to write a novel set around the Chernobyl disaster of 1986?
I was 10 years old when the Berlin Wall came down and I was really intrigued by the imagery and language surrounding that event. 'The Iron Curtain' is a very evocative phrase for a kid. I can remember imagining that half of Europe was literally partitioned by a chain-link curtain. It all kept becoming more absorbing: the Velvet Revolution. The Eastern Bloc. Star Wars (the military space programme, not the George Lucas cash cow). A neighbour named his cats after the Communist Party policies Glasnost and Perestroika. The Soviet Union became a place of fascination for me.
A few years later, children from the regions surrounding Chernobyl came to stay in my hometown for the summer, hosted by local families. Until then my only knowledge of the disaster was the images that have become so familiar, of infants with shocking physical abnormalities. But here were teenagers my own age who appeared to be in full health. You would see them in shops, staring at the goods on the shelves. The dentists in the area would take care of their teeth. There were a few cringingly awkward ...
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