When I win the Lotto, I’m going to spend my time reading books and talking books and going to book festivals and maybe, maybe even writing books.
(I should probably start doing the Lotto.)
This week I was delighted to host a panel at the Waterford Writers’ Weekend, part of the Imagine Arts Festival, discussing the short story collection Belfast Stories.
View this post on Instagram
Thanks @clancy2595 for this lovely shot of the event I hosted at @imagineartsfestival #waterfordwritersweekend yesterday. St Patrick’s is a stunning venue and Jan, Wendy and Shannon who contributed to #belfaststories were absolutely fascinating to listen to. If you like short stories and you are interested in learning a bit more about life in the North of Ireland away from the headlines, I’d definitely recommend it. We talked about abortion, Arlene, the Dup, segregation and silence plus lots more. Thanks @cathogan1 for having me #shortstories #belfast #thenorthisnow #irishwriting #britishwriting #carefulnow #events #mclife #work #books #reading #bookblogger #booklover
It’s a nifty little collection of varied short stories. It’s a completely new look at the North for someone like me, who’s been there twice on holidays, has a couple of minor personal connections there but in reality knows very little about daily life North of the border.
Yes, the Troubles are in there, but so are ordinary everyday themes like snobbery, regret, addiction, spirituality and family.
In Waterford, I interviewed Jan Carson, Shannon Yee and Wendy Erskine who all contributed to the book with stories on family life, new motherhood and bittersweet endings.
I particularly related to Shannon’s story – a simple enough tale of a new mother out walking a sleepless baby, overlaid with a dilemma around race and sectarianism.
Jan was really enlightening on her personal journey as a both person and a writer who grew up very much on one side of the divide and has come to realise how wrong the situation is… her new book focuses on this and will be out in 2021. I can’t wait.
Tonight, I’ll be interviewing Cork thriller writer Catherine Kirwan at Waterstone’s about her novel Darkest Truth, which is the Cork One City One Book novel for 2019. Well worth a read if you haven’t picked it up, and do come along to Waterstone’s for 6pm this evening to hear the interview.
Other good books I’ve read recently:
Three Little Truths – Eithne Shortall‘s new novel is a fun page-turner (for more click the Insta link)
View this post on Instagram
I read this new release from @eithne.shortall over the weekend and I absolutely loved it! Jo Spain’s blurb on the back says it’s like a combination of @marian_keyes, Liane Moriarty and Maeve Binchy & I actually couldn’t describe it better. Set in Dublin, it’s the story of the dramas and personalities of a small cul de sac, seen both through the eyes of individual characters and through the lens of the neighborhood poker game WhatsApp (which is hilarious). Great lively characters and a well plotted dramatic arc. I loved it! #threelittletruths #fiction #irishfiction #irishwriting #irishauthors #irishbooks #bookstagram
In Order to Live – Yeonmi Park‘s incredible story of escape from totalitarian North Korea
Of Music and Splendour – Kate O’Brien’s novel, written in the 1950s, about two Irish girls sent to the Continent in the late 1890s to study opera. It’s a real eye opener about how backward Ireland was compared to mainland Europe, and I learned loads about opera!