Boom time for Dervla McTiernan with big win and a film adaptation

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Chloe Hooper won the non-fiction award for The Arsonist, Bri Lee the best debut for her memoir, Eggshell Skull, Judith Rossell picked up the best children’s award for Wakestone Hall, Sarah Epstein the best YA award for Small Spaces, and Jane Harper the readers’ choice award for her third novel, The Lost Man.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan.Credit:

But the Davitt is not the only thing to celebrate for McTiernan, who migrated to Perth in 2011. Last week it was revealed that The Rúin was being developed for the big screen by Irish actor Colin Farrell and this Friday it is in contention for the Australian Crime Writers Association’s Ned Kelly Award for best first fiction. They do say good things come in threes.

“It’s been a crazy few years and a particularly big week this week, for sure. There is a lot of good stuff going on,” McTiernan said, adding she doesn’t expect to be involved in adapting her book for Farrell. “I kind of know how to write a novel, but screenwriting is a different challenge.”

She is thrilled that the actor and his sister Claudine have made it their first project for Chapel Place Productions.

“I feel it’s a real vote of confidence. Lee Magiday is involved and she produced [Oscar-winning 2018 film] The Favourite, which I absolutely loved.”

Now she has a dilemma to resolve: what she should be writing next. Her second book, The Scholar, was published earlier this year and the third, The Good Turn, is finished but won’t be published until early next year.

“I am really dithering. I was supposed to deliver it by Christmas, I had a very clear idea about what I was writing and I had started it,” McTiernan said. “But I got into a conversation and was telling someone about a [different] story I had been thinking of writing for a long time and the more I thought about it the more I thought, ‘Oh my god, I really want to write that book’.

“I thought I’d give it a day and see what comes and by the end of the day I wanted to write it even more. But I’ve got a lot more done on the original – I have to decide which one to write this weekend.”