Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Feature -

EN­TER: I’m a judge for Cork Si­mon’s Young Writer’s Awards, where stu­dents are in­vited to com­pose a 500-800 word es­say, short story, or poem about the home­less­ness and hous­ing cri­sis. See cork­si­mon.ie/young­writ­er­sawards for more de­tails.

READ: Some­thing in the Wa­ter by Cather­ine Stead­man. Cho­sen by Reece With­er­spoon for her book club, this is a grip­ping psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller. they hear you talk about di­ets and fat­ness and weight and how much celebri­ties re­ally weigh and how Mary next door has re­ally let her­self go, has she no self-re­spect? Or when you tell girls to smile as you pass them on the street, when you touch their bod­ies without con­sent, when you roll down your car win­dow and shout ‘nice tits’ at some­one who just wants to go about her day without be­ing re­minded that her body is pub­lic prop­erty.

You’re mak­ing them afraid. To­day, I stood in front of a mir­ror, try­ing on a dress. I re­alised that it had been a while since I had looked at my­self, and I won­dered what I was hid­ing from. I don’t hate my body to­day. I can see how healthy it is, how much en­ergy I have. It is a tool that al­lows me to run and swim and dance and play. I am grate­ful to it for work­ing so hard to keep me alive. I don’t hate my body but I don’t love it ei­ther.

Not yet. But I’m try­ing.

Louise O’ Neill is the author of Only Ever Yours, Ask­ing For It, Al­most Love, and The Sur­face Breaks

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