My guest editing stint for John Lavin’s excellent lit mag The Lonely Crowd is keeping me busy. It’s a short window for submissions.
Submission call details here.
Looking forward to reading at the Red Line Book Festival on Friday, October 17th along with Geraldine Mills & Eileen Casey. In conversation afterwards with MC, Sue Hassett. I’ll be reading from my forthcoming collection of stories. Check out my post on Geraldine Mill’s collection here. Our event and booking details, below.
Are literary women writers undersold and undervalued by the current literary universe? In 2014 a small American literary journal vowed to cover women writers for a full year. Then, artist Joanna Walsh’s #readwomen2014 project became a popular meme on social media. Join three Hennessy award winning writers, Valerie Sirr, Geraldine Mills and Eileen Casey in this lively debate as they assess and redress male writers’ dominance in the literary world. The event is facilitated by local writer Sue Hassett. Presented by Red Line Book Festival @ South Dublin County Libraries BOOKING DETAILS HERE. Hope to see some of you there!
I had a wonderful time at the Cork International Short Story Festival 2014. Thanks to all at Munster Literature Centre who helped to keep everything on track. Special thanks to Patrick Cotter, festival director, for inviting me to read, and to Jennifer Matthews for all her hard work too. They were both very kind and helpful to us all and acted as MCs for various events. The full line up is here.
It’s always such fun to meet Twitter, Facebook and blogging pals in real life and most of us resembled our social media pics which made introductions a bit easier. I met and chatted with some lovely folk during the days and evenings and into the wee small hours. We had fine sunny days, the Irish ‘Indian’ summer that often arrives in autumn and only had a few showers as we went from venue to venue. I read in the Central library on Grand Parade, with Orfhlaith Foyle, a writer whose work I admire, and we both got a great welcome from the audience.
Patrick Cotter interviewed us both after the reading and we discussed, among other things, whether we see ourselves as predominantly Irish (or female) writers, whether writing poetry has influenced our short stories, how important language is to us, and how literary fiction writers fare in a commercial market. We also discussed Richard Ford’s controversial statement the night before: that the short story is ‘lesser’ than the novel. We were lucky to have John Minahan, photographer of Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney, as festival photographer and I hope to see some of his photos soon.
Many thanks to the generous Paul McVeigh for sharing his photos of our readings.
We were well looked after …
My festival book buys:
I attended the 13th International Short Story Conference at the University of Vienna last week and was thrilled to hear that a story I entered into the conference short story competition received honourable mention along with Adnan Mahmutovic, Bosnian-Swedish writer; winner Lisa Smithies. I enjoyed Lisa’s talk on closure in the short story. The judges were: Bharati Mukherjee and Clark Blaise. Bharati Mukherjee gave an impressive reading at the Literaturhaus event.
The prize money will be a welcome injection of funds into my bank account after an expensive week…
Vienna was stunning, exciting and exhausting (due to being glutened on the first night!). I wouldn’t have missed it for anything and the conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow writers from Ireland and all over the world. I read my work, introduced others, heard some stimulating readings and learned from the panel discussions on myriad aspects of the short story form.
Above, my reading at the Irish embassy in Vienna, along with Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Alan McMonagle, Billy O’Callaghan, Evelyn Conlon and Madeleine D’Arcy. Thanks to Ann Luttrell, Maurice A. Lee and Ambassador James Brennan.
I was heartened by Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer prize winner who praised my story after I read at the embassy, saying it was ‘full of yearning’. (Interestingly Adnan Mahmutovic’s work is described as ‘stories about longing and survival’). Further encouragement came from fellow Irish participants Billy O’Callaghan and Alan McMonagle sitting on either side of me after I read, from other established writers in attendance, from non-writers too, and I am grateful for their generosity. As most writers know, positive feedback from readers and listeners is invaluable.
Above, chatting with Michael Mirolla with whom I shared a reading and Q&A. The generous and diligent Sandra Jensen was our introducer and did a fine job, researching our work and taking time to read a story of mine beforehand.
Here’s some pics of the city itself:
The Giant Ferris Wheel…tracing the steps of Harry Lime in the flim, The Third Man
The Rathaus building at the end of my street
Vienna parliament building
Couldn’t have a Vienna post without Mozart…
Superman ‘begging’ on a U Bahn
Loved these old trams which ran like clockwork as did the U Bahn underground system. Got pretty hot down there – 35 degrees one day.
Doing the tourist bit at Schloss Schonbrunn, the opulent residential palace and gardens
I feel very lucky to have been invited to attend and again big thanks to Maurice A. Lee conference director, Sylvia Petter writer and co-director, and Ann Luttrell organiser of the Irish contingent.
My talented friend, Eileen Casey, is reading with a group of poets this Wednesday 24th at the Irish Writers’ Centre. Details below:
Poetry Ireland in association with the Irish Writers’ Centre and the Trustees of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh fellowship presents a reading of former recipients of the Kavanagh Fellowship Eileen Casey, Mark Granier, Rita Kelly, Aidan Murphy and John W Sexton.
Venue: Irish Writers’ Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Time: Wednesday @ 7.30pm
T: 01 8721302
A student of mine in The People’s College, Samanta Stochla from Poland, is involved in organising a Short Film Festival to take place on June 2nd at POSK. English version here. Why not go along and see what you might discover?
Samanta wrote the following about her experiences with the festival:
‘ODDALENIA’ (‘Distances’) was founded 4 years ago. Its name originated from a Polish newspaper in Ireland which did not succeed so the name was free and ready for another use. The idea of the film preview was simple. There were some films that I wanted to show and I wanted to use the occasion to meet new filmmakers. There was the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) where the festival could be organised. So it began this way…
The Short Film Festival ODDALENIA/DISTANCES is now a cyclical event. Each year it looks different. The organisers have more ideas and more experience. When I first came to Dublin with films, I did not think that the festival would develop so much. I simply had my film which I wanted to show everyone. It was actually a Dawid Ciślak film. I worked on it as production manager. In fact, it was a film etude. It was a 17 minute short story. I searched similar films and found Tomek Machura from Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in Dublin.
There were posters advertising the film night. We had a small screen and a computer and a place where the event could be organised. There were various films lined up to be shown, some simple stories and also documentaries. There was voting and prize-giving. At the end of the night some Kabaret DNO films were shown. Everyone left in a joyful mood. The 2009 Short Film Festival ODDALENIA/DISTANCES turned out to be an enjoyable event. The audience voted for Dawid’s film titled ‘Drugi pogrzeb’ (‘Second funeral’) as the best. For me personally it was a great achievement.
One year later we spread our wings by organising the event again. The person acting on behalf of POSK was Sławek Norberczak. The subject area and the genre of films varied a lot from comedies to reportages to Catholic missions, films for fun and films that aimed to show something more and impress the viewers. For the first time there were English language films. The 2010 festival ODDALENIA/DISTANCES was going to be a film marathon!
I hosted the event along with Trevor Rooney. I witnessed a miracle, and not only one, on that day. First, despite all my limitations in the English language we managed to communicate and set tasks, explain the way of presenting films and the way we would host the event. We knew what had to be done and said. Secondly, despite problems with equipment we managed to start up all the devices. Thankfully, there was a computer specialist in the audience. Thirdly, we did not set up breaks so the marathon went on uninterrupted. There was also a show of films produced by iTVe – Polish Television in Ireland.
We encouraged people to cooperate with each other and organize their own filmmaking groups. There was even a film invitation to Madagascar by Rafał Gilewski. Rafał was looking for a film crew to produce another film during his next trip. We still have a film centre in the POSK in Dublin. Trevor made a screen out of huge film posters. It was an amazing night but for us organisers it was also a little bit of a stressful evening. The Kabaret DNO helped us too by sending in their films. During that evening the jury chose Agnieszka Grandowicz with her film ‘Eine kleine movie’. The audience prize was given once again to Dawid Ciślak and his film ‘Nic nie wiesz’ (You don’t know anything).
The 2011 Short Film Festival ODDALENIA/DISTANCES was of a little bit different nature. On the stage Trevor entertained the audience along with Barbara Bugalska who joined our team. We chose 12 films for the show. They came from various parts of the world and were discussed, described and ready to be shown. Two films, a short Korean masterpiece and a beautiful Polish animation, competed for our ‘Golden Camera’. That year there were video clips, trip documentaries, animations, documentaries, etudes etc.
ODDALENIA/DISTANCES gained international character and it could be felt. In the audience there were people from all over the world. The room was chock-full! The occasion was honoured by Kimberley Murray who performed in concert. This time both the audience and jury agreed- The winner was Beniamin Szwed with his film ‘Rosa Alba’. To wrap up the evening, we saw the film ‘Skauci’ (Scouts) created by the Kabaret DNO.
Did the audience enjoy the event? I hope they did. Our film events are visited by more and more people each year. My dream of showing some short films has turned to a cyclical film festival and many people have contributed to that success. The festival and its course depend completely on both the organisers and the audience. However, the standard of the festival depends on you, our dear readers.
One more thing: We were supported strongly by the Embassy of Poland in Dublin which bought us a solid, professional screen. Your films will be presented on it wonderfully!
(Translation Assistance by Sławomir Płudowski and Caroline Casey)
Thanks to Samanta for the above. See below for festival programme and last year’s winning short film Rosa Alba directed by Beniamin Szwed:
Short Film Festival ODDALENIA 2012 – Program and Final Gala
Congratulations to all succesfull entries who made it on the list.
The Festival will kick off at 7pm on Saturday, June 2nd, for the Screening of the movies and Final Gala.
Venue: Polish Social & Cultural Association, 20 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2
Grzegorz Dębowski / 10′
Elwira Florek / 11′
3. KRAWĘDŹ ZIEMI / THE EDGE OF THE EARTH
Nikodem Wojciechowski / 28’30”
4. WINDA / THE ELEVATOR
Sebastian Kwidziński / 10’06”
Domicjan / 16′
6. AUTUMN. THE RAINY FRIEND
Karina Zembrzuska / 2′
Konrad Anoszczenko / 10′
8. ASHES TO ASHES. LOVE TO DUST.
Grzegorz Dębowski / 16′
9. JEREMIAH O’DEA
Kamil Krolak / 05’31”
10. ZWIERZĘ BEZ NOGI / LEGLESS ANIMAL (FISZ EMADE)
Tymon Tykwiński / 4′
11. DZIEŃ Z ŻYCIA ŚW. MIKOŁAJA/ ONE DAY OF SANTA’S LIFE
Sebastian Kwidziński / 6’39”
12. PIÓRO / THE PEN
Wiesław Zieliński / 18′
I’m sure you’ve seen daily or weekly comic strips like Doonesbury in newspapers and many of you will have read graphic novels. (Just click on the image above to view.)
I really admire the artistry involved in combining image with narrative – some comics are hand-drawn, some are drawn with computer programs, some use pictures. They’re often self-published and hosted on the artists’ own sites. The great thing about this is that it’s free from the control of publishers (same with self-publishing in other media), and competition for page size and it allows for all sorts of creative expression. They’re usually free to read too.
One of my students, who uses the name Sean Drawn, made an exciting announcement in class the other day. He’s about to launch his graphic novel, Cupid’s Last Arrows. We discussed earlier drafts of the novel in class over the last couple of years and thoroughly enjoyed it’s quirky, gentle humour and delightful illustrations.
Next week, on Valentine’s Day, 12pm – 10pm, at Exchange Dublin, a collective arts centre in Temple Bar’s Project Arts Centre, the novel will be launched alongside an art exhibition. The exhibition consists of original and print art from the graphic novel, which tells the story of Cupid’s journey through the streets of Dublin as the ancient Roman god of love attempts to fix his mismatches.
As advertised here, you can even be drawn by Drawn, who will be creating portraits and caricatures of visitors throughout the day.
Sean will also speak at the Exchange at 8pm at the ‘Milk and Cookies’ storytelling event. ‘Milk and Cookies Stories’ is a “Dublin-based, non-profit arts collective that hosts storytelling nights on the second Tuesday of every month. It transforms Exchange Dublin into a giant living room, complete with cosy cushions and duvets, fairy lights, hot tea and delicious cookies.” It’s free for everyone.
Congratulations to Sean and I hope the launch generates a lot of interest for his work.
Has anyone any webcomics or graphic novels to recommend? What do you think of the form?