Archive of ‘reading’ category

Cork Short Story Festival 2017

David Means. April Ayers Lawson. Denis Johnson. Purchases from the best Waterstones Bookshop in Cork.

Also wandered into Vibes and Scribes. May have bought more books. Posts to follow.

Room little darker by June Caldwell

At last I get it! I have had so many books to finish, start and look at. I am in the middle of a house renovation and back in after moving out though there is a lot to do still! My books are in piles, boxes etc and everywhere so excuse the lack of book posts.

I have been reading Joy William’s Honoured Guest and purchased June Caldwell’s debut short story collection, Room little darker. I usually will commit to buying a book from a debut author by the first page, first few sentences and this collection had to be bought. I read the first story, Upcycle, in one go last night before bed. I really liked it. Dark, bizarre yet as if a friend were telling me the story.

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Always good to get a truly unique take on Irish life. Book blurbs might say the writing is unique but June’s surely is!

I will review as soon as I have read further.

Room little darker by June Caldwell is published by New Island Press.

Honoured Guest by Joy Williams and her endings

I am enjoying Honoured Guest by Joy Williams. The characters are genuinely hilarious and odd. The situations are even odder though Joy writes about surreal events, I absolutely believed that these things could happen. In “Congress” we have a story of an unhappy couple, Jack and Miriam. Jack is not a very nice person. He is smug. Dislike. Miriam is weak, walked all over, refuses to speak up and puts up with a lot. Jack moves his student lover boy in and Miriam is still passive though shows rebellion by striking up a relationship with a lamp made from four deer’s feet.

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Surreal but understandable?

I am re-reading “Congress” especially the last paragraph. Simon, my husband is being forced to listen to the last paragraph of it too! We have puzzled over the last two lines and wonder what she means. I am slowly understanding. Should a short story take this long?

Probably!

 

Off to Listowel with thanks to Carlow County Council Arts funding

I received word today that an application I sent through to Carlow County Council for Arts Service funding this year was successful. I had applied to attend the Listowel Writers Festival in June and taking a place in Danielle Mc Laughlin’s short fiction workshop, which runs for 2 days.

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I greatly admire Danielle, her writing and her helpfulness as a writer to other little writers like me. I have a sneaking feeling that she will be as good of a teacher as she is a writer.

Talent.

 

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!

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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

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