‘A Pint and a Haircut’ (True Irish Stories) for Haiti

A ‘Pint and a Haircut’ is a collection of true Irish stories collated by Garret Pearse. The collection is raising money to be used by the aid agency Concern in Haiti. I heard about it through my online friends Jane Travers, Barbara Scully and Maria Duffy who all have pieces included in the book. Please read all about it and support this cause. One for the Christmas stockings and for friends/family in Ireland or with Irish connections abroad I think!

Garret Pearse tells us more about this great project:

What’s your background and how did you come up with the idea of ‘A Pint and a Haircut’ for Haiti?

My background is a long way from publishing books!  I work as an IT consultant and while I love reading books of all kinds, I’d never taken on a project like this before.

The idea for the book itself came from a book edited by the US author Paul Auster called ‘True Tales of American Lives’.  It was a collection of true American stories submitted to a show on National Public Radio.  When the Haiti earthquake happened, I thought it might be interesting to do an Irish equivalent to raise money for Haiti.

Is this your first charity venture and why did you choose this particular cause?

I’ve done the odd fun run and triathlon to raise money for charity but this is the first charity venture I’ve organised myself.  I’d worked with quite a few Haitians when I lived in the US for some time back in the ‘90s so I was particularly affected when I heard of the awful earthquake.

Can you describe the book for us, what’s included?

The book is a collection of 71 short true Irish stories.  The stories are about anything and everything.  There’s funny stories, strange stories and some very sad stories but I think that makes it a true reflection of the diversity of Irish life.  The subject matter ranges from a granny rescuing her grandchild from the top of a tree to a man buying a hat (actually two hats) in New Orleans!

Was it difficult to get the project off the ground?

It was very easy to get the project up and running.  I had an email account and website set up within an hour.  I then sent out an email to all my friends and sat back while the stories flooded in… Well, maybe not ‘flooded in’, more like trickled in while I pleaded and cajoled anyone and everyone to send in a story.  I got some great help in the end from Eimear Rigby in Concern who got me lots of local media coverage to get the word out.

How long was it between idea conception and publication?

In all, it’s taken about 8 months. We possibly could have had the book out sooner but the goal was to have it out for the build up to the Christmas market (aaaagh, is it nearly Christmas already?!)

Why do you think the book will have broad appeal?

I think the sheer diversity of the stories means that there’ll be stories for everyone in the book.  I’ve told anyone I’ve talked to that they’ll love some, like some and probably hate a couple as well.  I also think the fact that all the stories are true makes them have a certain resonance – hopefully people will identify with many of the stories.

What are you most proud of in relation to the project?

I’ll be most proud when I’ve sold the print run of 2,000!  Other than that, I think the fact that it is such a completely Irish project.  Most of the stories are Irish, the cover painting is by an Irish painter, the publisher is Irish and it was printed in Dublin.  In these troubled times, I think everyone involved should be very proud of that.

How will the proceeds help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti?

Even 9 months on, people in Concern is still helping people get settled into basic accommodation.  Money raised from sales of the book will go towards this essential ongoing work.  There’s still a lot to do so its vital we continue to help Concern help the people of Haiti.

How and where can we buy the book?

The book should be available in all good book shops throughout Ireland.  It is being distributed by Argosy and Easons Wholesalers.

It is also available to buy online direct from the publisher, Londubh at http://www.londubh.ie/?p=756