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"...

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...

Wexford Reading kicks off a Weekend of Crazy

I had the busiest weekend I think I've had for a long time. It kicked off in the Fusion Café in Wexford Town. The fantastic monthly poetry event run by Denis Collins has been going for a few years and every month, there's an open mic and featured poet that reads their work. This month I was asked to read from Jewtown and I shared the night with a really interesting poet from Gyan (now living in Wales) called Maggie Harris. It was a great night but a late one. [gallery size="medium" ids="1591,1596,1597"] The weekend continued in the same vain on the next day when I went up to Dublin to see Faithless in Kilmainham. Rozz and I had a great day and evening meeting up with friends. I must admit I wasn't much of a fan when they were out (with the exception of Insomnia) but I really enjoyed the gig and must start going to more if I can. There's...