Harriet was born in Co. Kilkenny in 1941. She has lived in various parts of Ireland, in England and Denmark and is now resident in Askeaton, Co. Limerick.
Harriet's career in writing began around 1979, writing short stories. Some of them have been broadcast by the BBC and RTE, and they exist in anthologies. She has had about 10 radio plays broadcast on RTE and several on R4. Harriet writes for television and the stage, and has written poetry. She has acted as guest judge in a playwriting competition for BMDS - the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society. In another life, many years ago, she was a physiotherapist.
WHY I LOVE RADIO
When I was a child I lived in a small village in the south east of Ireland. I was about seven when I started to listen to Radio. Ours was tall, with a mellow sound. It was a wedding present to my parents, with polished wood, standing proudly in the corner of the living room. On Sunday nights we all listened to the Sunday Play, enraptured by the dramas we conjured from the words, sounds and voices. I discovered BBC2, The Navy Lark and Life with the Lyons.
I was fascinated. I felt radio was bringing many worlds to me; many lives; many ways of thinking. When I started edging my way into being a writer, Radio was a friendly, supportive medium. I still feel that it is welcoming; there is less pressure separating listener and writer, more freedom with choice of subject, and less looming of a threatening budget. And to listen is as relaxing as meditation (or more relaxing) and as beneficial as a book.
NOTES ON THE RADIO PLAYS
What the Nun Discovered....2010
By Harriet O'Carroll. 10 Sep 10, rpt. 2 May 12. Sr. MaryJo returns home to Ireland after 25 years as a missionary in Uganda, to a disillusioned public and a Church which has lost so much of its moral authority. But with an honesty and simplicity learned in another continent she sets about reasserting her core values and rehabilitating a priest who was once her superior.
Summarised excerpt from Gillian Reynolds' review, DT, 13 Sep 10:
The play had Sister Mary-Joseph coming back after many missionary years in Uganda. Ireland has changed, so has the Church. The order she belongs to is smaller than it was, but it is doing great work in spite of antipathy towards the Church because of the paedophilia scandals. But she discovers financial irregularities which have made the good works possible. Her choice is whether to bring shame on the Church by exposing fraud or to remain silent...
MaryJo - Marcella Riordan,
Fr Paul - Pat Laffan,
Sr Frances - Lise-Ann McLaughlin,
Sr Agnes - Julia Dearden ,
Sr Bernadette - Stella McCusker,
Cathy - Ali White ,
The Mayor - Des Nealon.
Producer Eoin O'Callaghan.
Part of a comment from http://pparadio.blogspot.uk
A devoted but far from stupid nun .... has been away in Uganda for 25 years. Upon her return she learns first hand the problems in the Irish Catholic Church and deals with moral issues in a fresh and believeable way. She has to reconcile with her younger (atheist) sister, and it was that part of the play that was particularly effective. There was even something approaching a happy ending...
LIKE LISTENING TO SPRINGSTEEN....2007
Broadcast by RTE (2004) and BBC (30 Oct 2007). Winner, Listowel Award, 2004.
BBC blurb:Caro's last day of carefree happiness was at a Bruce Springsteen concert. But when her waters broke, she little expected it to mean a lifetime caring for a brain-damaged child.
Produced by Eoin O'Callaghan.
A PLACE IN THE WORLD....2007
Jan 07 and 8 Jul 08. By Harriet O'Carroll. 45m. Following the 30 years war; Clara and Tobi flee their native Germany for the promise of a better life in Ireland. But what they find there is far from the Promised Land. Tobi ...... Paul Rhys, Clara ...... Lia Williams, Marianne ...... Sarah Dillon, Walter ...... Richard Howard, Sunderland ...... Miche Doherty, Aunt Mags ...... Stella McCusker, Donal ...... Luke Griffin. Producer Eoin O'Callaghan.
4 Dec 99. Starring Helen McCrory as Jane Austen. The story of the novelist Jane Austen's real-life love affair with a romantic young law student from Limerick, which fuelled her desire to become a writer. With John Light, John Rowe, Paula Jacobs and Geraldine Fitzgerald. Producer: Cherry Cookson. 58m; Saturday Playhouse. Prix Italia-nominated. Broadcast on RTE Radio 1, 9 Feb 99.
BLACK AND WHITE....1994
Broadcast by RTÉ 2 Feb 94. A pregnant fourteen year old confronts her choices.
THE IMAGE OF HER MOTHER....1988
BBC producer Jeremy Howe. Also broadcast in a different version by RTÉ, 4 Nov 88. A young woman teases out the difficulties of her relationship with her mother, losing her anger as her mother fades into Althzeimer's. Three intersecting monologues.
THE FRIENDSHIP OF MIGRANTS....c1987
Broadcast by RTÉ. A woman living in a remote but beautiful part of Ireland find her life enriched but also saddened by the friendship of a visiting academic and his wife.
THE LEAVING IS ALL (aka THE WORDS GAME)....c1987
BBC producer Jeremy Howe c1987 and broadcast in a version by RTE, c1986.
Broadcast by RTÉ. Three colleagues,two young women and a blind man, seek love. The one who is successful is the least expected, the blind man.
THE WORLD OF THE WALKING WOUNDED....c1984
Broadcast by RTÉ. A young woman, suffering from post natal depression, is hospitalised. She realises ,to her surprise that mental illness is surmountable.
SUMMARY OF PLAYS BROADCAST BY RTÉ:
The World of the Walking Wounded c1984
Passion Flowers c1985
The Words Game c1986; aka The Leaving is All
The Friendship of Migrants 1987
The Image of her Mother c1988
Black and White
Like Listening to Springsteen 2004
SHORT STORIES & TV
Many of Harriet's short stories have been published in anthologies, magazines, the Irish Times and on BBC Radio 4 and RTE Radio. She started writing for television in 1988 and has written episodes for Fair City, Glenroe and Monarch of the Glen. She also was a Story Line Associate on the Glenroe series for about eight years. One of her larger scripts was a six-part adaptation of Stella Tillyard's biography called Aristocrats for BBC television. It ran for six hours and followed the story of four aristocratic sisters over a period of fifty years. It was broadcast worldwide in 1999 and received an IFTA nominations. She has also written two other screenplays, one a period drama based on the writer Richard Brinsley Sheridan and the other has a more contemporary theme. She also worked on the legal series, King's Inns, for RTE.
Three of her plays have been performed by a Limerick theatre company, Bottle of Smoke (1998), The Trickster (2000), an adaptation of Molière's Les Fourberies de Scapin, and A Place in the World (2001), based on the story of the Palatine migration to West Limerick in 1709.
"The Words Game." The Adultery, and other Stories and Poems. Short story. Dublin: Arlen, 1982. 39-48.
"Trust." The Belfast Book of Short Stories. Short story. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988.
"A Pleasant Christmas for the Children." The Blackstaff Book of Irish Short Stories. Short story. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988.
"The Day of the Christening." Territories of the Voice: Contemporary Stories by Irish Women Writers. Short story. Beacon: Eds. Louise DeSalvo et al. Boston: Beacon, 1989. 1999. 53-61.
Compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity Website
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