I’m absolutely delighted to be the new IWC Roaming Writer In Residence. Watch out for me on trains north and south in the New Year.
I love trains. My first degree was in Electrical and Electronic engineering and I worked for both British Rail and Irish Rail as a Signal & Telecoms engineer when I graduated. I hope to explore some unusual and behind the scenes stories during my residency.
I was living in Dublin and working for Irish Rail when I first started to write – and my first every writers group was in the Irish Writers Centre with Thomas Kilroy. It’s lovely to feel the journey coming full circle…
It’s been an inspiring few months. Writing has helped me to heal and find my voice, and I love helping others do the same. I’m really enjoying my time as the Irish Writers Centre Writer In Residence with Womens Aid. The work coming out is heart-warming and eye opening.
I was delighted to be part of the second curation of the Poetry Jukebox, alongside Maria McManus. There are many powerful poems on here looking both directly and indirectly at the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Have a listen outside the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. This curation runs until 10th June.
I’ve really enjoyed some mini residencies with schools in the north as part of Poetry Ireland’s Writers In Schools scheme. I was moved to tears by some beautiful feedback from one school where every pupil sent me a personal note. One said she always thought poetry was boring but now she knows it is beautiful. Another said she’s now keeping a poetry notebook and writes in it every day.
I’m looking forward to the next few months when I’ll be working with people who have eating disorders. I love helping people to find their voice again.
I’ll also be running another Heartfelt Writing Weekend. Here’s a lovely comment from a previous weekend: “This was the first workshop where I was ‘given permission’ to be myself, to write from my spirit – my heartbeat. I feel free.”
It’s a real joy to see some of my mentoring clients getting published and being shortlisted for awards.
And I’m working away on a new sequence of poems, thanks to a SIAP Award from the Arts Council. Here’s hoping the rest of 2018 is just as inspirational.
I’m looking forward to taking up residency in Down County Museum from 3rd – 5th June, working with schools on poems about the famine.
This is part of the build up to the 150th anniversary commemoration of the famine. Some of the poems will be read at a special event in Newry in the autumn.
Here’s a video of me reading some poems from my latest book The Return of the Buffalo. Hope you enjoy.