Eithne Shortall is the chief arts writer with The Sunday Times. Her debut novel Love in Row 27 was published to critical acclaim last year, and her latest book, Grace After Henry, is in bookshops now.

Film 

Making the Grade. I had to check it was still showing in cinemas and it is. Documentaries don’t always hang around too long. My hopes for this were low. How exciting can a film about people taking piano lessons be, right? Wrong. This is brilliant. I loved Ken Wardrop’s debut, His & Hers, but wasn’t so blown away by his second. This third outing, however, is as good as the first. It is joyful and gorgeous and packed with great lines. 

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Music 

These days most of my music is curated and delivered by John Creedon. I love his radio show. He gets the mix just right. Sometimes it feels like he’s my own personal DJ. Apropos of nothing, I also love Niall Horan’s Slow Hands. That song is my guilty pleasure and I must confess it whenever I have the opportunity. 

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Book 

Can I say my own? Grace After Henry. It’s about a woman whose boyfriend dies suddenly and, just as she’s learning to move on, a man who looks just like him appears at her door. It’s funnier than it sounds. No, I can’t say my own? Okay then. I am currently reading Emma Healey’s Whistle In the Dark. She wrote Elizabeth Is Missing a couple of years back, which was a big success. So far so good with the follow-up. 

Play 

I saw On Raftery’s Hill at the Abbey Theatre this week and thought it was excellent. It’s hard going though and, given the current news cycle of cervical check errors and abortion debate, I felt ready to burn all the bras when I came out of the theatre. What I loved most about it was its portrayal of shame and hidden secrets; all the horrible things happening in homes that nobody ever discusses. Well, maybe I didn’t "love" that about it – but I thought it was expertly done. 

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TV

I don’t watch a lot of television. When I do, I prefer to watch "live" TV than, say, Netflix. There’s something comforting about knowing other people are watching the same thing at the same time. That’s a big part of why I have such a soft spot for the Late, Late Show. I’m two episodes into the second season of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope and think it’s great. Find someone who loves you the way the camera loves Seána Kerslake. That’s my unsolicited relationship advice. 

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Gig 

I bought tickets for the Artic Monkeys recently and am looking forward to that. I am not much of a music festival goer anymore, so the summer is basically wasted on me. I now think of music festivals as I do the Leaving Cert. When I hear a news report saying they’re on, I feel instant relief, and think: ‘Thank god I’ve already done that.’ 

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Art

The contemporary artist who instantly comes to mind is Vera Klute. Her work is emotionally smart and affecting. But I think art goes beyond the walls. I aspire to William Morris’s guidance that everything in your life should be useful or beautiful – and ideally both. In that way, art expands to the everyday. I love the pottery bowls I eat my porridge from (made by Roger Harley in Westport) and the cape-coat (by Eddie Doherty, a hand weaver in Donegal) I wear when not on my bike. You buy less but what you buy has been thought out. The line between art and craft is blurred. 

Vera Klute - Flesh & Blood II, 2016, Glazed porcelain

Radio/Podcast 

My heart belongs to radio. I’m not great at turning the dial and tend to listen to a lot of RTÉ Radio 1. It also makes up most of my podcast listening – I’ll catch up on segments of the Ray D’Arcy Show or The Business or Arena. I love Playback too. I’ve long thought presenting Playback would be a dream job. As for "actual podcasts", there’s one called Inside Books that I enjoy, where different Irish authors talk about their work. 

Listen: Playback with Marian Richardson

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Tech

I have a love/hate relationship with technology that veers more towards hate. I use social media, but at the same time I wish it had never been invented. Instagram is my favourite of the lot, though. It’s a happier place. Otherwise my most used app is probably Daft. I feel like I have seen inside every house in Dublin at this point.

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The Next Big Thing...

My boyfriend is always predicting Next Big Things. He swears he foresaw Tinder. Lately he’s been pondering if eggs might be about to have a burrito/doughnut moment. I don’t seem to share his clairvoyance, so I guess I’d pick someone who deserves to be big. The actress Clare Monnelly. She was in Nowhere Fast and Moone Boy. I’ve never seen her is something and not thought ‘wow’. I basically think everyone should cast her in everything. 

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