Friday, 6 July 2012
SOME SORT OF BEAUTY - LAUNCH
Young Irish writer Jamie O'Connell launched his début short story collection Some Sort of Beauty (Bradshaw Books) in Dublin last night. Hodges Figgis, one of our best book shops, was packed with the great and the good who came along to support Jamie: Joe Woods of Poetry Ireland, Séamus Hosey of RTÉ and Alan Hayes, publisher with Arlen House, were there, along with various writers and friends of the author's.
James Ryan, who was one of Jamie's lectureres on the Creative Writing M.A. at UCD, launched the book. James said that the stories in the collection 'brilliantly adhere to Rilke's advice: "Search for the reason that bids you right...and a belief in some sort of beauty".' The stories are, he said, 'lyrical, distilled, illuminating, some of them unnerving, and above all, brave.' James further went on to say that 'Jamie's fiction is emotionally clear, direct, unshowy' and that this is the consequence of 'work, work and more work, as well as huge talent'. High praise indeed.
I've been reading Jamie's book since spending time with him in Arkansas last week and I can attest to how well written it is. In terms of subject matter, it is something brand spanking new in Irish short fiction: Celtic Tiger cubs do drugs, have gay sex, wear Prada with pride, and have secretive, competitive friendships. The title story is about Jehovah's Witnesses, surely a first in an Irish short story. Jamie read that story at the launch and afterwards we adjourned to Café en Seine and then Bar 37, which looks like a ramped up version of my house: lots of bone china, Holy statues and mirrors. I felt right at home!
If you missed the launch you can get Jamie's book in shops or online here.