Belfast Book Festival 2016

I’m delighted to be taking part in this year’s Belfast Book Festival at the Crescent Arts Centre on Saturday 18th June 2016.

I will be reading from The Rising Son and talking about how I came to write my first novel for children based on the events in Dublin in 1916. It’s been a great year so far, meeting lots of young readers in schools and libraries, getting feedback on the book and talking about history and writing stories and how the two can come together.

If you haven’t read the book yet, you can read the first chapter here right now. The book is available from Easons nationwide and at all good bookstores and also as an e-book from Amazon.

Celia Keenan reviewing for Children’s Books Ireland wrote: ‘He had never wanted to come here… He only ever wanted to be the boy who enjoyed football and television and computer games… Until he came to Dublin that was who he was… now he was someone else. He was Irish … he had a history that was full of sadness. He shouted with all his might “I’m English for God’s sake”’. This powerfully expressed crisis of identity comes late in the story of Jack O’Connor.’ You can read the full review here.

If you’re in or around Belfast I hope you will come along on 18th June at 11.30am. You can book tickets for my event here and you can have a look at what is a hugely impressive festival programme here.

 

 

 

The Rising Son at Scoil na Mainistreach, Celbridge

I’ve been doing a series of schools and library visits in the last couple of months, talking about my novel, a little about 1916 and history in general and doing some writing exercises with the kids. All in all it’s been great fun and really surprising to find how engaged children can be with writing and literature.

On 27th April I visited Scoil na Mainistreach in Celbridge, Co. Kildare and met with three fifth classes there who were extremely enthusiastic and had great questions for me. One of the teachers there, Julie Holmes, was good enough to send on this message to me at the weekend.

“The boys in 5th class really enjoyed your visit. We managed to finish your wonderful novel in record time! We found it to be a gripping and very sensitively written book. The boys from my class have written some reviews and reports about your workshop on our blog. You might like to have a look http://scoilnamainistreachbns.weebly.com/5th-class
I will definitely be including The Rising Son amongst my class novels for next year.”

I am very grateful to the teachers and the boys for taking the time to write these reviews and reports on my visit. Getting such positive feedback from readers has to be the best thing about having a book out! Thanks guys!

Red Line Haiku text and video

Last Sunday, 17th April 2016, was International Haiku Poetry Day and my film poem Red Line Haiku was one of a number of poetry films featured as part of HaikuLife Haiku Film Festival by The Haiku Foundation in the US. My thanks to Jim Kacian, director  of the festival,  and to my fellow Hibernian Poet Maeve O’Sullivan who drew it to my attention.

There is a link to my film here.

A couple of people who enjoyed the film have asked to see the text of the haiku sequence, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

not even morning…

eyes close as the tram shudders

house lights coming on

 

 

 

buzz in my pocket

battery almost run down –

the mountains don’t care

 

 

 

cold wind at Kylemore

blear island in a smoke sea

oh please close the doors

 

 

 

eyes bent to phone light,

night and morning cross without

either one speaking

 

 

 

the east lighting up

burnt gold over drab buildings –

I stare at my phone

 

 

 

Red Cow Bluebell bends

into Blackhorse Goldenbridge –

so many colours

 

 

 

seagulls on canal – how do they not miss the sea?

 

 

 

James’ s hospital

end of the line for many:

not for me – not yet

 

 

 

children on the tram

next stop Probation Service –

on flows the river

 

 

 

one-sided blather

look away from your neighbour

dream lives not your own

 

 

 

push through numb bodies

the doors close on your ankle

unhurt embarrassed

 

 

 

ghosts in Smithfield square

haunting the benches, the law

calls them out by name

 

 

 

warm cans passed around

wonder what that life could be –

it could have been mine

 

 

 

crow taps my window

numbers march in a column –

start over again

 

 

 

phone’s shrill insistence

I will ignore it for now

no one can see me

 

 

 

dull meeting:

in a drab room opposite

a tired girl dresses

 

 

 

Angelus bell clangs

never sounded so foreign –

what country is this?

 

 

 

I hear my own voice

but I don’t recognize it –

who have I become?

 

 

 

voice over tannoy

murmurs vague words from the past –

I am my father

 

 

the dogs in the street

barking at leaves as they fall –

seen then forgotten

 

 

 

spoon out routine days

in hours that pass in lifetimes

forget your own name

 

 

 

warm rain on bare heads

the streets wet at evening

must get umbrella

 

 

 

soft lights of the pub

impossibly attractive –

swallow bitter draught

 

 

 

on my own again

eyes always drawn to the door –

what are you watching?

 

 

 

girl in a doorway

checks her lips in a hand glass –

curse fugitive love

 

 

 

old man with a bag

tests the bins for a bottle –

curse fugitive God

 

 

 

new moon blesses night – who blesses the night walker?

 

 

 

back on the Red Line

night muddies the windows

with an orange glare

 

 

The Rising Son Latest News

After the drama of February when I found out my publisher was ceasing to trade, the good news is I am going it alone with a new ISBN number (978 1526201492) and printer and supplying bookshops directly myself. It’s more work of course, but it means also that I know exactly what’s happening with the novel in terms of sales and costs. I was delighted when Eason decided to take the novel a couple of weeks back (huge thanks to my great mate Gavin Lawler of The Irish Fairy Door Company) and I’m still getting used to that weird sensation on walking into their stores and seeing my book there. I’m hoping to reach as wide an audience as possible in this year of the centenary of the Rising so I’m delighted to say that Argosy Distributors will take orders for the book from independent book stores also.

I’ve been doing some school and library visits and have more planned for April and May in Ballyroan, Lucan, Celbridge, Leixlip, Naas and Athy – “far flung places” as the poet said. If you’re a school or library you can order copies from IES in Leixlip. I have also set up a dedicated Facebook page for The Rising Son here. If you’ve read the novel and enjoyed it (or not!) I’d love if you would post a review there. Also, if you come across the book in any far flung places you might post a photo.

Once again I’m amazed by all the support and advice I received in recent weeks and months! It’s very much appreciated.

The Rising Son – Readings and workshops

The new edition of The Rising Son is being prepared for print now and I’ll have some big news to announce regarding availability soon!

In the meantime I’ve been very busy organising and preparing for readings and workshops. I did my first two workshops yesterday on The Rising Son with kids from 5th and 6th classes in St. John’s National School and Gaelscoil na Camóige, both in Clondalkin. Two very knowledgeable groups of kids who were enthusiastic about history and writing and I really enjoyed working with them. Later this month I will be visiting two more local schools, and if there are any other teachers out there who would like me to pay a visit, please do get in touch.

I’ve also been invited to read from The Rising Son at what looks like being a great event in Galway. Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar Du Mars run a series of brilliant events and readings called Over The Edge each month. I was delighted to read my poetry there last June along with some excellent poets from around the country and beyond. The event on 11th Match 2016 has a fantastic line up of writers and looks like being a great night. Details below:

March Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering

at the Kitchen @ The Museum

 The March Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering presents an exciting variety of poetry by Liz Quirke, and Rachel Coventry; a reading from hi recently published novel by Brian Kirk; and a special Bogman’s Cannonshowcase by which will included a discussion about the work of The Bogman’s Cannon, Ireland’s leading alternative literature website, which will feature Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Karl Parkinson, & Dave Lordan The event will take place at The Kitchen @ The Museum, Spanish Arch, Galway on Friday, March 11th, 8pm. All are welcome. There is no cover charge.

 Liz Quirke is 31. She is originally from Tralee, Co Kerry and lives in Spiddal, Co Galway with her wife and daughter. Her poetry has appeared in New Irish Writing in the The Irish Times, The Best New British And Irish Poets 2016 published by Eyewear Publishing, Southword, Crannóg, Revival Literary Journal, The Stony Thursday Book, The Ofi Press and other publications. She won the 2015 Poems for Patience Competition and was shortlisted for the 2015 Cúirt New Writing Prize. She is currently working towards her first collection.

Rachel Coventry lives in Galway. Her poetry has appeared in various journals including The SHop, Stony Thursday Book, Cyphers, Crannóg, Boyne Berries, and Skylight 47. She was selected for the 2014 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series  and she is currently writing a PhD on Heidegger’s poetics at NUIG.

Brian Kirk is an award-wining poet and short story writer from Clondalkin in Dublin. He won the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award for Poetry in 2014, the Bailieborough Poetry Prize 2015 and The Creative Flow Poet of the Year Award 2015 at Dundalk FM. He was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series in 2013, and was highly commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2014 and 2015. His poetry and stories have appeared in journals and anthologies in Ireland, the UK, Germany, India and USA. His poetry film Red Line Haiku was screened at The Civic Theatre in Tallaght as part of the Red Line Book Festival in October 2015 and can be viewed on Youtube. His novel, The Rising Son, is his first foray into literature for a younger audience.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet, originally from Donegal, now based in Dublin and she is the Diversity Editor of The Bogman’s Cannon.

 

Karl Parkinson is a poet and fiction writer from Dublin. He is a Facilitating Editor of The Bogman’s Cannon.

 

Dave Lordan is a poet and fiction writer, originally from West Cork now based in Wicklow, and is Founding Editor of The Bogman’s Cannon.

 

For further information contact 087-6431748.

All Welcome. No Cover charge.

Over The Edge acknowledges the ongoing financial support of the Arts Council,

Poetry Ireland, and Galway City Council. http://www.overtheedgeliteraryevents.blogspot.com/   


 

It’s been a funny old week…

On Wednesday I won the Creative Flow Poet of the Year Award on Dundalk FM and then on Friday, just before lunchtime, I got a call telling me that Original Writing (who published my novel The Rising Son) were going to cease trading at 4.30pm that afternoon. I’m still not 100% sure what all the implications are for me and the book at the moment .

For now the main thing to know is that if you want to buy a copy of The Rising Son please go to my website (www.briankirkwriter.com ) and order it there.

I know I will probably never see whatever royalties I might be due up to this point, but I’m keen that the book will continue to reach as large an audience as possible. Since the launch in mid December the book has sold over 500 copies and I’ve received great notices and reviews and huge amount of positive feedback from readers. On the bright side, I own the rights, I have the text and cover image files and I have a printer in place who can produce copies for me. Distribution is the big issue now. So if you are a publisher or if you know a publisher, perhaps you might consider taking the book on. It’s ready to go; there are no costs beyond future printing costs and the book has a ready market with schools and libraries around the country. Later this month I’ll be doing my first library and school visits.

Please contact me if you think you might be able to help me with this. All advice is welcome as I’m still trying to process the events of Friday. Thanks for reading this and please feel free to share! Brian

Press Relase – The Rising Son

Here’s the press release for The Rising Son. I’ve been getting quite a bit of press coverage in recent times following my appearance on Liveline with Joe Duffy on 21st December 2015. Since then I’ve done radio interviews with Dundalk FM, Kildare FM and Dublin South FM. You can listen back to the Dublin South FM interview with Fiona Kenny here.

The Echo newspaper gave me a really good half page spread last week and reviews have been coming in also.

Mia, aged 12, reviewed the novel very positively over at Bleach House Library and there are three five star reviews on Amazon. Fellow author James Lawless gave me a big endorsement over at his blog also.

The result of all this positivity is that I now have distribution for the novel via Argosy Books who are Ireland’s only independent book wholesaler. So any bookshops out there who may not have The Rising Son in stock, please order it now from Argosy.

For any schools or libraries out there wishing to buy copies you can order them from IES Ltd in Leixlip, Book Haven or The Book Nest in Sligo.

Otherwise, please ask for it at your local book shop, go to Original Writing, Amazon UK or buy a copy here on my site.

I will be doing the first of my library/school visits in February which I’m really looking forward to. If you want me to visit your school or library please contact me through the web site.

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive so far on this journey through publication. I’m really grateful for all the help and advice I’ve received. I’ve learned more in the last two months than I ever wanted to know about sales, marketing and distribution.

The Rising Son now available here

You can now buy your copy of The Rising Son directly from me here for €12 including delivery. Please click on the cover image link on the right hand side of this page and you can pay via Paypal. Please remember to include your full postal address details.

 

 

 

So Long 2015 – a quick review

Every year I do up a list of achievements in terms of publications and awards received during the year and this year is no different. Also this year I did some really enjoyable readings – Over The Edge in Galway during the summer, Canalaphonic in Rathmines Library in May with some of my fellow Hibernian poets and others, and Staccato in Toner’s in November, which is a great new literary and musical night out launched this year by those talented pair, Tanya Farrelly and David Butler.

The highlight for me this year was publishing The Rising Son which I hope will continue to sell well during 2016. I’ve had huge support since the book came out and I hope to do some readings further afield in 2016 and visit some schools also to talk a little about the history and the book itself and why I wrote it etc. So plenty to look forward to there.

I am also pleased to say that work on my first poetry collection is now complete! It just remains for me to try and get it published this year. Getting highly commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Award again this year was a great boost, as was winning the Bailieborough Poetry Prize. My poetry group The Hibernians continues to push me to create better and better work and the publication of our anthology The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work was a huge achievement this year.

But don’t get me wrong. It’s not all beer and skittles and successes. There were plenty of rejections and far more failures than successes in terms of competitions, and there was also the blunt and sickening realisation that a novel I’d been working for years (a project to which I’d devoted an awful lot of precious time) was dead on the surgeon’s table with no hope of resuscitation. But there’s no point in dwelling on the bad stuff – here’s the good stuff:

So after a refreshing Christmas break it’s onwards again! Bring on 2016!

The Rising Son – how to get a copy

It was a great boost to appear on Joe Duffy’s Liveline on RTE Radio 1 yesterday and speak a little about The Rising Son. You can listen back to the show here - I come in at about 35 minutes.

People have been asking how to get their hands on a copy, so here’s the low down: The Rising Son is now available from Original Writing, Amazon (also available on Kindle), Alan Hanna’s Rathmines, Antonia’s Bookstore in Trim, Company of Books in Ranelagh, The Village Bookshop in Terenure and Rathgar Books. Any bookshop wishing to stock it can order copies from Original Writing.

Anyone out there with any advice on how to get it into other book stores please get in touch. So far so good, but lots more to do in the new year! Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far. Happy Christmas!