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!

Advertisements

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.

Go East, Poet, Go East!

And I am.

I’m heading across the Shannon, to Emo Court in Co. Laois, to take part in this lovely festival.

I’ll be reading with Denise Curtin and Paddy Moran, and there’ll be music from Gary Dunne.        Seamus Hosey will be putting manners on us all.  So, if you’re around the Laois area next Saturday, join us at 3pm in the Drawing Room.

Such a treat to be reading in a building as magnificent as Emo Court. Thanks to Muireann Ní Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer, for the invitation, and to the OPW for letting poets run loose in the place!

There’s lots of music over the weekend. There’s poetry on Friday from Jean O’Brien, Helen Ivory & Martin Figura, and on Saturday evening Kevin Barry & Lisa Harding will be chatting to Seán Rocks. You can view the full programme at http://www.laois.ie – Arts Office. Booking is on http://www.dunmaise.ie – Dunmaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise.

Culture Night & Che Guevara

A great weekend, altogether.

Last Friday was Culture Night in Ireland – and the goodies on offer were only legion!                       My contribution was reading poetry in two different parts of Clare.

Firstly the Clare Poetry Collective linked up for a reading in the Library in Ennis, with contributions from the floor, including Michéal FitzGearailt – a young man from whom we hope to hear more.

Then it was zoom! off in Might Aphrodite the Blue Polo, back to North Clare and the Salmon Bookshop & Literary Centre in Ennistymon. I joined Eleanor Cummins at 7pm for round two. The shop was cosy with rugs, and lovely lights, and the audience was warm and receptive. Everyone first said what their favourite poem was. Then Eleanor and I read some poems. Thanks Ellie, for having me over and, ‘Get Well Soon, Jessie!

Saturday saw me back in the car, motoring down along the coast to Kilkee. The Clare Poetry Collective had a gig at the Che Do Bheatha Festival.  Is it not the best name for a festival that you’ve ever heard?

Well, Irish people will get it.

Che mural , Kilkee
© Karen J McDonnell

The rain stayed away until we got into the Sweeney Library – which was fine with us.  We read turn and turn about, with contributions from the audience.  Thanks to Anne at the Library for delaying closing up until the last Che-themed poem was read! We really enjoyed ourselves, and it was lovely to meet up with friends from out Moyasta way.  A well-deserved chowder and brown bread in Bay View; where I stayed as a tiny tot with Grannie  (now changed, changed utterly!).  Then it was home again to the Burren.

All in all, a stimulating weekend. And lovely to be invited to participate. Thanks, lads.

Clifden Arts Festival – let’s be havin’ ya!

Photo © Clifden Arts Festival

 

The B&B has been organised, the snacks are being stockpiled, and the reading list is nearly complete!         CLIFDEN – Let’s be havin’ Ya!

On Wednesday 13 September 2017  I’ll be taking part in the Doire Press Readings – with writer Martin Malone   [click here for full details]

Venue: Clifden Library             Time: 4.00pm

I’ll be reading poems from This Little World  (Doire Press, 2017), and Martin will be reading fiction – I think!

If I’m lucky, I might get to meet Michael D. as he’s opening the Festival later in the evening. (We’re fierce casual with our President in this country!)

If you know anyone in Connemara who would like to come along … please pass along the details. Hell, come along and bring the clan with ya!

Major thanks to Brendan Flynn, and all the team, for the invitation. My first Clifden Arts Festival – and I get to read at it.

I’m a lucky woman.

 

Readings for Pal Fest July 11th

Door - Bethlehem C. Karen McDonnell
Door – Bethlehem
C. Karen McDonnell

Laura Mulcahy is hosting a Teeny Tiny Arts Fest in aid the Irish Pal Fest, next Saturday, 11 July in Ballymacahill, Ennis.

You can find out more at https://www.facebook.com/teenytinyarts

Please donate if you can.

The Poetry Collective will read from 6-8pm. I will read from Unsettled, A West Bank Journal.

Nascent settlement seen from the slopes of Herodian, 2008. C. Karen McDonnell
Nascent settlement seen from the slopes of Herodian, 2008.
C. Karen McDonnell