Naoise Dolan: 'I'm not good at presenting myself as likable'

The young Irish writer, who has won acclaim for her debut novel, on writing in a time of crisis and finding comfort in small routines It’s the author’s equivalent of the no-trousers-in-class nightmare: your first book is finally published but almost every bookshop across the world is closed. With the outbreak of coronavirus, this once unimaginable vision is now reality for hundreds of writers who have been cruelly caught out – a book newly published and no shelf to put it on. Naoise Dolan is one such author. We were supposed to meet in a London cafe in mid-March, but events intervened and our cosy meeting was hurriedly changed – to a socially distant interview across two park benches, then a very socially distant chat on Skype. The 27-year-old Dubliner, who is here to promote her novel, Exciting Times , groans: “I just did a bunch of interviews in Ireland and now I know every single one is going to start: ‘I met Naoise Dolan in simpler times, in a simple cafe, as she sipped her simple flat white and simply