Thursday 19 February 2015

Monday 16 February 2015

Ladies Who Launch

L to R: Henri, Andy, Paula
This time last year the three of us were sweating our second drafts for our MFA in UCD; now we're looking forward to a season of launches: 

April 2nd marks the launch of Henrietta McKervey's debut, What Becomes of Us (Hachette Ireland). Later this month, she'll be mingling with the glamouratti at the Hennessy Awards.

October 1st sees Andrea Carter's new Donegal- based crime series kicking off with Death at Whitewater Church (Constable & Robinson).

Along the way there will be launches for the new John Murray imprint, JM Originals, and for my own debut, Generation, details tba.

And I'll be getting my kit off for Gorse No. 3, which looks gorgeous, as you can see, and which you can pre-order here. 

Monday 9 February 2015

Mid-term Artist's Dates

Who here knows what artist's dates are? Go on, raise your hands, all you children of the nineties. For the rest of you, these were part of a programme designed to kick start your artistic side, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I didn't do it myself; I was busy with other programmes from other books: how to type (Typing with Mavis, of course), how to write (Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer), how to swim...

(making me possibly the only person on the planet who learned to swim out of a book). But, taking advantage of  my job - I worked in the Upstart Crow Coffee Shop/Book Shop in Long Beach, California - I did leaf through The Artist's Way in idle moments, and took from what I fancied from it.

I fancied artist's dates. I still do.

Experience has taught me that the kids' mid-term means that I will get no work done. It is pointless to even try. When the Arts Council decides to endow me with plenty, I'll book camps or pay a minder, but until then I've decided to 'accept the things I cannot change'. No work will get done next week, but there's nothing stopping us going on artist's dates (they're supposed to be solo expeditions, but oh well...). Ideas so far:

Any suggestions? 

Saturday 31 January 2015

Olwen Fouéré's RIVERRUN

I didn't get much sleep the night before, so I had extra coffee to compensate, but this meant I spent the day zipping through tasks, then crashing, and I wasn't sure what state I'd be in for Riverrun, Olwen Fouéré's adaptation of Finnegan's Wake, no less, and for which I'd bought tickets months before. I only knew that that Fintan O'Toole had said of it that we 'do not comprehend but we do apprehend'.

What to say about it? Every ounce of Fouéré, body and soul, went into that hour. Fading in and out of focus, in and out of comprehension, catching batt on tarf for the Battle of Clontarf in a tide of sound and motion, for example, but having not a clue what was afoot more often. It seeped in somehow - apprehended more than comprehended? - and in the end it was if it was all a dream, my own, not Fouéré's or Joyces. Crossing the East Link Bridge this morning I looked at the river beneath with a new appreciation.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Brief Thoughts on The Passion According to G.H.

Clarice Lispector
I finished The Passion According to GH. It's a strange, mesmerising meditation on life, love, language... actually, I'm not going to even try. It's like nothing I've ever read before. Or, if it is, it leans more towards yoga philosophy, maybe crossed with Julia Kristeva, than any novel I can think of. Like taking mind-altering drugs, there's a shift, or an opening, on reading, after which there's no going back - nothing is the same again.

Friday 16 January 2015

Nobody Wants To Hear About Your Dreams

So why do so many of us put them in our books? Mea as culpea as anyone, though I do try and limit them to one per book. But no one can stop us blogging about them. . .

I dreamt about a cartoon-like caterpillar, shades of Alice in Wonderland, or Gary from Sponge Bob, only this one was encased in a translucent cube about a centimetre high. And it was a serious dream: the creature in the cube - or maybe the cube was part of the creature - needed to escape, and somehow I was responsible.

Don't go yet - there is a point to this post.

I've started reading Clarice Lispector's The Passion According to G.H., in which 'a well-to-do Rio sculptress enters the room of her maid, which is as clear and white as in an insane asylum...There she sees a cockroach...'  - though I haven't got there yet; in the opening pages we are strictly in G.H's consciousness, and she is 'searching... searching... trying to understand', as is the reader.

Then - no segue - there's my new must-watch TV programme, Nature's Weirdest Events, in which we were treated last night to images of midge larvae - would you look at his little face.

My subconscious mind appears to have combined the maid's bedroom, and the midge, and made - to sleeping me - a quite gripping story. There's the unique character we care about (we do!), there's danger, and rising tension (literally; my cube critter was on an escalator and it was about to reach the top, the bit where you get sucked into the machinery...).

And that's my point. Stories are created by the coming together of disparate ideas, conscious and subconscious. It's just a matter of catching them in the act.

Thursday 8 January 2015

GENERATION to be published by John Murray

Good news!

My debut novel, GENERATION, will be released in July 2015 by John Murray Publishers as one of the launch titles for its new list, John Murray Originals (they published Darwin's Origin of the Species. Originals - geddit!). Here's The Bookseller. And here's a bit from Bookbrunch:

GENERATION (world rights from Ger Nichol at the Book Bureau) is a first novel by Paula McGrath, whose writing has appeared in Mslexia and elsewhere, and who recently completed an MFA at University College, Dublin. Richards said: "Generation is a short novel that contains a huge amount. It takes place over three continents and three generations, and shows how the repercussions of decisions taken by parents play out in the lives of their children. Like Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart, it is told from a revolving perspective, as one character picks up the thread from another. It is ambitious and gripping; formally inventive but always approachable." 

There's a cover design competition too, so if you're that way inclined, or know someone who is, take a look here.

I've been hugely enjoying the editing process with Mark Richards, my editor, and I am very excited about his plans for the book. And of course all thanks for placing it in such a good home go to the indomitable Ger Nichol of The Book Bureau.