Woman in the Making: A Memoir by Rory O’Neill (aka Panti)

woman in the making

First things first, Rory can write, which was a nice surprise – sometimes people from other fields who write a memoir aren’t always suited to it, but he has a keen ear for a nice turn of phrase. His style is clean and very readable, but also at times quite beautiful.

His story is laid out chronologically starting with his childhood, talking about his art school days, his time in Tokyo, his life in Dublin, drag, HIV, and ending with his Noble Call, which made him world-famous.

I don’t have anything much more constructive than to say it’s quite brilliant, full of deftly observed characters and situations, full of warmth and memory and love.

If you’re interested in drag, this is a must-read. If you’re interested in Panti(gate), it’s also a must-read. I loved how it was the Panti/Rory that I’d seen in person at his shows that was speaking, as in, there was no censorship of events (there’s quite a discussion about his club days and anal adventures thereof – which to this day, is still something people in Dublin talk about). I ended up staying up until 3am finishing it!

It’s evenly balanced with not too much, or too little written about each chapter of his life. In short, it’s highly recommended. A word on the trade paperback and smaller, recent paperback – the recent one has a new prologue, set after the passing of the 2015 marriage referendum.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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