Books, glorious books

2019-10-30T13:26:46+00:00 October 30th, 2019|Categories: Events, Personal, Reviews|Tags: , , , , |

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.


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)

In Order to LiveYeonmi Park‘s incredible story of escape from totalitarian North Korea 

Her Kind – Niamh Boyce‘s brilliant tale of a medieval Irish woman accused of witchcraft and her household. It’s absolutely gripping. 

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!



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