Louise O’Neill on Idol: ‘I’ve been into wellness and new age spirituality since I was a teenager’

Plus: Budding baker Alice Kelly on her plans to turn a pony box into a bakery

Listen | 52:23

Cork writer Louise O’Neill’s latest book Idol delves into the heart and mind of a super influencer in the wellness world.

The book, her third novel for adults, deals with thorny topics like consent, eating disorders, cancel culture and the authenticity of influencers.

“I think when people read Idol, because I suppose Samantha Miller the main character is a wellness influencer and it’s sort of skewering a lot of that culture, I think people are very surprised to hear that I’m not coming at this from a very cynical place,” she tells Róisín Ingle on the latest episode of The Irish Times Women’s Podcast.

“This has actually been a very important part of my life, for a long time ... I’ve been into wellness and new age spirituality since I was a teenager,” she says.


We also hear from Alice Kelly, a Leaving Cert student who is planning a pop-up bakery run out of a vintage pony box, in today’s episode.

Alice has taken it upon herself to renovate the box, which she got as an 18th-birthday present from her family, and tells Róisín about her lifelong ambition to start her own bakery.

“A lot of people are asking me why I didn’t buy a normal horse box or a new one, but I definitely liked the old look of it and the challenge of doing it up is enjoyable to me,” she says.

Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer Ryan is a former audio producer at The Irish Times