Shine/Strong Award 2017

It was incredible to be shortlisted for the Shine/Strong award this year and a massive congratulations to Adam Crothers who went away with the big prize. I bought Adam's book when I saw the shortlist a while back and started reading it. Two poems in, I knew that this was one of the most exciting and interesting poetry books I had ever read. I'm a big fan of rhyme and form and Adam's book has it all but so so clever. There are references in the poems to everything from classical Greek to 21st century pop icons. They work so well - they're funny but they're also self-deprecating.  It was lovely to be on stage with Adam and Stephanie Conn, my fellow Doire Press poet. It was also great to have John and Lisa from Doire there to support us both. [gallery ids="1982,1983,1984,1985,1986"]

Mentioned in Time of Israel

There's a short mention of Jewtown in the Time of Israel this week. I was interviewed a few months ago before speaking at the launch of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature. The full article can be read here.

Upcoming Reading: Listeners

I'm delighted to be asked to read at the Listener's session and open mic as one of the two featured readers in March. I will be reading with Adam Wyeth. Thanks to Paul Bregazzi and Daragh Bradish for the kind invitation. The event takes place near Marlay Park in the Eden House. If anyone is around the Dublin Mountains, feel free to drop by. This may be the closest reading I've had to my family house so I might make a night of it!

Tears and Laughter: Esther Morris

I've written on this blog before about my great grandmother, Esther Morris, who was a minor playwright. I mentioned at the Launch of the Representation of Jews in Irish Literature about her to Barry Montgomery, one of the researchers in the project, and lo and behold, a few weeks later, he found a copy of her plays. Below are the first few pages...

Write Up in Waterford News and Star

Thanks to Barry Montgomery of Ulster University for sharing this newspaper artivle from the Waterford News and Star on the launch of the Representations of Jews in Irish Literature. It was a really good exhibition and I had a great time at the launch.

Reading: Jewish Book Week

Reading at Jewish Book Week has to go down as a highlight of my Jewtown experience. Ten years ago, I never thought that I would ever write a poem, never mind be asked to read at a major book festival in the UK. Not only that, the event was completely sold out two weeks before the event. The event took place in Kings Place and I was being interviewed by Jonathan Self, who is based in Ireland. Jonathan was interviewing both me and Ruth Gilligan, author of the fantastic novel, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan. This was the first time that the event was not a reading, as such, it was a full hour talking about the Jews of Ireland through both of our books. It was a really interesting interview covering everything from how it felt being a minority in Ireland to how we felt Irish people treated minorities today as opposed to when our books were set....

Jewtown amongst 4,000 books

Jewish Book Week started last night and I took the chance to get a snap of my book among the 4,000 other books featured in the festival. I also picked up a copy of the Jewish Book Week brochure and had a peek...

Mentoring Session with James Harpur

I never thought I'd travel to Cork for an hour, but last Friday I had booked myself in for a manuscript makeover with James Harpur. This was the second time I've used this mentoring service, which is part of the Cork Spring Poetry Festival and I wanted to see how some of my new work was shaping up. Although I only had an hour, I managed to steal a little bit of time before and after the session. I had lunch in Iyer's, which was really really tasty and when I was trying to find my car after the session, I walked by Sless Carpets, formerly owned by Jewish people from Cork. I was delighted with James' feedback and would recommend this session to any poet, whatever their experience. It's given me a new focus for my poems and I think I have unlocked the key as to why I didn't think some of the poems weren't working. [gallery size="medium"...

Interview: The London Ear

I was interviewed on RTE 2XM's London Ear programme before my reading this weekend at Jewish Book Week. What made the interview a little bit different was I was being interviewed by a long time family friend who hosts this arts show based in London for Irish listeners. In the interview I spoke about how I started writing poetry after a flirtation with Britpop-inspired 4-chord guitar playing and being raised Jewish in Ireland, while Vanessa remembered her first encounters with Chopped Herring. You can hear the interview on Nessy.com's web site: http://nessymon.com/the-london-ear-on-rte-2xm-show-144-simon-lewis-and-the-survival-code/