STACCATO Spoken Word Night

STACCATO, Dublin’s newest spoken word event, takes place in Toner’s Pub, Baggot Street on the last Wednesday of the month. It’s facilitated by writers Tanya Farrelly and David Butler who do a great job of curating a night with an enjoyably eclectic mix of poetry, fiction and live music.

I took part in their January event in the company of some wonderful writers.staccato poster

It’s tough to choose the right novel extract to read, I find. You want to pick something that gives a decent flavour of the book but that also works as a stand-alone episode. The worst thing you can do is bore everyone to tears with lengthy backstory explanations before you even start, or confuse them by introducing multiple characters. I ended up opting for chapter 5 of Skin, Paper, Stone for those reasons. Maire_Staccato

Kate Dempsey gave a wonderful reading of poems from her recently published collection The Space Between (Doire Press, 2015).  staccato_kate

Jack Harte read “The Silent One”, a powerful short story about the loss of childhood innocence and the dangers of religious fundamentalism. The story is available to read here via Ofi Press.  staccato_Jack

Iggy McGovern read a selection of his poems, some of which are available to read here, including my personal favourite “The Bony”. staccato_iggy

My highlight of the evening was Órfhlaith Foyle’s chillingly compelling story “How I Murdered Lucrezia”. It features in her short story collection Clemency Brown Dreams of Gin. You can read more about Órfhlaith’s work via her blog herestaccato_orfhlaith

Phil Lynch read a selection of poems from his début collection which will be published later this year. Make sure to keep an eye out for it. staccato_phil

We were also treated to a rendition of “Space Oddity” by MC Tanya Farrelly and singer-songwriter Mark Flynn which was the perfect ending to the evening.staccato_tanya and mark flynn

The next STACCATO event takes place on Wednesday, February 24th. For more information you can follow on facebook and twitter.

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Over the Edge July Writers’ Gathering

over the edge_groupI had a fantastic time taking part in the July Over the Edge Writers’ Gathering in Galway City Library on Thursday. I was in great company alongside Doire Press writers Paul O’Reilly and Eamon Carr; wordsonthestreet writers Lorne Patterson and John Fogarty; and poet Mary Madec. I enjoyed each of the readings and the cúpla scoops afterwards, and I now have a bunch of new reading material that I’m looking forward to getting stuck into.

This was a special reading for me as Galway is my second home. I lived there for about 8 years in total and it’s the setting for my novel Skin, Paper, Stone. I used to attend the Over the Edge events a fair bit. In fact, the first time I ever read my work in public was at one of their open mics back in 2008. It’s great to see these events still going strong. It’s testament to the time, care and energy that Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar DuMars put into organising them.040(Thanks to John from Doire Press for sending me on the photos.)

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Review of Skin, Paper, Stone: For Books’ Sake

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“Skin Paper Stone, populated with intriguing characters and set against the backdrop of the atmospheric Galway, is an engaging début from a promising new Irish voice.”

Skin, Paper, Stone is reviewed today by For Books’ Sake, an amazing organisation that champions writing by women.

This is my first UK review (by one of my favourite websites) so needless to say I’m delighted with it.

You can read the review in full here.

Belfast Book Festival 2015

IMG_4003I had an amazing time at the Belfast Book Festival last weekend. I took part in an event with fellow New Island début novelists Doreen Finn and Gerard Lee which was chaired by the wonderful Jane Wenham-Jones. We each read the opening from our respective books and then chatted about writing, publication, our influences, and our advice for aspiring authors.

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Our event took place in the Crescent Arts Centre, a beautiful multi-purpose arts space. Many of the festival events took place there and it also played host to SacrumProfanum, an exhibition by Kimberly Campanello and Benjamin Dwyer which used poetry, visual art, video installation and music to explore sheela-na-gigs.

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Stevie, the main character in my novel Skin, Paper, Stone is researching sheela-na-gigs so the fact that this was on while I was in Belfast felt particularly fortuitous.  There’s so much mystery surrounding these stone carvings and the exhibition managed to capture some of that enigma.

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As editor of Short Story Ireland, I’m always on the lookout for literary magazines and publication opportunities for short story writers, so The Incubator Journal is something that’s been on my radar for some time. I had time to make a flying visit to their launch of issue 5 on the way to catch my train back to Dublin. It took place in The Black Box (which looked like another great arts space). There’s something wonderful about hearing writers reading their own work and there was a lovely, eclectic mix of poetry, short story and memoir.

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The Belfast Book Festival has only been going for four years but has already established itself as a key event in the literary calendar. It’s definitely worth a visit. Roll on 2016!

Bring Skin, Paper, Stone On Your Holiers

skin paper stone coverBooks Ireland Magazine is running a ‘summer reader’s pack’ competition. All you have to do is enter your email address to win the following three books:

  • The Secrets We Share by Emma Hannigan
  • Skin, Paper, Stone by Máire T. Robinson
  • What Becomes of Us by Henrietta McKervey

“This trilogy of books by female Irish authors offers a wonderful selection to accompany an afternoon soaking up the sun at home or abroad.”

You can enter the competition here.