The nominees for this year’s Hennessy Literary Awards have been announced: Hennessy Nominees Announced & New Home For New Irish Writing. Hearty congratulations to all nominees!
The winners will be announced on February 24th.
The article also reveals exciting news about New Irish Writing: the hugely influential and popular writing page has moved to The Irish Times.
I’m also delighted that the following writerly friends join me on the shortlist:
- Writing.ie – needs no introduction to anyone interested in writing in Ireland, run by writerly powerhouse Vanessa O’Loughlin
- Women Rule Writer – by prolific Irish writer Nuala ní Chonchúir. Nuala’s is one of the longest-running Irish writer blogs.
- K. S. Moore – by writer K. S. Moore
- A Year of Festivals in Ireland – by the much-travelled Mark Graham
- Rant, with Occasional Music – by writer and musician Derek Flynn
Best of luck to all the other shortlistees for the next stage of the competition: the Finalist List, to be published on September 29th.
Here are the other blogs in the Arts and Culture category. Do check them out and subscribe to any that grab you!
- Westown Life
- We Love Town
- Vintage Irish Book Covers
- Vagabond Language
- Time Travel Ireland
- The Woolly Way of Ireland
- The Thursday Interview
- The Irish Aesthete
- The Brightness Project
- PJLynch Gallery
- No More Workhorse
- Mcs Irish Art
- Literary Flotsam & Jetsam by an Attempted Human
- Epitome Absolute
- Built Dublin
- Arts Management
I completely love the internet. (I suppose I wouldn’t be much of a blogger if I didn’t.) Just this morning, it presented me with a little piece of joy: Thomas Hardy’s poem Afterwards read by the actor Jeremy Irons, with music and performance by Jon Lord, formerly of Deep Purple, and images by YouTube user AntPDC. The clip is here, and the full text of the poem is here.
The recording is a real gem of blended media. At the risk of indulging in hyperbole, I’m not sure how the piece could be better. Irons’ sonorous, seductive voice, Hardy’s sensuous, nature-steeped word-picture, the deep beauty of the original photography by AntPDC and Lord’s soothing, flowing piano are simply a perfect combination.
Hardy’s poem is also a joy to experience on its own. I’ve always loved the dusky, musky, earthy world of Hardy’s poems. (During Wind and Rain is another lifelong favourite of mine, with its “creeping moss” and “rotten rose”.)
One of the things about Afterwards that tickles my fancy are the little insights it gives us into how the English language has changed, even in the relatively short time since the poem was first published (1917). A lovely example is Hardy’s use of the phrase “at last” in the first line of verse four:
“If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last…”
In Hardy’s day, “at last” was used simply to mean “at the end”. That usage is now all but obsolete and we now use it to mean “after a long wait”, with overtones of irritation and relief. Despite how this line sounds to our 2013 ears, we can safely assume that Hardy was not waiting impatiently for his own death. I love how the line shows the effects of time on language usage, with the resulting unintended humour.
My thanks go to Irish playwright and novelist John Mac Kenna, who alerted me to the recording.
Phew! Another Waterford Writers’ Weekend has been and gone.
I was delighted to make it to five events over the weekend. Here’s an overview in pictures.
Event: Making Social Media Work for You
Venue: Greyfriars Gallery
Venue: Sabai restaurant
Event: To Blog or Not to Blog
Venue: Waterford Medieval Museum
Event: Writing Winning Short Stories
Venue: Greyfriars Gallery
Event: “Love is the Easy Bit” by Mary Grehan book launch
Speakers (l-r): Caroline Senior, Managing Director of Garter Lane Arts Centre, author Mary Grehan
Venue: Garter Lane Arts Centre
The festival organisers really hit it out of the park this year. One of them told me that their aim with the programme was to focus on the writers. They certainly achieved this aim with a line-up of events that covered a huge range of the skills that today’s writers need, or at least need to be aware of: social media, self-publishing, blogging, how to approach writing competitions, breaking into journalism, and more.
The panel discussion format was used for most of the events I attended. This worked very well. With the best intentions in the world, the audience can start to get a bit glassy-eyed at events where a single person speaks for an hour or more. With panel discussions, on the other hand, there is a variety of faces and voices to sustain your attention, the discussion is naturally more varied and dynamic, and there is a chairperson to keep it all together, move things along when required, field audience questions, and make sure everyone gets their say.
A highlight for me was the final event of the weekend, which was held last night in Garter Lane Arts Centre. It was the launch of Mary Grehan‘s novel, Love is the Easy Bit. Mary is a huge success story: she is the only new author to be signed by Penguin Ireland in the last 18 months. We are very proud of her here in Waterford and delighted to bask in her reflected glory.
The format of the launch was interesting. We all took our seats in the theatre auditorium and Mary gave an excellent reading. She was then interviewed on stage, which was highly entertaining and interesting. Lastly, there were questions from the audience by means of a roving microphone.
The organisers of Waterford Writers’ Weekend have set the bar very high for themselves if they are to make next year’s festival as good as or better than this one. But they are a bunch of highly motivated, organised and ambitious folk. I’m looking forward to WWW14 already!
PS. Needless to say, there were lots of other events over the weekend that I didn’t make it to. If anyone out there wants to contribute something about any of those other events, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.