Rebecca Ivory: ‘There was nothing more embarrassing than wanting to be creative’

The debut author talks to The Women’s Podcast about her debut collection of short stories Free Therapy

Listen | 42:40

Growing up in a working-class family in Ashbourne Co Meath, debut author Rebecca Ivory always felt slightly uneasy about indulging her creative side. Though writing was her passion, she certainly didn’t want to bring it to anyone’s attention.

“I never really expressed an interest in wanting to write…to me there was nothing more embarrassing than wanting to be creative,” she tells Róisín Ingle on the latest episode of The Women’s Podcast.

“I think initially I wanted to be a journalist because I thought that was a way to write without…seeming like I wanted to be creative. I know it’s awful to say, but I was just incredibly embarrassed by this creative desire”.

With such a compelling voice, readers should rejoice that Ivory managed to overcome her embarrassment. Her first book, a collection of short stories called Free Therapy, was released earlier this month.


The book takes its name from the second story in the collection, but the theme of therapy features throughout; Ivory’s own therapist even gets a mention in the acknowledgements.

The collection takes us into the lives of people who “keep making the same mistakes over and over again”, but for a variety of reasons, are unable to change.

It’s about unfulfilling jobs, underwhelming men, and the power of desire and connection. In this conversation, Ivory talks about finding the confidence to pursue her creative dreams, how her family and working-class background shaped her and how she juggles a full time job while writing her first novel.

You can listen back in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan is an audio producer at The Irish Times