My First Two Reads of 2018: Autumn and Midwinter Break

My First Two Reads of 2018: Autumn and Midwinter Break

 

Lucky me, and didn’t I pick well. I’m determined to read more in 2018, and I’ve made a running start. Tús maith and all that…

 

Autumn by Ali Smith

This is a moving, compassionate and brilliant work. Oblique at time in its writing but very much worth sticking with. It’s set in current-day UK and while it refers to BREXIT and the issues of racism and nationalism appear, it’s not a BREXIT novel at all (don’t believe the press hype), it’s about the deep and life-long friendship between Elisabeth, (from child to adult) and Daniel (a neighbouring gay older man). Continue reading “My First Two Reads of 2018: Autumn and Midwinter Break”

Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin

Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin

There was something of homework about this novel. I read it soon after A Scandal by Fredrik Backman, as I wanted to see how current novelists are approaching sport as the backdrop to fiction. Seeing as how my own novel, The First Sunday in September, to be published by Mercier Press in August, attempts just that. Continue reading “Sport in Fiction Part 1: A Natural by Ross Raisin”

Notes on Conversations With Friends after Donald Barthelme’s Concerning The Bodyguard

Notes on Conversations With Friends after Donald Barthelme’s Concerning The Bodyguard

Was the reader taken aback by his emotional response to Conversations With Friends? Why was the reader so taken aback? Was it because he wasn’t expecting to fully inhabit Frances, the book’s protagonist? Especially given the first person point-of-view throughout? And was that because she is a twenty-one year old woman and he is a fifty-six year old man? Continue reading “Notes on Conversations With Friends after Donald Barthelme’s Concerning The Bodyguard”

Why are Writers So Happy?

Why are Writers So Happy?

The question was ironic. The questioner was commenting on the subject matter of the three readings at the Cork International Short Story Festival at Cork City Library, one of which was by me. The event was showcasing the Smoke in The Rain Anthology, the 2017 From the Well Short Story Competition, organised by Cork County Libraries and Arts Service and it was very kind of The Munster Literature Centre to do so.

In fairness my story was probably the darkest, but Mary Rose’s wasn’t all sugar and spice either. Anne’s was a bit more uplifting, about a boy coming to terms with his grief after his father’s death – yeah, I know, says a lot about the others doesn’t it? Continue reading “Why are Writers So Happy?”

So You’ve Been Publicly Shortlisted* or ‘Jealous, Who? Me?’

So You’ve Been Publicly Shortlisted* or ‘Jealous, Who? Me?’

Dealing with rejection is part and parcel of being a writer. The stories are legion.

JK Rowling rejected by 52,000 publishers. Donal Ryan rejected by 230,000 publishers, including Ireland’s Own. James Joyce self-publishing and then buying up all the copies with a loan from his brother and then ‘giving’ them away for glasses of white wine. Yada yada. Continue reading “So You’ve Been Publicly Shortlisted* or ‘Jealous, Who? Me?’”

The Echo Boy

The Echo Boy

I’m the Echo Boy on Patrick’s Street. No, not that one, I’m the one across the road, outside the old Examiner Offices. I’m the statue.

I didn’t know I was a statue for a long time, actually. I used to be over on Cook Street and one day I heard a woman tell her daughter what I was, so that’s how I found out. Continue reading “The Echo Boy”

Bracia / Brothers – A Masterpiece of Film

Bracia / Brothers – A Masterpiece of Film

I resolved to see some of the Film Festival this year and booked a ticket for a Polish documentary called Bracia/Brothers by Wojciech Staron and boy am I glad I did. It may be the best film I ever saw. I’m not sure yet. But it’s way up there – that’s for sure.

Two brothers, Mieczyslaw and Alfons Kułakowski have returned to Poland after an exile of 80 years (yes), in Siberia and Kazakhstan, to resume their lives as best they can. The film, shot over 8 years, tells of their lives, as they live them, now. Continue reading “Bracia / Brothers – A Masterpiece of Film”