Emer McCourt

1964- ; b. Newry; ed. UU (Jordanstown, Belfast); actress and novelist; spent three-months in New York, working as waitress; shortlisted for Hennessy Award for story inspired by that experience, 1989; performed in student production of Measure for Measure; played lead in Hush-a-Bye Baby with Sinead O’Connor supporting; also Romeo Phones (C4), Riff Raff (dir. Ken Loach), with Robert Carlyle, and Human Traffic (1999); co-author and producer of film Loop; left film business on having a daughter; issued Elvis, Jesus and Me (2004), a novel about a young girl reluctant to leave childhood behind in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

Elvis, Jesus and Me (London: Virago 2004). Films roles incl. Hush-a-Bye Baby (1990), Riff-Raff (1991), Loop (1996), Boston Kickout (1997), Sunset Heights (1999), and Human Traffic (2000). PBS roles incl. Parnell and the Englishwoman (1991-92) and The House of Bernarda Alba (1991-92).


Elvis, Jesus and Me (Virago), Ger to younger brother [Chap. 1]: ‘“Boys get to fly to the moon, score goals, ride on the back of tractors ... tell me one girl you’d like to be.” (Quoted in [Shirley Kelly, ‘Emer McCourt’s Secret Passion’ [interview art.], in Books Ireland (April 2004, p.73.)

Tomboy: ‘I grew up in Newry [...] and I was a tomboy and I went through a phase when I really would have preferred to be a boy. Girls seemed very boring to me, too passive, whereas boys were active and doing fun things. They grew up to be men who seemed to me to inhabit a very different world to women, and they were shaping and changing that world. I think it probably hits you most forcefully when you’re on the cusp of womanhood. You know once you cross over into puberty there’s no going back and it’s unknown territory. Ger’s wanting to be a boy is part of that sense of holding on to childhood, and that’s what ignited the story in me. Everything else came from that.’ (Books Ireland, idem.)

[ top ]