Reading in Cork City

I'm looking forward to my next reading in Waterstones in Cork City this coming Thursday with William Wall. When I say I'm looking forward to it, I'm also feeling most nervous about this reading because it's going to be the closest I've been to Jewtown physically for a reading. I assume some of the crowd that will be there will know the area much better than me so hopefully they won't be displeased with my interpretations of their city. Hopefully, William will bail me out if it gets nasty!

Some Jewtown-related Reading

I'm having a few days away in Mayo with the in-laws and decided to buy a couple of books with me. There's no wifi or phone connection in my mother-in-law's house so Internet is limited to a few snatches of connection whenever I'm in an area where there is coverage, hence this very very short post. I decided to bring two sort of Jewtown-related books with me and neither of them are poetry books. The first is Ita Daly's memoir of her late husband David Marcus. For those who don't know, David Marcus' family hailed from Cork's Jewtown and he went on to be one of the most important figures in the Irish literary scene. The second book is from Ruth Gilligan and is called Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, which actually starts off in Jewtown in the 19th century.  Both books were only released in the last few months, which is an amazing...

Blackwater International Poetry Festival

We had a great time at the Blackwater International Poetry Festival. Rozz and Emrys joined me for their annual Poetry Bus, a super idea, where we are whisked around Co. Cork stopping off in lovely touristy places. Poetry is read and food is shared and we get to see parts of the country we don't usually see. After the trip, which took in places like Blackwater Castle, Doneraile and Castletownroche, the Carlow Writers' Cooperative joined me for a reading. It took place in the Rockforest Bar in Castletownroche and there was a lovely atmosphere. I read a few poems from Jewtown and sold a few books. Thanks to Gene, Margo and all the organisers for the opportunity to read at the festival and we look forward to going back again soon. [gallery columns="4"...

First Review of Jewtown

I was thrilled to have my first review of Jewtown today in Southword Magazine by Thomas McCarthy. Thomas has been a great support to me. A few years ago he took a day to show me around Jewish Cork and told me all about the history of the people. He lent me a number of books and journals, which helped shape one or two poems in the collection. I really appreciate the review and thanks to Southword for publishing it. You can read it on the Southword web site here and I've pasted the text below. ----- It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this jewel of a poetry book. Jewish life in Cork, the life of just four hundred souls, has already had its chroniclers in David Marcus, Gerald Y. Goldberg and Louis Marcus, but this suite of poems lifts the narrative of that now lost community to a new intensity of poetic thought. There is a huge...

Evening Echo Article

I was delighted to have an article about Jewtown published in the Evening Echo a few weeks ago. Here is the article pasted from the original, which can be found here. THE Albert Road area of Cork, known as Jewtown, is the subject matter of a new poetry collection by Simon Lewis, writes Colette Sheridan. Thirty-seven-year-old Lewis, a winner of the Hennessy Prize for Emerging Poetry and a runner-up in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2015, was looking for material for his debut collection. Given his family’s background, focusing on Jewtown (the title of Lewis’s book) was an obvious choice and he will give a reading from it at the West Cork Literary Festival this month. Lewis, who was brought up in Dublin in the liberal branch of Judaism, knew that his great- grandmother, Esther Cristal, was the daughter of some of the original...


During my reading in Bantry Bookshop, there was a lady who was sketching me throughout. I never spoke to her but she gave one of the sketches to Rozz for Emrys. I've never been sketched before except one of those cartoony ones you do when you're drunk on a sun holiday. Whoever you are, thank you for sketching me!  

West Cork Literary Festival Reading

The West Cork Literary Festival is one of my favourite writing festivals of the year. Rozz and I first went four years ago and went again the following year for a full week of workshops. I didn't think back then that I would be featuring in any way at the festival a few years later. It was a huge thrill for me to be asked to read from Jewtown at Bantry Bookshop today as part of the festival programme. [gallery size="medium" ids="1637,1636,1635"] The session consisted of me reading 7 of the poems followed by a Q and A with journalist, Don O'Mahony. It was lovely to see many familiar faces in the audience as well as loads of people who came because of the connection with the area around Albert Road. The Q and A was great fun with lots of questions about Jewtown itself, famous Jewish people and the demise of the Jewish community in Ireland...

Shelfie Time

I know it's probably stupid but I get such a kick out of seeing my books on the shelves. This photo is my books in Bantry Bookshop. As I was taking the photograph, two women were looking at the book and talking about the area of Jewtown. I couldn't resist introducing myself and they told me some lovely stories about what they knew of Jewtown. One day I'm sure I'll get over the excitement of seeing my book in shops but for now, you'll have to cope with my indulgence!

Beautiful Bantry

It's been 3 years since I was last in Bantry for the West Cork Literary Festival and I'm looking forward to reading on Wednesday in Bantry Bookshop, the first of 3 Cork readings. I've combined the event with a short family break and the weather has decided to act like July and it's beautiful. Rozz and I have also decided to publish a second volume of Sixteen Magazine. We're focusing on the theme of colours and issue 1 is all about blue. I decided to take some "blue" photos of Bantry and here they are: [gallery columns="3" ids="1619,1618,1617,1616,1615,1610,1611"]

How lovely are Hay?

I have limited experience so far from reading at literary festivals so I'm not sure if this is the norm but I got a lovely email from the Hay Festival organisers to thank me for reading at their festival. It wasn't a template, group or generic email, it was a real email to me with a personal message and they even attached a photo of me "performing," wearing my Beyonce microphone. It really brightened my day especially as the weather was so terrible today. Thank you, Hay people - you're lovely!