The Fly on the Wheel was written by re-disovered Irish author Katherine Cecil Thurston, and published three years before the she died, aged 36 (very possibly murdered by her fiancé who got her to change her will before she died, and then drugged her with laudanum).
The Fly on the Wheel was written in her summer house in Ardmore (which still exists today) and is partly set in the Irish town of Waterford – where Megan Nolan and the book’s illustrator Fatti Burke, were also both born and grew up.
It became an instant bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic when it was first published in 1908.
The book is a moving story of illicit love set in turn-of-the-century Ireland with an ending that is resonant of Anna Karenina, and is just as gripping, relevant and heart-breaking today, as it was when it was first published. It also offers plenty to ruminate on in terms of women’s rights, toxic relationships, opportunities and options – or lack thereof – in nineteenth-century society.
A highlight of the festival, join Megan Nolan, Fatti Burke, Rebeka Russell and Eimear Cheasty to discuss the re-issue of this book whose roots are firmly set in Waterford.
Megan Nolan was born in 1990 in Waterford, Ireland, and now lives in London. Heralded as “a huge literary talent” by Karl Ove Knausgaard, her best-selling debut novel Acts of Desperation was published in 2021 and has been translated into 13 languages.
She has written for The New York Times, The White Review, The Sunday Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian and the literary anthology, Winter Papers.
Fatti Burke is an illustrator from Co. Waterford, Ireland, who has worked in illustration and design since graduating in 2012 from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. She has illustrated children’s non-fiction titles since 2015, and her first three bestselling publications – Irelandopedia, Historopedia and Focloiropedia – were a collaboration with her regular team-mate, her father John, a retired school principal. Burke has also created works for solo exhibitions and installations and a book series for the British Museum.