Lovely responses my essay ‘Sixteen’ on RTÉ Radio 1 last night – a rare occasion where I read something myself. Covering education, the Troubles, escaping into the arts, the arts and class, sexuality and returning home.
The essay is from the anthology ‘Impermanence’ commissioned by Centre Culturel Irlandais, and edited by Nora Hickey M’Sichili & Neil Hegarty published by No Alibis Press. Recordings beautifully produced by Cliodhna Ni Anluain.
[Writers are] there to help make sense of things, to keep notes, to bear witness, to offer a commentary and a critique, to add to the conversation, and to contribute to the permanent record.Uschi Gatward
In partnership with Writing our Legacy and Galley Beggar Press we are delighted to announce an important new mentorship to support a short story writer whose work demonstrates quality of writing with a strong political ethos. This apprenticeship has been created in memory of former Word Factory Apprentice Award winner Uschi Gatward, whose debut collection, English Magic, was published by Galley Beggar Press to critical acclaim in September 2021, the same month Uschi also received a diagnosis of cancer. Uschi’s spare writing style embraces an acute social and political awareness shaped by personal experience and observation. In her writing, and in her support of other writers, she is deeply missed.
I’m delighted that Big Man has been shortlisted for the audience choice prize at The Irish Times Theatre Awards. This one-man-show up against all those big productions with massive budgets from the best theatres and companies in the country.
I’m also over-the-moon that James McFettridge has been shortlisted for Best Lighting.
Following on the footsteps of Northern Ireland’s finest like David Parks and Jan Carson (The Last Resort) I was commissioned to write a ten part series of linked short stories. The series is called The Circus and is centred around Cliftonville Circus where 5 roads meet in North Belfast.
“A former working men’s club in North Belfast called ‘The Circus’ has been refurbished and relaunched with an inaugural talent show – and a massive cash prize for the winner! – inspiring the locals to brush up on some old skills. The new owner, a successful London property developer, has promised to bring a bit of the West End to North Belfast. But can the area really change? Can the people? Cliftonville Circus is where five roads meet in North Belfast. It is situated in the most deprived part of the city; it is also the most divided. Each road leads to a different area – a different class – a different religion. ‘The Circus’ explores where old Belfast clashes with the new around acceptance, change, class and diversity.”
The first episode is on Jan 8th and is titled The Singer.
Wow! ‘Big Man’ is ‘wryly knowing, sensitively compassionate and moving’ ‘clever and considered’ ‘wise, understatedly poetic, often deliciously witty and warmly pointed portrait”timeless’ with praise for actor Tony Flynn, director Patrick O’Reilly and set designer Tracey Lindsay.
You can read the full review in The British Theatre Guide here.
You can catch me talking about ‘Big Man’ on BBC Radio with Kathy Clugston. I’m on 38.45 mins in but listen to it all for pieces with… Ruth Mc Ginley, Mel Bradley, Michael Conaghan, Victoria Gleason and Pat Abernethy.
Ruth McGinley, Paul McVeigh, Mel Bradley, Michael Conaghan, Victoria Gleason and Pat Abernethy.