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