Showing posts from 2019

Are you sure you're Editing?

You know how, when you’re writing something, you go over it time and again, re-reading, changing and cutting it? Some people love this process and find it energising. Others get confused feel it’s a kind of required self-censorship which drags flights of fancy down to earth.  “Editing” and “doing an edit” are terms sometimes used for this process, in writers’ groups, masterclasses and on social media. But, in my view, choosing a different term might be helpful. First things f irst.  The primary definition of “edit” is “to prepare written material for publication”. Secondary definitions are “be editor of (a newspaper or magazine) – eg ‘he edited the New Yorker’”, and, as a noun, “a change or correction made as a result of editing – eg ‘the edits required considerable time’.”  So, here are some thoughts. 1/ Unless you’re certain that what you’re writing WILL BE and IS READY TO BE, published, it’s actually not appropriate to think about “editing” it. 2/


My Irish publishers Hachette are bringing out my fifth Finfarran novel on May 2nd and the  Gutter Bookshop in Dublin is hosting its launch, with drinks provided by my lovely West Kerry neighbours, The Dingle Whiskey Distillery. So here's an invitation to join the celebration. Do, please, come along if you're in Dublin on May10th.  Writing the Finfarran novels is always a joy but this one is special because its plot came about by sheer happenstance. A few years ago, in a gift shop, I picked up a birthday card with the caption ‘My book club can beat up your book club'. A lady beside me had spotted it too and we got chatting. The card had caught her eye, she said, because she was a member of "Ireland’s only Skype book club", hosted by her rural local library and a public library in Peoria, Illinois, USA.  Months later, when I was chatting to my agent about possible plots for the next Finfarran novel, it struck me that a book club based in two co

Mighty Women: Nollaig na mBan in Ireland

Nollaig na mBan means ‘Women’s Christmas.’ I t’s celebrated on January 6th, t he last of the twelve days of the Christmas season, when traditionally the men take over household duties and women of all ages get together and party. They meet at home, or go out in groups, to eat, sing, drink, dance and generally hang out together. Hereabouts, village pubs and restaurants are full all night and the dancing often spills onto the street. Grannies and aunties dance with little girls, friends get up and sing songs together, and houses are full of music. Nollaig na mBan used to be celebrated all over Ireland, and in lots of places it still is. It’s a meeting of generations and a time for sharing. I remember the first time I joined a table of women in a candlelit pub in Ballyferriter for Nollaig na mBan. The singing had already begun. The barman was carrying trays of drinks and platters of food from the kitchen. A couple of older women, in seats closest to the fire, were keepin