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"]

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....

Launch of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature

I had a fantastic evening in Waterford IT where I launched the exhibition of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature, which is touring Ireland and beyond. This was the first time I've done a poetry event without doing a reading, as such. I was asked to give a presentation on how I came to write Jewtown. I spoke about my own Jewish background and how I started writing. I also spoke about my research and how I moved from Jewtown being an historically accurate account to a fictionalised account rooted in Cork City. The exhibition is going to be in Waterford IT for the month of February and is well worth a...

Reading at Staccato

I had a fantastic night at Staccato in Toner's of Baggot Street in Dublin hosted by David Butler. Staccato is now in its second year and always draws in big names and this time they had the poet Siobhán Campbell and comedian Paul Tylak, (who is probably most famous for his appearances in Father Ted). Also on the bill were Kerrie O'Brien, Liz McSkeane, Niall McArdle and Ruth McKee (music). It was a really entertaining night and I particularly enjoyed Niall McArdle's story about a son coming home to his mother's wake and finding out she had campaigned vigorously for the marriage equality campaign despite almost disowning him a few years previously. Liz McSkeane's story was another highlight for me about a Catholic girl learning about Protestants. I also enjoyed Paul Tylak's detective short story, which was very funny. However, that's not to take...

Irish Jewish Museum Reading

I had a lovely visit to the Irish Jewish Museum to read from Jewtown. I was accompanied by other poets and musicians for the two hour celebration of Irish Jewish poetry and music. Thanks to the museum for the opportunity. [gallery ids="1818,1819,1820,1821,1822,1823,1824,1825,1826"]

Culture Night, Galway

I had a brilliant time in Galway as part of the Over the Edge Culture Night event in Kenny's Bookshop and Gallery. Any excuse to come to Galway is always welcome but with Emrys staying at home with grandma, it was lovely to go away for a night with Rozz on our own. We got some great food recommendations from our food journalist friend on where to eat and she wasn't wrong with her choices. In between eating and poetry, we managed to have a quick look around the city with a visit to another book institution, Charlie Byrne's Bookshop. The Over the Edge Reading was good fun and Rozz came 3rd in the prose open mic competition. We also had readings from Elizabeth Reapy and Karl Parkinson who were fantastic. I was one of the two judges for the poetry open mic and got to do a reading too, which went down well, I think. I decided to read a few different...

A Night in Bray

I had a lovely evening in Bray where I read some poems from Jewtown. I was among 4 artists who showcased their work including a visual artist, a singer and an actress. The Bray Arts Group were celebrating their 20th anniversary with around 40 people in attendance. It was nice to meet a number of people who had connections with Jewish people in Ireland and thanks to Michael and Julie Rose for inviting me along. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="1731,1732,1733,1734"]

Cork City Reading

Last night I read in Waterstones, Cork City, with the well-known writer William Wall. William has had his latest collection of short stories published by Doire Press and it's well worth checking out. For me, I was much more nervous than usual because this was the closest I've ever read my poems to the actual place where they come from. I was less than 2km from the area known as Jewtown. However, to make matters worse, who was sitting in the front row with his silver crutch? For those who have read my collection, there are a few poems near the end set in the 21st century. The last poem is called the Last Sabbath at South Terrace Synagogue. In this poem, I refer to Freddie leaning on his silver crutch. Most people with a knowledge of Jewish Cork would know Freddie referred to Mr. Freddie Rosehill who has been responsible for the survival of the...

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"...