Louise O’Neill’s story starter “Saving Christmas” is read by Amaya Gillespie.
Louise O’Neill is an Irish bestselling author from West Cork. An acclaimed writer for young adults, she has won numerous awards for her work, including Book of the Year 2015 at the Irish Book Awards. Her book ‘Asking for It’ was one of the top ten best-selling books in Ireland in 2016 and was adapted for stage in 2018.
Her story-starter is read by Amaya Gillespie who is an alumna of Graffiti’s Activate Youth Theatre. She is still a regular collaborator with Graffiti and her most recent performance can be seen online in the webseries ‘Cocooned’ by Jody O’Neill
Lucy woke with a start when she heard the first bang. The room was dark and she was half-asleep; she might have persuaded herself that it was just a dream if she hadn’t heard the second bang, louder this time, and a man’s voice, “Hush, Blitzen, you’re not auditioning for Riverdance.”. Lucy lay there, frozen, her hands clutching at the bed covers. Should she wake her older sister? But Katie – sorry, Kate, as she insisted on being called now that she’d turned twelve – would only tell Lucy she was imagining things, she was a stupid baby and that’s why Kate didn’t want to share a room with her anymore. Her sister had asked Mam if she could have their father’s old study instead, and Mam had said she’d think about it. She’d turned away, but Kate and Lucy could both see the tears in her eyes. Mam cried a lot these days, of course. She would shut the bedroom door behind her and turn the music up loud but they could still hear her, underneath it all.
“Away we go,” the man’s voice said. A clatter of hoofs on the roof, a shivering of silver bells, and suddenly, the house was quiet again. Lucy stole out of bed and crept downstairs. She could hear whining, low and insistent, and when she opened the front door, she found a small, brown dog there, staring at the sky and whimpering. She crouched down to rub his ears and she saw a glint of silver around his neck, a name tag in the shape of a snowflake. My name is Nutmeg, it said on the front. She turned it around and read the words on the other side aloud. “Please return to K. Kringle. C/O The North Pole.”