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Friday, July 12, 2013

The Galway Review

The Galway Review is an online literary magazine which can be found at

I'm delighted to have 5 poems included in the zine this week which can be found at

You will also find many quality poems and literary pieces by other writers here too.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Herbalist

One of the biggest events in literary Ireland over the past two years has been the publication of The Herbalist by Penguin Ireland.  It is written by Niamh Boyce who was the Hennessy XO New Irish Writer of the year in 2012. 
If you see Niamh Boyce's debut novel in the shop then you should buy it and read it. Now I know Niamh from her poetry mostly and the odd short story in magazines and journals that I've seen and I've always admired her work. I was completely impressed reading this novel which is set in 1930's Ireland where censorship of books is rife and morality in society is to a large extent dictated by the Catholic Church.  Isn't it wonderful to have a new voice in Irish literature that has the perspective of all that has gone down the river (the river is important in this book) since the '30s and especially in most recent years; the downfall of the church, the Magdalen laundries etc.?
I loved that there was an element of magic and fantasy included in the book that is blended with religious faith which is a uniquely Irish thing and Boyce is a real Irish storyteller.  I loved the imagery of birds and wings manifest in the blackbirds in Sarah's bedroom and where Carmel greets fate.  (If you believe in fate).  I also loved the easy intimacy with which the story of the book is told, again this is the sign of a fine writer.  The characters in the book are very engaging.  Emily, the young girl who befriends the Herbalist is a real knave, as is the Herbalist himself.  This is a book about women, their relationships, their dreams, their search for independence.  And poor Rose, indeed poor Rose.
My favourite part of the book is when Aggie and Emily rescue Sarah from the Herbalist's cottage and escape upstream in Biddy the boat.  To say anymore would be to give too much away. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Artistic Atlas of Galway

The Artistic Atlas of Galway is seeking financial backing and you can sponsor it here:

The Artistic Atlas of Galway aims to highlight the artistic capital of Galway City and County, the people that live in it and those that pass through it.
Over 70 full colour pages of short-stories, poetry, photography and art-work with 7 A3 Posters.

In the summer of 2011 canvassing began for poetry, short stories, artwork and photography. With Galway as the common theme.

Since then the work submitted has be compiled into themes based on certain aspects of Galway. From these themes conceptual maps have been drawn up, influenced by the texts and images submitted.
These maps, drawn by artists and designers, will allow people to visit places and read the landscape in different ways. You will be able to walk the land and see its stories, poetry and art in the same way you see its contours, rivers and streets.

The Artistic Atlas of Galway presents the work of over 40 artists, writers and photographers in a truly unique way!

Keep in touch on Facebook:

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Battle of the Books 2013

The Boyne Writers' Group took on The Meath Writers' Circle last night in the Battle of the Books in the Trim Castle Hotel as part of the Swift Satire Festival.  Satire, oh no not again, when I think of writing satire I feel perplexed because it is not the easiest thing to define.  However, according to the judges last night, both teams made a fair stab at satire and Michael Farry especially seems to have nailed the concept.  His scores of 9 and 9.5 topped the night. One judge said Swift himself would have been proud of Farry's piece. Another judge christened him the 'Susan Boyle' of the competition. Caroline Finn and Paul Kerr performed their writing admirably for The Boyne Writers.  Of Caroline's work a judge said that it was like "a thin man trying to get out of a fat man's body!"

Fore in the mind of The Meath Writers' Circle was their deceased compatriot Tommy Murray. He was well remembered on the night by Michael Sheils and Frank Murphy. It was a lovely and entertaining night. Well done to the participants who really shone in a competitive climate.

Well done too, to Paddy Smith, MC, whose clever puns evoked many a titter and helped to disperse the charged atmosphere.

I will add photos later.