Last Friday night I went along to read at the celebratory launch of issue 25 of the well-regarded Irish literary magazine Crannog in the Crane Bar, Galway. And what a great night. It was my first time in the Crane Bar, an intimate, authentic, homely venue on Sea Road in Galway. There was a real buzz and about 40 people had gathered to hear the readings of poetry and fiction from the new edition.
I spent the evening with my Galway cousins who showed up to cheer me on but also with my pals Hennessy shortlisted Kate Dempsey and Alice Redmond who read their contributions to the anthology. I also met the poet Kevin Higgins and writer Hugo Kelly and chatted to editors Tony O’ Dwyer and Geraldine Burke.
Des Kenny opened the evening and made the official launch. He commented on the consistency of feeling that ran through the anthology, a testiment to the skill and ethos of the editorial team. Edith Pieperhoff explained the process of securing artwork for the ecletic but resonant front covers.
The highlight of the evening was Patricia Burke Brogan’s fantastic memoir piece ‘Thorntree‘. The author of the worldwide acclaimed play ‘Eclipsed’ about the Magadelen laundries wrote about her teaching days after leaving the novitiate and her run-ins with the Cigaire (school inspector). Her performance was terrific and she even incorporated the sounds of the street and the room into her tale. Her quality of writing is superb.
I also tremendously enjoyed the performances of Kate Dempsey with poem ‘Slow Poison’, Alice Redmond with story By a Thread and also Tom Matthew’s reading his poem More Light, Patricia McAdoo’s ‘A tribute to Leonard Cohen’ was very entertaining and poets Pete Mullineaux and Ciaran Parkes really struck a chord with their poems ‘Singing Gate’ and ‘Plastic Bags’. Fiona O’ Connor made the trip back to her roots in Galway from London and it was great to see her there to perform her story Co-ordinates.
The evening was well complimented by refreshments and excellent bluegrass music to finish. It was my first public reading (if you don’t count my first Kerryman short story success in 1982!) of my fiction and it was a great experience. The evening was recorded so when the relevant clips become available, I’ll add a link to the site.
Crannog is a wonderful blend of literary fiction that is heartfelt, acutely observed and very often funny. It is possible to sign up for a yearly subscription to this worthwhile publication or buy individual copies. This 25th celebratory issue consists of 12 stories and 22 poems, including the exquisite and resonant story The Future Husband by AJ Ashworth. It’s well worth a read.