I am particularly pleased to have my short story ‘Runner’ in The Honest Ulsterman, online on Thursday June 28th. Launched 40 years ago as ‘A Handbook for Revolution’, it has showcased world-class writers such as Seamus Heaney, Medbh McGuckian, Michael Longley, Louis McNeice – an amazing list.
A Taster here of my Short story ‘The Road’ featured in New Welsh Reader Summer Issue #117 alongside fiction by Joao Morais, Mihangel Morgan and Anna Vaught. This is the opening story of my Collection ‘A City Burning’ for which I’m seeking a publisher.
Pleasure despite excruciating pain. I find myself recommending a tormenting thrill. Gwyneth Lewis’s Welsh poem Henaint and her translation of it into English, Old Age are excellent examples of the wonderful double enjoyment that a poet working in two languages can offer.
To read the Welsh poem and find its adjacent English version is like diving into one pool to discover it linked underwater to a twin, from which one emerges, amazed to have experienced two related worlds whose contents are refracted to the eye and ear by differing slants of colour, angle and echo: an exciting, astonishing experience – and repeatable! Do read these poems now in a special online edition of Eborakon poetry magazine. Continue reading Gwyneth Lewis – Henaint / Old Age, a double pleasure in Welsh and English→
‘A dream unquestioned is a letter unopened’. Apparently. Do you agree?
Twenty years ago I was in the grip of prolonged and serious physical pain due to a then-undiagnosed condition. I couldn’t work as normal. I spent long periods confined to the house. Someone was very unkind to me and, as a way of acknowledging his fault without having to say it aloud, he handed me a book, saying I might find it of interest. I had plenty of time to read it thoroughly, footnotes and all and, in one of those, discovered a reference to a book that came to mind forcefully this morning.
I woke from a dream so vivid and engaging that I was able to write down the dialogue between the figures in it and to describe their outward and inward dispositions, partly because I had ‘been’ them all, inhabiting the action from their perspectives. This is not possible in waking life. At least not with the immediate and assured access a dream affords.
This morning’s scenes, I realised, in which I was both multiply participant and also the observer, opened up for me a way to go deeper into a character in the novel I’m writing.
The fourth research trip for my novel (6th – 17th April), coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, was necessarily a time of public reflection, assessment and forecasting about peace and conflict, in great depth and with many of the major actors back in the spotlight.
The third research trip for my novel started and ended with snow. My flight from Cardiff to Belfast was delayed by 23 inches of it near the airport and by another fall on the return but I encountered nothing other than warmth from the people I met in Northern Ireland.
It was a pleasure to spend time with teachers, schoolchildren, community workers, experts in Irish and Ulster Scots, journalists, farmers and agricultural experts. I also enjoyed two great reading gigs and came home with a prize certificate.
The motto of Belfast on the carpeted floor of the City Hall: For so much received what return can we make? I’m looking forward to returning to Northern Ireland for my third research trip for my novel from 3rd to 19th March.
I hope to be mainly outside the capital this time but here are two of my favourite Belfast buildings: the Art-Deco former Bank of Ireland…