Friday, 28 November 2014


My latest novel The Closet of Savage Mementos, published by New Island Books, will be the Book on One on RTÉ Radio 1 all next week. Monday to Friday, 11.10pm. It will be available to listen back to also. Actress Caitríona Ní Mhurchú will read it and I can't wait to hear her as Lillis Yourell, the narrator.

Thursday, 27 November 2014


If you are so inclined, my story 'Men of Destiny' from Lines of Vision is now listenable-to on Soundcloud. It's a recording from the National Gallery's Jack B. Yeats event and I also talk about my relationship with Yeats's work. (The intro bio is wildly inaccurate, btw, but Luke Gibbons has such a lovely voice, and is such a lovely man, I forgive him.) Here.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Like most collectors, I am an eBay nut. I had to wean myself off it for a while but I appear to be back there with a vengeance. One of my current obsessions is woven, lidded baskets like this one that is in the Emily Dickinson museum:

Oh, how I have craved a basket like this. So every so often I go onto eBay and drool over various baskets not unlike Emily's. Most are for sale from New England and would cost $120 (€95) or so delivered to my door. I was looking at these baskets just last night on a (sidetracked) trawl for Xmas presents.

Today, my favourite charity shop called to me even though I'm nursing an injured wrist and am not supposed to be either going out or typing. Off I went and, lo and behold, a lidded woven basket!

OK, it's not the same as Emily's (alleged) basket but it's as near as, for me. And it cost just €5! It has a little table inside that comes out, which I've discovered is a pie tray.

The basket was made in New England by the Peterboro Basket Company in New Hampshire. The company was founded by a man called Amzi Childs from Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1854, so it is not outside the realms of possibility that the basket in the ED Museum was made by Peterboro too. I will investigate this more and report back.

Inside the basket, showing the vinyl lining and the Peterboro stamp
Their site is very comprehensive and charming and it says, 'For more than 150 years the Peterboro Basket Company has thrived in the heart of historic Peterborough, New Hampshire, in the serene shadow of Mt. Monadnock, surrounded by four seasons of the world's most exquisite natural beauty.' Sweet!

Whatever way my Peterboro basket ended up in East Galway, I am grateful that it did. And I love that my favourite charity shop has yielded up yet another item with meaning for, and synchronicity with, my writing. After a topsy-turvy week, it was just what I needed.

And what am I going to do with it? Well, I'm going to fill it with my Emily Dickinson research archive: printouts, postcards, letters from the ED Museum, playbills etc. And the box that that stuff currently occupies will be the receptacle for the paperwork for my WIP, novel #4.

(Cross-posted with Edna O'Blog's Eclectica.)


I'll be on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio 1, this morning at 11.30am, with Anna Carey and Mairead Owens, talking about libraries.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


In honour of the Lines of Vision exhibition, which runs until April 2015 at the National Gallery of Ireland, my art-inspired short story collection Nude (Salt, 2009) is now reduced in price for kindle. It's $3.09 on, and £1.97 on That's less than €2.50!

Sunday, 16 November 2014


I'd a busy two days in Dublin: I went to the Plotting History event at the Dublin Book Festival on Friday, featuring Lia Mills, Patricia O'Reilly and Martina Devlin, all of whom were very interesting on their diverse and excellent novels. Tea and cake afterwards with the sublime Mia Gallagher in Queen of Tarts.

Karl Parkinson, MCing
On that evening to the launch of Dave Lordan's new poetry collection from Salmon, Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains in Toner's. Karl Parkinson was a great MC, Philip Coleman of TCD  delivered a considered and moving launch speech (he and Dave are old friends) and Dave read brilliantly, as always.
Philip Coleman launching Dave Lordan's new book
I love hearing the context of poems and enjoyed Dave's explanations about the lost tribes and about learning to love the corner of Wicklow he calls home. It was great to see pals old and new, including Kerrie O'Brien, Dmita Xidous and Nicole Rourke, director of the Big Smoke Writing Factory. I do so love a night out in Dublin.

Dave reading (phone pic, so excuse quality)
Saturday then was my Lines of Vision event at the National Gallery with Moya Cannon, Dermot Bolger and Roddy Doyle, with Luke Gibbons as chairperson.

Roddy Doyle
We each read our piece from the Lines of Vision book (Roddy and me - stories, Moya and Dermot - poems) and then talked about our relationship to Jack B. Yeats and why we had chosen Yeats's particular paintings as jumping off points for the pieces we wrote. The place was jammers, Luke was a great moderator and I learnt even more about Jack B. Yeats which makes me fall even harder for him and his work.

Dermot, Moya, Janet McLean (curator and editor of the LoV book), Luke, me, Roddy)
It was a great weekend of literary chatter, food and drinks, but am happy to be back at my desk now ready to continue on into novel #4. It has slowed down a little so I may need to have a research/brainstorming week with it. As long as I stay in touch with it, anything will do.

Much as I love getting away, I love even more to come back and potter at my desk. So, while I thank the stars for outings, I thank them equally for retreats.