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Working on The Ogham Stone entails more than just snorting caffeine or getting power adjustments for our spectacles. The team that comes from a diverse background, has a lot to offer in terms of experience and unique talents. Starting this weekend, we will be uploading interviews with our staff regularly. Enjoy today’s spread and watch out this space for more!
Limerick-born, prize-winning author Paul Lynch was recently in conversation with Donal Ryan at Narrative 4, Limerick on the 8th of September to discuss his new novel ‘Grace’. Paul is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, Red Sky in Morning, The Black Snow and the recently released Grace. Paul has been frequently and rightfully compared with the likes of Joyce, Beckett and Connor McCarthy.
‘Grace’ is an epic tale about a young girl’s life during the Great Famine. It has been described as a sweeping novel about a young girl, Grace Coyle’s journey across Ireland during the Great Famine. She is a fourteen year old girl who is sent out into the world by her mother, who cuts off her hair and tells her that she is the strong one now. She is joined by her younger brother Colly and together, they set off on the journey of their lives during Ireland’s darkest times. The book was widely praised by renowned writers of the country such as Edna O’Brien, Emma Donoghue, Donal Ryan and Belinda McKeon. The book also garnered critical appreciation in the US.
Donal started off the event by introducing Paul and listing his numerous achievements, particularly in France and several other parts of Europe. He then read out praise for the novel, a few quotes as listed below.
The Washington post called this novel , a “moving work of lyrical and at times hallucinatory beauty”.
“A gifted Irish author.. This is a writer who wrenches beauty even from the horror that makes a starving girl think her “blood is trickling over the rocks of my bones”. – Kirkus, starred review.
Paul then read out a short excerpt from his book. When questioned about his style of writing, Paul says that, “It’s a combination of many different things…It’s a combination of experience.. of years and years of reading and thinking what you are reading. It’s a combination of art and the music within you. You don’t quite know where it comes from. It’s there.. and you get better at controlling it.. better at directing it to sound how you want it to sound…”
Paul then went on to describe a little bit about his journey in writing his first novel and thinking about the setting for Grace, how it had all begun and how the pieces fell into place gradually. He says that a lot of research went into shaping the plot. He also addressed the way his books are perceived as being ‘difficult’ and he said that they seem that way to his audience because they deal with places that the reader does not necessarily want to visit.
Paul also read out a sequence from his book that was set in Limerick before moving on to the Q and A session where Paul provided the audience with articulate responses regarding his writing experiences and process. This session marked the end of the thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring event.
Congratulations to Meghan Helms, a student on the MA in Creative Writing at UL and a student editor of The Ogham Stone 2017, on the publication of her short story, ‘Lipstick’, in The Irish Times on 19 August.
Meghan’s story can be accessed here.
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Submissions are now invited for the 2018 issue of The Ogham Stone, the University of Limericks’s journal of literature and arts.
Produced by the students on the MA in English and the MA in Creative Writing programmes at UL, The Ogham Stone is fast emerging as a distinctive and prestigious context for new writing in Ireland. The 2017 issue showcases important new writing and artwork by established and emerging Irish writers as well as international contributors from the UK and the USA. It features (among thirty-two pieces) poetry by Orla Fay, Julian Gough, Marie Cadden, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Mike Gallagher, and Jaki McCarrick; short stories by Joseph O’Connor, Catherine Donnelly and Anne Griffin; creative non-fiction by Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Barry McKinley; and artwork by Kieran Nee, Ruth Egan, Richard Smyth and John Chavers.
UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK/FRANK MCCOURT CREATIVE WRITING SUMMER SCHOOL, 2017. GLUCKSMAN IRELAND HOUSE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, JUNE 22nd to 25th. SPONSORED BY SHANNON AIRPORT
Shannon Airport and the University of Limerick have teamed up to present the 2017 Frank McCourt Creative Writing Summer School at NYU’s beautiful Glucksman Ireland House, 22nd – 25th June. Study writing in a fun and relaxed atmosphere with bestselling authors Joseph O’Connor, Donal Ryan and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, poet Mary O’Malley, UL professor Eoin Devereux and others. Speaking from New York about the Summer School, Loretta Glucksman said: “It’s our joy at Glucksman Ireland House to help link Frank’s two cities, Limerick and New York. He remains beloved in both.”
Welcoming the announcement of the 2017 programme, UL President, Professor Don Barry remarked: “The UL Frank McCourt Creative Writing Summer School in New York links two literary worlds – on the banks of the Shannon and the shores of the Hudson – that fired our much-missed Frank’s imagination. The very promising 2017 programme will draw on his unique legacy to inspire new generations of creative writers”.
UL Professor of Creative Writing, Joseph O’Connor, added: ‘The Summer School oﬀers a taste of Creative Writing as we teach it at UL, with the emphasis on enjoyment, collegiality, mutual respect and love of words, in a community of writers working together. We hope the fine range of authors we’re offering this year will make it an experience to remember.”
Highlights will include readings by JOSEPH O’CONNOR, broadcaster, playwright and author of eight novels including the million-selling ‘Star of the Sea’. Booker Prize-longlisted DONAL RYAN, author of ‘The Spinning Heart’ (recently voted Irish Novel of the Decade) will reveal the secrets of writing captivating short stories. Acclaimed Young-Adult author and UL professor SARAH MOORE FITZGERALD will outline those essential motivational and time-management tools that all writers need.
Celebrated Irish poet, MARY O’MALLEY, will offer exciting sessions on ‘Poetry and the City’, focusing on the streetscape of the Lower Manhattan/Greenwich Village where the Summer School has its base, and the counterculture of downtown NYC provides a vivid context for PROF EOIN DEVEREUX’s talk on long-time New York resident David Bowie.
KERRY NEVILLE joins us as this year’s special guest. Teacher, Huffington Post contributor and award-winning short-story writer (‘Necessary Lies’), Kerry is a dazzlingly talented wordsmith whose take on the creative process in our contemporary era is fascinating. Writer in Residence for the Summer School, DARRAGH McKEON, author of acclaimed debut novel ‘All that is Solid Melts into Air’, will be on hand to offer advice, answer questions, give his insights over coffee, share perspectives and respond to students.
Our Guest of Honour, ELLEN FREY McCOURT, Frank’s wife, remarks: ‘Three cheers to Shannon Airport Authority for continuing their enlightened support for the ambitious UL/Frank McCourt Summer School in New York. In one divine stroke they have enabled the two things Frank loved most—teaching and writing. Thank you also to Joseph O’Connor and his UL colleagues for putting it all together with NYU (Frank’s Alma Mater) Glucksman Ireland House and the Irish Arts Center. Frank would feel triply blessed.”
The Summer School is open to application from everyone, whether resident in New York or willing to travel from Ireland. No previous writing experience is required, but willingness to prepare for the programme is a must. Price $300/$200student/unwaged. Numbers are strictly limited, so book early to avoid disappointment, at http://frankmccourt.ulfoundation.com/
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