A few cities, a couple of books and several small towns

April 6, 2018

The next few weeks are shaping up to be pretty busy so here’s a bit of a lowdown on where I’ll be (for at least some of the time) and what will be going on while I’m there.

On Sunday 8thApril, I’ll be visiting the Book Club at Seamus Heaney HomePlace to chat to the members there about The Watch House. This is the nearest book club to my own home place in Lavey and I’m delighted that they’ve chosen The Watch House to read. Book club visits can be a bit scary for an author.  Many are fuelled by coffee and cake; some by wine and nibbles; a few, apparently, by bitterness and fury. In my experience, the wine-drinkers tend to be the most affable but I’ve had book clubbers suggest rewrites (too late!), add new plot twists (where were you when I needed you?), point out historical inaccuracies (there goes months of research out the window) and some who have downright hated the book. They don’t tend to hold back just because the author happens to be in the room. I’m hoping they’ll go easy on me on Sunday.

Wednesday 11thApril is my first One City One Book event for The Long Gaze Back when I’ll join writer Jan Carson and fellow Long Gaze Back contributor Anne Devlin at 6pm in Finaghy Library in Belfast for chat and readings from the award-winning short story anthology. This is a free event. Everyone is welcome. For more details on the full programme of One City One Book events for April and to book a place for the Finaghy Library event, have a look on my Events Page.

Thursday 12thApril I’ll be at Blanchardstown Library in Dublin for a second One City One Book event, along with anthology editor Sinéad Gleeson and fellow contributors Lia Mills and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne. Again, everyone is welcome to this free event. Full details and booking here.

From Dublin to Glasgow and to Crossways, the Irish Scottish Literary & Cultural Festival organized by Irish Pages where, on Saturday 14thApril, together with writer Beatrice Colin, I’ll be reading at 3pm at the Vic Bar in the Tron Theatre. Free event. All welcome. More information on the event and booking here.

Sunday 22ndApril I’ll be back at the picturesque and very welcoming Ballyeamon Barn in Cushendall, home of storyteller Liz Weir, for an all-day writing workshop. The workshop is fully subscribed but if you’d like more information on staying at the Barn (which has an excellent loft for a mini writing retreat) or on future workshops or activities there, have a look at the website and contact Liz.

Thursday 26th April at 6pm at Hodges Figgis Bookshop in Dublin is the launch of Reading the Future: New Writing from Ireland, edited by Alan Hayes and published by Arlen House. The collection will be launched by Joseph Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. I’m delighted to have an extract from a new short story included in the collection.

Saturday 28thApril I’ll be at the Verbal Arts Centre, Derry, giving a talk on book promotion as part of Mindshift’s An Expert’s Guide to Promoting Your Book where I’ll join Mary Byrne, PR Director at Harper Collins Ireland; Patricia Hamilton, Director of Aspects Festival, Bangor, and Michelle MacMullan, Senior News Anchor at Newstalk. Full details and booking on the Irish Writers’ Centre website.

From Derry to Hillsborough and the Hillsborough Festival of Literature and Ideas organised by the John Hewitt Society where on Sunday 29thApril I’ll be one of five writers taking part in readings for English PEN at 6pm in the Market Room at the Courthouse, followed by Small Town Stories at 8pm in the same venue along with musician Joshua Burnside and poet Damian Smyth.

There’s more to come in May with workshops and a reading at the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival – details announced a little later in the month so keep an eye on my Events page if you’re interested. I hope to see you somewhere along the way.