The two Es come to UCC

reading-writing-poster-oct-16-web

I’m delighted to announce that two of the writers I most admire will read together in the first of University College Cork’s School of English reading series. Between them, they have charted the female – and Irish – experience in five different genres over 40 years.

Ireland Professor of Poetry, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, and the 2015 Irish Pen Award-winning writer, Eilís Ní Dhuibhne will read together at the Creative Zone, Boole Library, on Tuesday, November 8, at 6pm. Admission is free and all are welcome. Come and join us for what is going to be a night of literary riches.

Cork-born Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Acts and Monuments (1966), winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award, The Sun-Fish (2010) which was awarded the International Griffin Poetry Award, and The Boys of Blue Hill (2015) which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize.  She is Emerita Professor of English at TCD, the founding editor of the poetry journal Cyphers and this month begins her three-year tenure as Ireland Professor of Poetry.

Eilís Ní Dhuibhne is a bilingual novelist, short story writer and playwright. She is the author of four novels – including the Orange Prize short-listed The Dancers Dancing – six collection of short stories, six novels in Irish and six children’s books. Among her awards are a Bisto Book of the Year for her children’s fiction, the Readers’ Association of Ireland Award and the Stewart Parker Award. She teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at UCD and was awarded the Pen Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature in 2015.

 

 

Dublin launch for Prosperity Drive

Prosperity Drive invite

Prosperity Drive, my latest collection of stories, gets a Dublin launch this week at one of my “local” bookshops, The Rathgar Bookshop. I grew up in Rathgar and eagle-eyed readers might recognize echoes of the locality in the collection.

The Rathgar Bookshop is that rare thing – a sturdy, independent, suburban bookshop serving a loyal band of readers. Under Liz Meldon’s stewardship, it’s been voted one of the top 10 bookshops in Ireland and I’m delighted to have the  collection launched there. Novelist and director of UCD’s creative writing programme, James Ryan, will do the honours.

There will be another launch of Prosperity Drive in Cork – my second home – on April 23, along with Cork poet, short story writer and novelist William Wall, at the Triskel Arts Centre, during Cork World Book Fest.

Prosperity Drive will be launched at The Rathgar Bookshop, Wednesday, March 23, at 7.30pm.  All welcome but if you’re coming, please RSVP the bookshop at rathgarbooks@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, here’s a selection of the reviews so far:

Prosperity Drive is . . . is surely one of the best Irish books you will read this year.” – Sara Keating, Sunday Business Post.

“This the most pleasurable book of stories by an Irish writer that I’ve read for many years – perhaps since the 1970s heyday of William Trevor.” ─ John Boland, Irish independent.

“. . .she is a true heir to Chekhov and the great writers. . .Seldom has Irish suburban life – especially the lives of girls and women been so sensitively and wittily, portrayed.” – Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, The Irish Times.

“Mary Morrissy. . . bewitches the reader with an immaculate yet irreverent turn of phrase, her imagination slanted at a rare angle.” – Daily Mail.

 

 

 

Writing on fire

surge

The cover of Surge is fiery looking, as befits an anthology of new writing.  The volume from Brandon Press is a celebration of the old and the new; its publication marks the 40th anniversary year of O’Brien Press and is named after a Dublin literary magazine of the 1930s/40s established by Thomas O’Brien, among others. (Thomas founded O’Brien Press  in 1974.)  The name may be old but the content is all new. It contains work hot off the keyboards of a dozen or so student writers from all over Ireland.

If you want to know what’s happening in creative writing at UCD,Trinity, Queens Belfast, UCC and NUIG, then this volume is a showcase of new names in the fiction firmament.  But there’s more. The anthology represents, more than any dry university curriculum listing could, the ethos of creative writing scholarship – about which there is often skepticism. (Can writing be taught etc etc. . . ) For along with the newbies, there are also fresh stories from established writers who tutor and mentor on these courses such as Frank McGuinness, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, Mike McCormack  – and yours truly. (For obvious reasons, I’m particularly proud of the students who represent UCC’s inaugural MA in Creative Writing – Madeleine d’Arcy and Bridget Sprouls.)

The idea of the fiction workshop is to mimic the medieval craft guild, in which tyro writers get together with old hands to learn the trade.  What this volume represents is a composite picture of that process.  If you want to see who’s learning from whom, don’t look to the index at the back before reading the stories and maybe you’ll be surprised to find you often can’t tell the master from the apprentice. Rather like looking in on a fiction workshop, where it’s often not clear who’s in charge. And all the better for it.

Surge will be launched at the Dublin Book Festival on November 15