Literary listings: Merriman Summer School, Yeats in Dublin, and Rebellion at Stinging Fly
A round-up of upcoming events in the books world
John Banville, Eavan Boland (pictured above) and John Montague are among the line-up for a Yeats 150th anniversary event at the National Concert Hall next month.
Rebellion at Stinging Fly
The deadline for submissions to The Stinging Fly February 2016 issue is this Friday, August 14th. In the Wake of the Rising, guest edited by Sean O’Reilly, is asking writers to respond to the principles in the Proclamation, the story of the Rising, its place in Ireland’s cultural memory, and the current state of the nation. Short stories, poetry, book reviews and essays are welcome, with no limit on the wordcount for the short story entries. The journal will not be accepting other work between now and publication. Postal entries can be sent to Sean O’Reilly, In the Wake of the Rising, The Stinging Fly, PO Box 6016, Dublin 1. Further information and guidelines can be found at stingingfly.org.
Merriman in Ennis
Love and Marriage Revisited is the theme for this year’s Merriman Summer School in Ennis, which takes place from August 12th to 15th. A range of disciplines from sociology to history to music will be covered at events in the Glór Theatre across the four days. Literary highlights include free lunchtime poetry readings with Rita Ann Higgins, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh and Doireann Ní Ghríofa, an author interview with Donal Ryan on the Saturday morning, a talk from Cork writer Cónal Creedon entitled “Love or Marriage?”, and the Lilliput Press launch of Gregory Schirmer’s new book The Midnight Court, Eleven Versions of Merriman. Other speakers addressing the school are historian Roy Foster, Lucy McDiarmid, Tom Inglis, Patricia Coughlan, Conor O’Mahony, Carol Coulter, Anne Byrne, Sandra McAvoy, Roisín Ryan-Flood, Máire Ni Annracháin, Síle Ní Mhurchú, Diarmuid Ó Giolláin and William J Smyth. Tickets may be bought for the full school or individual events, with more information and bookings at glor.ie.
An afternoon fit for High Kings
The eighth annual Feis Teamhra/A Turn at Tara features readings and performances by Irish writers and musicians including Len Graham, Colum McCann, Sinead Morrissey and Padraigín Ní Uallacháin, with contributions from co-curators Susan McKeown and Paul Muldoon. Taking place on Sunday, August 30th from 2pm, the event is free and open to everyone. According to Poetry Ireland, who are supporting the event, “the note the organisers hope to strike is one of celebration and continuity. Feis Teamhra/A Turn at Tara pays tribute to the linked traditions of Irish writing and music that have flourished in the surroundings since at least 2000 BC.” More information at poetryireland.ie.
Yeats in Dublin
John Banville, Eavan Boland and John Montague are among the line-up for a Yeats 150th anniversary event at the National Concert Hall next month. Written and hosted by historian Roy Foster, “Beautiful Lofty Things: An evening with WB Yeats” will take place on Saturday, September 12th at 8pm. Directed by Alan Gilsenan, the evening features performances by actor Lisa Dwan, with music from The Gloaming’s master fiddler Martin Hayes and vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird. The event is presented by Poetry Ireland in partnership with Yeats2015. Tickets from €25 can be booked at www.nch.ie.
Poetry Ireland is also publishing a special Yeats 2015 anniversary edition of Poetry Ireland Review, which can be pre-purchased at a reduced price with a concert ticket for the event. Edited by Vona Groarke, the publication includes responses to Yeats’s legacy and readings of his poems from authors Neil Jordan, Colm Tóibín, Frank McGuinness, Joe O’Connor, Fintan O’Toole, Mary Costello, John Banville and Rowan Williams. New poems by Irish and international writers such as Margaret Atwood, Sharon Olds, Philip Schultz, Sinéad Morrissey and Harry Clifton will respond to Yeats’s work. And there’s a Maud Gonne crossword too.
Following the Beautiful Lofty Things event at the NCH is “Blood on the Moon”, a Yeats inspired evening of music from a range of contemporary artists. Running September 13th and 14th, the gigs are curated by Paul Muldoon and Thomas Bartlett and include Mercury Prize nominee Anna Calvi, folk icon Sam Amidon, Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens and NYC cabaret icon Justin Vivian Bond. From 8pm both evenings, tickets are €37.50/€32.50, with a 10 per cent discount for Friends of the National Concert Hall. More information and bookings at nch.ie.
The Dublin theatre group Core Youth Theatre will perform Heart’s Desire at the Pearse Museum in Rathfarnham from August 15th to 17th. Based on the plays and poetry of Yeats, the production is compiled and directed by Betty Ann Norton. Performances begin at 6.30pm, with audience members advised to bring raingear as part of the production takes place outside. Tickets are €15 and can be booked by calling 01-2805921 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A poet’s Rising
The Irish Writers Centre will commission six poems for the 1916 anniversary celebrations, one for each day of the Rising. Funded by the Arts Council as part of the Government’s centenary programme, the poems will be written and performed by Irish contemporary poets who will reflect on a significant figure, location or event around the Rising. The poems will be filmed and released during the week of the anniversary. Participating poets include Jessica Traynor, Thomas McCarthy, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Theo Dorgan. An original score will be composed by Colm Mac Con Iomaire. The films will be made available as an app which will take the user to each location where they can watch the video of the poem performed by the poet. More information on the project can be found at artscouncil.ie/a-poets-rising.
Writing workshops in Galway
Starting in September, Galway Arts Centre is offering aspiring poets a choice of three poetry workshops, facilitated by the poet Kevin Higgins. Each workshop will run for 10 weeks, commencing the week of September 21st. They will take place on Tuesday evenings between 7pm and 8.30pm (beginning September 22nd); on Thursday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm (September 24th) and on Friday afternoons, 2pm to 3.30pm (September 25th). The Tuesday and Friday workshops are open to beginners and intermediates. The Thursday workshop is for advanced writers, suitable for those who have participated in poetry workshops before or had poems published in magazines. The cost to participants is €110, or €100 concession. To reserve a place contact reception at Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street on 091 565886 or email email@example.com
Galway Technical Institute is also running a number of creative writing courses starting in September. Kevin Higgins will host a more general creative writing programme, aimed at beginners, from Monday, September 28th for 10 weeks at the institute. The Irish-American poet Susan Millar DuMars’s 10-week programme for intermediate writers begins on Tuesday, September 29th. Both courses are €120 and can be booked through gti.ie.
Gutter Bookshop launches
It’s a busy month at the Gutter Book Shop in Temple Bar, with plenty of Irish authors launching new work across fiction, children’s literature and young adult genres. Debut author Kieran Fanning launches The Black Lotus, the first book in his Samurai Wars trilogy, on Monday, August 24th. This is followed on Tuesday, August 25th with another young adult debut, Maureen White’s The Butterfly Shell. Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s third novel Miss Emily launches on Friday, August 28th.
First up in September is the sequel to Chris Judge and Mark Wickham’s bestselling Brian and the Vikings. Brian and the Giant, launching Friday, September 3rd, looks at what happens when Brian and his gang investigate a river that’s run dry. In crime fiction, Louise Phillips’s new novel The Game Changer launches on Tuesday, September 8th, while the launch for A Hollow in the Hills by Ruth Frances Long takes place the following evening, September 9th. Lastly, the short story writer ER Murray launches her anticipated debut children’s novel The Book of Learning on Tuesday, September 15th. All events take place in the shop’s Temple Bar outlet in Dublin 2 from 6.30 - 8pm.
A new poetry competition in Northern Ireland is challenging writers to imagine harmony. Launched this week by the Harmony Community Trust, two separate competitions are seeking entries from school children and adult poets. The inaugural competition marks the trust’s fortieth anniversary. This year’s judge is Frank Ormsby, best known for his editorship of The Honest Ulsterman. The prizes for the adult poem will be £300, £150 and £50, with £50, £30 and £20 being offered for the winners in the youth category. All prize-winners will have their work published in a collection funded by the trust, which is best known for its work at Glebe House in Kilclief, County Down. Information on how to enter at harmonypoetrycomp.myfreesites.net or glebehouseni.com.