A Working Holiday: Bellaghy, Annaghmakerrig, AT the Edge

It’s impossible not to feel that autumn is creeping in. Had to put on the woolly socks last night, and the light is dying in the western sky so much earlier these evenings. Even Bessa the cat is back sitting on my lap, or on her car mat in the sitting room!

Sanctuary!                                                                                                                                                    After a busy summer, I can’t wait to get back to the haven that awaits at Annaghmakerrig: a whole week to myself. And though it is a working week, it will be fantastic to have no distractions; to knuckle down to a steady period of writing. This stay will be interesting. No new collection to redraft or to edit and collate. A variety of focus:  a poetry project with national school children to prepare, a radio brief, and then – only then – more poetry.

But first, to Bellaghy . . .                                                                                                                              … and the overnight stay that had to be abandoned a couple of years ago. Since then, the Home Place has been built, and I’m looking forward to my overnight visit.  The poem ‘Grave Good’, in my collection This Little World was written about my first, flying trip to Bellaghy; made less than a year after Seamus Heaney died.  This time around, I’ll be there just a few days before the fifth anniversary of his death. Hard to believe it’s been five years.

No rest for the wicked.                                                                                                                While I’m up Ulster way, I’ll be reading on Tuesday 28 August at Cavan Library for AT the Edge – hosted by the indefatigable Kate Ennals. There are three AT the Edge sessions this year, so I’m chuffed to have been invited to take part in one of them. Tanya Farrelly and David Butler are motoring up from Bray, Co. Wicklow for the evening, and there’ll be an open mic also. Kick off is at 6.30pm.

If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, drop by!

 

 

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The Western Skyline Podcast – 16 June 2018

Lots of Arts news, and the music on the Western Skyline is from films and musicals.

Info about Cruinniú na nóg – a national day of creativity for children; art at the Russell Gallery; comedy and theatre in Galway; congrats to Mike McCormack on winning the International Dublin Literary Award with his novel Solar Bones; details about a conference on the ‘Big House’ happening at the Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna; a preview of the Sidney Nolan exhibition and symposium at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan; and a tribute to the Irish poet Macdara Woods who died the night before the show was broadcast.

MUSIC from shows and films including Chicago, the War of the Worlds, Cabaret, Toy Story, Django Unchained, Gangs of New York, The Great Gatsby, and others …

 

The Western Skyline Podcast – 21 April 2018

PLAYING TRACKS BY

Talking Heads, Big Country, Stevie Nicks, Don Henley,Blur, Howard Jones, Dire Straits, Billy Joel, Stockton’s Wing.

 

On The Western Skyline: a look at some of the coming events at the Cúirt literary festival in Galway. Gigs in Gort, Galway and Kilfenora. More news from the ‘Bosom Pals’ fundraising publication for www.breastcancerresearch.ie– an exhibition of Ruth Cadden’s illustrations for the book (see the image with this podcast c. Ruth Cadden).
Also, birthdays. And a haiku to mark Poetry Day Ireland on Thursday 26th April.
Enjoy!

 

Poetry Month: keeping on keeping on

There’s quite a post waiting to be written about ‘The Year of the Book’.

This time last year, I had just submitted the final MS of This Little World to Doire Press, and was waiting for the first editor/writer discussion. It was an exciting time, and everything was so new. Well, it was my first book, after all!

And the new experiences continue … 

The new year was barely a week old when I received some invitations to take part in readings during the year ahead. In a way, it’s hard to believe that it’s April already.

This week I got news that I’ve been awarded a writer’s residency, I was invited to participate in the Wild Voices Writers Salon readings at Listowel Writers Week, and I was invited to be a part of the special Take Heart edition of spontaneity.com The edition links up with the Take Heart Pop Up Exhibition which takes place in Dublin on 10 May. More details of that here.  Images and signed books will be auctioned, with all proceeds going to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Congrats to Ruth, Angela, and all the organisers of this great event.

For such good news, my thanks go to Co. Offaly Arts Office, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, and Ruth McKee.

Finally – It’s Poetry Month! April 26th is Ireland’s Poetry Day.

On Thursday the 26th, at 4 pm, in Ennis Educational Centre we will announce the winners of the Every Child A Poet Competition – organised and judged by the Poetry Collective. I helped draw up the shortlist, so I’m looking forward to hearing the children read their work. We had an increase in entries from last year. It’s fantastic that the kids engage with poetry, and to see the support that’s given to the competition by their teachers and parents.

Before all that fun, I’ll be reading at the DeValera Library with other members of the Poetry Collective at 11 am. The theme this year is Poetry Without Borders: we will read poems by non-Irish poets, and works we’ve written about places & people encountered abroad.  The lovely people in the Library will supply morning coffee/tea, and everyone is welcome. What we REALLY would like is if you would also bring along a favourite poem to read.

Poets and librarians don’t bite – generally! You would be so welcome.

The Western Skyline Podcast – 10 March 2018

This Western Skyline is all about The Mammy. Four poems this week, by Irish poets. And we play your requests for your mum. Plus some arts news, and wonderful classical music; instrumental and vocal.

The playlist includes Vivaldi, JS Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Elgar and Satie.
Enjoy. Hope you spoiled The Mammy!

 

#Poetry AND #Chocolate for Easter!

Loveens! Are you well?

And poetry lovers – did you have a nice World Poetry Day?

I’ve just been updating d’aul Writer’s CV. It never ends, the administration!

This time last year, I was working like mad on the final drafts of This Little WorldIt’s hard to believe that a year has gone by. And what a wonderful, creative, engaging year it has been!        I’ll write a bit more about that soon.

Sold another book today – always a nice event. There are just ten books remaining here in my literary HQ.  Doire Press have a couple, and there are also copies at the Ennis Bookshop.    Easter is coming up. What could be better than chocolate for Easter?   Poetry AND chocolate! Jus’ sayin’.

So, I’m still scribbling away.  I’ve put up a few reading events on the website; if you can get to any of them, it would be lovely to see you. I’m reading with the Poetry Collective at the DeValera Library in Ennis, next Thursday.  (The Library’s hosting lunchtime readings once a month.)

So, if you’re in Ennis doing the shopping, or just want a break from the office, why not come along and hear a variety of work at 1.00pm on 29 March.

If we don’t see you there – Happy Easter.

Remember … Poetry & Chocolate, Chocolate & Poetry!

‘This Little World’ – Made by the Blarney Chocolate Factory, Blarney, Co. Cork.

 

Putting myself on the Writer’s Block

I was delighted to be interviewed by Sophie Grenham of The Gloss Magazine. The result appeared online this week, and I’ve put up the link below.

It’s lovely to be asked questions about one’s writing. Answering them is another matter! As I said to Sophie, I hope I avoided being a git and actually made some sense. Questions are good, though; like the students in NUI Galway, they made me think a bit more about what I do, and why.

The most daunting question is, What’s Next?

I hope you enjoy the interview.

http://thegloss.ie/writers-block-with-karen-j-mcdonnell/

Cover for This Little World
© Karen J McDonnell & Doire Press

Highfalutin’ in Capital City

Just booked my train tickets to Capital City – and I’m high as a highfalutin’ gal can be!

SO looking forward to joining the rest of the gang for the gig  tomorrow at the Liquor Rooms on Wellington Quay.  It’s organised by the amazing Anne Tannam, so we know that it’s going to be fantastic. Still haven’t finalised what poems I’ll read from This Little World.  There’ll be a few copies for sale, by the way.   The fun kicks off at 7.30pm – so bigí linn!

Now, where did I put my ‘good’ handbag …

 

The Western Skyline Podcast – 27 January 2018

The Bothy Band. That’s all there is to say!

This week on Kinvara FM, The Western Skyline looks at film, theatre and festival news. There’s a poem, and the music is traditional and folk from some of Ireland’s greatest performers – including Stockton’s Wing, Martin Hayes, Denis Cahill, The Chieftains, Seamus Ennis, Shaun Davey, Rita Connolly, The Bothy Band, and Liam Og O’Flynn. A special treat is the 11 minutes 36 seconds track: ‘Lord Baker’, sung by Sinead O’Connor & Christy Moore.
Enjoy the show.

Ennis Book Club Festival – Launching!

Tomorrow, I’m heading into Ennis to help launch this year’s Ennis Book Club Festival.

Not too long to go now, and the excitement is mounting!

If you’re around the town, drop in to the Temple Gate Hotel at 12.30pm to get the party started. If you can’t join us tomorrow, you can find out all you need to know about the Festival by clicking here.

Time to get some of the work by authors who are visiting Ennis in March, so I’ll also be dropping in to the Ennis Bookshop to spend my Christmas book token. They also have a few copies of my book, This Little World in stock. Ahem.

Cover for This Little World
© Karen J McDonnell & Doire Press