Saturday, 20 December 2014


Some people are just lovely. You know they are lovely when you meet them and you keep in touch a little, though they move from exotic location to exotic location. But you keep in touch, following each other on FB etc. One such person is Samantha Ryan - I hope she doesn't mind me yapping about her but she is lovely in many ways.

Yesterday she sent me a review of Joely Richardson as Emily Dickinson that she had seen in an English newspaper and thought I might like (I do!). Tucked in with the paper was this card (image by Rosanna Parry):

How did Sam know I love birds?

When I opened the card I found a sweet message and this, my favourite Emily Dickinson poem - "Hope" is the thing with feathers - hand written.

And a feather. And a message about the feather: 'A feather from Cambridge - a bird that's perched on, and flown above, 500 year-old turrets of stone.'

Both card and feather now reside in the Emily Dickinson box above my desk, with other bits of Dickinsonalia and various related charms.

Thank you, Sam - you are truly lovely. Like many of the people I meet through writing, as it happens. I hope you all have a magical, creative, successful and prosperous 2015.

Friday, 19 December 2014


The Irish Times Book Club want to open out the discussion about The Closet of Savage Mementos. You can see yesterday's article here and leave a comment underneath it.  If you ARE reading it, or have read it, please go to the IT site and leave a comment. It doesn't have to be positive - let rip!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


I'm off to the Irish Times office in Dublin today to record a podcast for the book club about The Closet of Savage Mementos. The idea is that two new-to-the-book readers join me, and Features Digital Editor Gary Quinn, and we discuss the novel, book club style. It will be broadcast on the 13th of January, all going well. I have listened to John Boyne's fluent podcast on Soundcloud about his IT book club novel, A History of Loneliness.  I am hoping I can sound as relaxed and together as he does - wish me luck!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


It is the glorious 10th - AKA Emily Dickinson's birthday. Emily was born on this day in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. So, appropriately, today I draw the winners of the giveaway for Burleigh Mutén's beautiful verse novel for children, Miss Emily, and for the bundle of Emily goodies.

Here are the names in the little birdie cup:

The winner of Burleigh's book is...

Shauna Hughes AKA Linnet in Oriel - congrats, Shauna! (From her comment on the original post I see that Shauna has a daughter called Emily!)

Emily bundle: postcards, Emily For President badge/pin & Hope is the Thing With Feathers magnet
And the winner of the Emily bundle is...

The very appropriately named Emily Rainsford AKA The Nest.

I think Emily Dickinson is watching over her cohort of Emilys today. Congrats, ladies! Enjoy your winnings.

Everyone else - I have a bunch of goodies to give away next July and August when the novel comes out, in North America and in the UK: more magnets, cards, St Brigid's crosses (relevant to the book) and badges/pins. Stay tuned for that, my dears.

And you can buy Burleigh's book here.

Friday, 5 December 2014


I'm thrilled that The Closet of Savage Mementos is the Irish Times Book Club choice for this month. Martin Doyle calls it 'a moving, beautifully written portrait of love, grief and motherhood'. Swoon. There will be interviews, articles, reviews, videos, podcasts and webchats over the next month about the novel. More here.