|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2010)|
Lia Mills is an Irish writer. She writes novels, short stories and literary non-fiction. She has also worked on several public art commissions and as an arts consultant.
Her first novel, Another Alice (1996), was nominated for the Irish Times Irish Fiction prize. Her second novel, Nothing Simple (2005), was shortlisted for the Irish Novel of the Year at the inaugural Irish Book Awards. In Your Face (2007) is a memoir of her diagnosis of and treatment for oral cancer. It was named as a favourite book of 2007 by Peter Sheridan and Joe Duffy, among others. Her fourth book and third novel, Fallen was published in 2014. With Dr Denise MacCarthy she co-edited Word of Mouth: Coping with and Surviving Mouth, Head and Neck Cancers (2013).
Born in Dublin, she has lived in London and America before returning to Ireland in 1990.
Fallen - Penguin Ireland, 2014
Fallen is set in Dublin August 1914-April 1916. Katie Crilly is trying to find her place in a restrictive society, when she gets the news she dreaded: Her twin brother, Liam, has been killed on the Western Front. A year later, Dublin is engulfed by the violence of the Easter Rising. Katie is torn between her loyalty to Liam's memory, her patriotism and her love for her city and its people. Taking refuge in the home of friends, she meets Hubie Wilson, a comrade of Liam's from the Front. There unfolds a remarkable encounter between two young people, both wounded and both trying to imagine a new life. As the world Katie knows is turned upside down by insurrection, previously unimaginable things begin to seem possible. "This is so elegantly done: the past accumulates in careful detail, then suddenly we're gripped and held, we're there. A hugely evocative and skilful novel" (Kevin Barry). "Lia Mills writes superbly about the human heart. This is an historical story with an urgency that is completely modern: Fallen is shot through with the pleasure and difficulty of being alive" (Anne Enright).
In Your Face - Penguin Ireland, 2007
In early 2006, Lia Mills went to the dentist, worried about a painful lump in her cheek. In Your Face is her account of what happened next: a diagnosis of oral cancer, surgery to remove the tumour and reconstruct her jaw; a broken leg that came about as a result of a bone graft and that went undiagnosed for several weeks; radiotherapy and resulting illness; and, finally, recovery. Based on the journals she kept even when she was feeling her worst, In Your Face gives a day-by-day account of what Lia went through.
Nothing Simple - Penguin Ireland, 2005
When Ray left Ireland to follow Dermot to America, she had her doubts about moving; but Dermot convinced her it was where their future lay, and she was too young and too much in love to fight. So they settled in a hot and murky Texan suburb where nothing turned out to be quite what it seemed. Now, ten years and four children later, recession has hit Texas, Dermot's career like their marriage has stalled, and he says that the family has to move back to Dublin. But Ray is not so sure that she can trust her husband's judgment any more. Then, as they get ready to leave, their daughter disappears. In the desperate hours that follow, Ray tries to figure out how she has ended up with a life that's only beginning to make sense now that everything in it is under threat.
Another Alice - Poolbeg Press, 1996
Another Alice is the story of a poisoned childhood, a contamination that threatens to spread through generations. Alice is a photographer, struggling to keep her head above water. She has arranged her life like one of her photographs: careful, ordered, stark. The small figure in the foreground is her daughter, Holly. But under the surface, things are not nearly as smooth as Alice likes to think they are. She is haunted by a dream from her childhood that threatens to rise up and engulf her, destroying both Holly and herself. Ultimately she realises that she must enter the dream and learn to navigate its dangerous waters if there is to be any hope of survival for either of them.