Louise O’Neill interview: ‘I’ve pushed myself much further than I ever have with any other novel’

With Idol, her latest novel, and three screen adaptations of previous novels in the works, Louise O’Neill shows she has no intention of becoming complacent or easing up on confronting uncomfortable facts in her fiction

Novelist Louise O’Neill: no stranger to tackling ‘knife-edge’ topics in her work. Picture: Anna Groniecka

When I meet Louise O’Neill in the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin, she has just ordered a sparkling water with a slice of lime. It is, by her measure, a very boujee choice, not unlike something the central character of her latest book, Idol, might ask for.

Samantha Miller, her influencer-slash-wellness-guru protagonist, is in some ways like O’Neill. She’s successful, charming, driven. She comes from a small town (the fictional Bennford) in New England, while O’Neill ...