Archive of ‘reading’ category

Happy 2017, Winter Pages Volume 2 and Donal Ryan kicks off my first bookclub!

Happy New Year!

Gosh, I don’t even care about the whole New Year’s Even thing but I do like the tidiness that comes with a brand new day on the 1st of January and when the supermarkets take all of the nonsense away off their shelves and start preparing for Easter or Halloween or something.

Christmas is an excellent time for getting the reading done. The open fire. The glass of fizzy minerals to sip on. The chocolates. They all add to that reading feeling. This Christmas Day I received 2 books. It is a strange one, surely my gifts should be 100% book related. Don’t all of you know I LOVE reading? My husband knew and my writing group homie knew. Therefore, I received a huge copy of the mustard-coloured Winter Papers Volume 2 annual. It is fab. It is made up of artwork, interviews, fiction and poetry. It is a true fest. Despite the fact that Kevin Barry is one of the editors(with Olivia Smith), there is no new fiction from him but it might be a bit egotistical if he did that, I guess and I think he is not that way.

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The second gift I received was the Mslexia Writing Diary for 2017. Full of prompts, sections to write my personal details in(I love this!), interviews, recommended reading and prompts, it is a real writer’s gift. It is simply gorgeous and will be used and is being used already!

I treated myself to Donal Ryan’s new novel, All we shall know. I have a problem remembering the title always of this book. I keep thinking it is “All that we shall know” or “All that is left behind” or simple “All”  The novel is narrated by a pregnant lady and it is broken up into weeks. I am at 20 weeks already and Donal, as per usual is compelling, full-on with his strong language and depressing all at once. It will catch you by the first paragraph. I am reading this for a book club I set up in work.

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Plenty to keep me busy and out of trouble anyway. I also keep calling the Kevin Barry annual by its incorrect name of Winter Pages. It is Winter Papers!

Hope you had a good one!

http://www.winterpapers.com/

 

 

Over the Edge shortlist New Writer of the Year 2016

Gosh, I kind of find these posts odd and ego-ridden and cringey to read so here goes….

One of my stories has been shortlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year award 2016, got the news this morning via an excited husband holding a mobile screen in my face! It was a lovely way to be woken up and then a coffee and then a coffee and pretzel chocolate thing in Costa with my lovely M-boy.

overtheedgeshortlistI have been working on this story for over two years and the first draft of the story has morphed into an entirely different one. Even the title has changed! I have been writing for quite some time and only feel that this story and others I have written recently have started to show me as a person, writer etc and how I think other people might think about the world. I am proud of this story because of those things. It is me and what I like to read and it just makes me feel all delighted to see that someone else might think it is okay too.

I would love to be at the fiction slam in Galway in October but we are booked to go away to Munich and Salzburg to see my most loved cousin, Trina and her lovely, Australian husband.

Life is good. Back to the work.

Was this odd, ego-ridden and cringey? Comments below, please. Send good thoughts. x

 

My haul from Des Kenny and his very cool bookshop

My haul from Kenny’s Bookshop is rather long and all second-hand/pre-loved. I never understand how anyone can bear to give away books but in this case, I win!

I got all of these short story collections for 29 euro!

bookhaul

L-R John McGahern, Gerard Donovan, William Trevor, Bernard Mac Claverty, Edna O Brown, Doris Lessing, Maeve Brennan&Sean O Faoilean. They were all personally picked and recommended by the owner and uber-book reader, Des Kenny. Great guy, great shop and simply book heaven.

 

Culture night 2016 in Kenny’s Bookstore, Galway

A fab time was had in Galway city for Culture night 2016. I was reading a story of mine which had been longlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition and Simon was judging the Poetry Open Mic. Elizabeth Reap was there reading from her debut novel, Red Dirt and Karl Parkinson was reading from his new novel, The Blocks. They are both excellent readers of their work. Karl’s book is hilarious, great stories in there and well-told by Mr. Parkinson.

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The next day, we went back to Kenny’s Bookstore to spend my winnings(I came third in the Open Mic Fiction) and Des, the owner took me around the massive bookshop and showed me his top pickings. I will post on these later.

Thanks, Galway, Fun was had, for sure!

A picture of us here that was taken by Dean Kelly, the gallery and event organiser there in  Kenny’s. Apparently it will adorn the walls along with Roald Dahl, Edna O’ Brien and thousands more who have visited this very cool bookstore!

Nice!

 

Writing down the bones:Natalie Goldberg:Love, love, love.

I am re-reading this amazing book. I started ages ago and forgot and then saw this brand-new 30th anniversary edition in the library so it was  sure sign!

Natalie is well-known for her books on writing, she writes so gently, spiritually about writing and the process.She really does free up your negative thoughts about the writer that you are.

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I am adding her list of topics to write about to the resource section. She recommends that you fill a notebook every month with writing, any writing to flex your muscles of writing! Then, write daily, set a clock for 5 minutes and write about anything, or her list or start to develop your own list. We have heard this advice over and over so now take heed!

Enjoy.

Rozz

“The gun” short story& my one minute to convince you to read it vlog

I love “The gun” by Mark Haddon, have a watch and see if you might like it too!

You can listen to the podcast here where Mark chats to Granta about his story and the writing process at http://granta.com/Granta-Audio-Mark-Haddon/

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You can also download a pdf of it to save to your tablet/kindle or print it out here https://web1.asl.org/jambalaya/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Mark-Haddon-The-Gun.pdf

My one minute vlog is up on youtube and it is my first try! See it here.

 

 

The Hay Festival 2016:Kells

This was my first time at the Hay Festival in Kells. I have never even been to Kells and it is a pleasant little town! I was attending the festival as a V.I.P with Simon who was reading there too as a first!

We stayed with friends so were able to nip in quickly enough to the town. There was loads of events on for kids so Emrys got to listen to stories and scribble away to his heart’s desire.

They had many, many big name and a mix of commercial, literary and a focus more so on the reading element as opposed to the writing. The organisers were really warm and welcoming to us and it is possibly the friendliest Lit festival I have attended yet.

The Green Room was located in a wonderful treasure cave of a second hand bookshop cafe and we had plenty coffee, fruit and biscuits. We were also treated to a lovely lunch in the nearby hotel.

I went to see Simon who was a guest speaker at an Amnesty International event with Colm O’ Gorman, Exec Director and they spoke about the refugee crisis. Colm is so passionate and cares so much about human rights issues, I was delighted that Emrys was kept very quiet with a bag of baby books the event organisers gave to him!

Simon took Emrys off the next day and I got to enjoy a full hour of Kevin Barry and Matthew Spangler talking about how Beatlebone should be directed if Matthew were in control! For the last half an hour of the discussion, Kevin and Matthew discussed the various ideas that had been floated on staging Beatlebone, the musical options, the actors and the budget! It was simply a unique format and I was glad for it as sometimes the typical reading of the novel can get a bit yawny.

This was all we managed to get to but we did well, just sauntering around the town and taking it in. I would definitely recommend it, the festival brochure is thick and chunky and full of events for everyone, a real inclusive one.

Thanks, Hay Festival and all who run it! From what I saw, you rocked!

 

 

Red dirt-the book of summer 2016

Red dirt is a novel written by Elizabeth Reapy, former editor of Wordlegs. Firstly, I am always in awe of someone who writes a chunky novel like this and secondly I am in serious awe that it manages to engage a “normally” only short story reader like me!

reddirt

It is a story which is divided into three sections. Elizabeth succeeds in writing in three very interesting voices and very different styles of narration. She really did not go for easy! The characters are all young, Irish people who have headed off to Australia for different reasons and at the end their worlds collide. It is an Irish novel written in what is becoming a very Irish setting, Oz.

I cannot recommend this book more for a summer read. It will keep you reading from the very start until the end. Never a hard read but never an easy one either, if you can see what I mean! The content is edgy, the dialogue is hilarious and spot-on Irish throughout. The girl has done good. Mayo people can be proud.

Red Dirt is published by Head of Zeus and it really is in every good bookshop everywhere!

Belfast Book Festival 2016

We had a nice city break in the compact and cool city of Belfast. Mum came with us and the M-boy and Simon was doing his poetry thing. He was reading with the Doire Poets showcase in the Crescent Arts Centre. Mum stayed with M-boy very kindly as he really does not quite dig poetry just yet!

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We arrived in and the lovely and very poetic Stephen Connolly welcomed us to the lovely Green Room. It was a super Green Room full of nice beverages, treats, dips and sweet things to munch on and drink while we waited.

Stephanie Conn and Michael J. Whelan were also reading with Simon and we had a lovely chat with them and their families who were up to support them.

Simon’s Uncle and Aunty were in the audience to listen to Simon, which he was delighted with as they live in Canada but were in Belfast that week.

Stephanie read from her debut collection, the woman on the other side and Michael’s collection is called Peacekeeper. Stephanie reads very well, I discovered she is a teacher so that explains her excellent reading voice though Michael read his poetry about his experiences of war with emotions well too.

Simon read 6 of his poems and it feels like Ground hog day as over the last five years of him writing these poems, I have heard them again and again. He was still great and sounded very fresh!

Afterwards, we had a drink with Stephen Connolly and we talked about all of the inside gossip of the fiction and poetry world. He walked us to a Japanese restaurant called Sakura in the University District that he recommended and it was really good.

It was a shame I didn’t get to the Short story talk but it was on at the same time as the Doire Press folk and I had to make a choice. Jan Carsen and other new Irish short story writers were speaking but I am sure I will catch them again.

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The Belfast Book Festival is one I would love to see more of but we took time to explore the Black Cab tours of political Belfast and Long’s Fish and Chips restaurant too. A girl cannot spend her time obsessing over books, you know but No Alibis Bookshop was sussed out in the end as was a really nice coffee shop that did refined sugar free goodies in it called Kaffe-O. A Hotel Chocolate shop may have been visited too.

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