A Festival of Writing; A Festival of Reading

Image result for ennis book club festival 2019

If it’s the first weekend in March, it can only mean one thing – it’s time for the Ennis Book Club Festival.

And this year, thank goodness, there’s no Storm Emma dumping tons of snow on the country to cancel the whole thing.  Storm Freya is approaching from the south though, but so far all we have had to deal with is LOTS of rain. And hey! – a book festival is mostly indoors anyhoo!

Yesterday, I joined my companeros in the Poetry Collective, and other poetry lovers, for the monthly First Friday in the library in Ennis. We had a great crowd – the interest is growing for this monthly event. Thanks to Martin Vernon who is such a good host, and who read a lovely poem in memory of his sister. AND who brought a lovely vase of daffodils and treated us to Wordsworth’s poem. A lovely Spring reading.

Then to St Columba’s church to hear Thomas Lynch speak on death and grief and memory. He got a wonderful introduction from writer Grace Wells. Then he mused on the loss of writers Philip Casey, Macdara Woods, Dennis O’Driscoll, Seamus Heaney and Matthew Sweeney – such a rollcall of the lost.  But the work remains.  Thank you, Tom, for your company and gracious words.

And now, I must sign off and head into Ennis again. This morning it’s the tradition to go to ’10 Books You Should Read’  with my mother.  In the afternoon, I join my sister poets for a #Fired inspired reading in the Record Break Café –  The Seven Sisters.  As with last year, we will read some of our own work, but also work by Irish poets who have been neglected in the last hundred years or so.  This year I’m reading work by Helen Waddell.

After last year’s cancellation, it’s a joy to be joining in the live recording of RTÉ radio’s live recording of Sunday Miscellany. That takes place in Glór at 11.30am. There may be a few tickets left for the early birds!

And so – to the Festival!

The Western Skyline Podcast- 01 December 2018

On the show Kieran O’Halloran tells us about a new Open Mic venue in Ballyvaughan, there’s news of Christmas concerts around the area, new exhibitions, and a few bookish ideas for Christmas gifts! And we pay tribute to two treasures in the Irish music world – Alex Finn, and Micheál Ó Súilleabháin.

The Western Skyline Podcast – 17 November 2018

On The Western Skyline this week – my guests Tonii Kelly and Chris Banahan discuss the process of editing, and book illustration – in this case, the bi-annual journal ‘Guaire’, and Aine Kelly’s new book of short stories.

Plus good music, news of local art exhibitions, a children’s competition, and a special shout out for Chris Droney – trad musician extraordinaire who celebrated his 90th birthday with a big bash at Glor in Ennis!

Culture Night 2018 – What made me a reader

Delighted to be taking part in this event, which is being hosted by the mighty Sarah Clancy.

Culture Night – ‘The Book that Made Me A Reader’

Venue: DeValera Library, Harmony Row, Ennis, Co. Clare.  At  6.30pm  Friday, 21 September.

And what book have I picked? An impossible choice, as I’m sure you will agree.                                At first I took the idea a bit too literally – as is my wont.  A kids comic, read aged four, isn’t going to hack it. Enid Blyton and the Chalet School books are all a bit obvious. When I’d got through all those and my brothers books, my mother pointed in the direction of her Agatha Christies on the bookshelf in the sitting room.  No wonder I was such a ghoulish teenager! But, though my car is called Agatha in honour of the same lady … no, Poirot and Marple aren’t the people for this gig.

So, what have I chosen? As you probably can’t come along to the session in Ennis library, I’ll let you in on the secret.  Walter Macken. As the bored child with nothing to read, I was given these Mackens by my darling Grannie. And I couldn’t stop reading his books. I devoured all of my grandmother’s copies, eventually buying more myself. I was still a young teenager.

And for afters? Zola. My father gave me ‘Earth’ (La Terre), when I was about fifteen. My love affair with Zola didn’t diminish. I even ended up buying the whole Rougon Macquart series a few years ago – in French!  There they were, in the front window of Scéal Eile – the gorgeous independent bookshop in Ennis. ALL of them. Calling to me.  So I bought them.

The list goes on and on and on and on and on and …

Reader, I’m a fool for a good book.

What about you?

 

The Western Skyline Podcast 21 October 2017

There seems to be less and less time between each radio show! This should bring us up to date with the podcasts.  Here is last Saturday’s.

In this week’s Western Skyline there’s arts news, and listings of upcoming Hallowe’en events. We preview the upcoming Comedy Festival in Galway and play some vintage comedy clips  -including the great Tom Lehrer. Finally, there are some tracks in homage to George Michael, following the release of the documentary ‘Freedom’. In the show, I mention a Rolling Stone item about the documentary. You can read that here. And the BBC are saying that Michael is heading for a posthumous number 1 after the airing of the documentary. Read that news clip here.              I hope you enjoy the show. AND, if there is a book club out there interested in reading Lincoln at the Bardo and also Cré na Cille … well we’d love to have you in the studio to discuss them!  Contact me at kinvarafm@gmail.com putting The Western Skyline in the subject line. Or tweet @kinvarafm
Image © Karen McDonnell

Shopping and …

You can read a new blog about my trip to Beara, by clicking above on the Writer’s Blog ^^^^^^

Am just home from a trip into Galway. Haven’t been in all summer; too busy with the Radio Diploma and work experience in West Clare. It was time for a bit of necessary (ahem) shopping: a boxload of my favourite coffee in M&S, mini hot cross buns, and a coffee & walnut cake.

Treats over, there was money spent on paint and a new lampshade for the guest room, and boring but essential printer ink. WHY is printer ink so expensive? Answers on a postcard please …

I also got my hands on these beauties:

Autumn Reading © Karen J McDonnell
Autumn Reading
© Karen J McDonnell

That’s me sorted for the lengthening evenings at edge of Europe. (Oooooh, I love getting book tokens as gifts!)