Ireland's Own anthology is a literary jewel

By David Tucker

Published 26/11/2016 | 00:00

The Ireland's Own anthology.
The Ireland's Own anthology.

TWO Wexford writers feature in the recently published Ireland's Own Anthology of Winning Irish Short Stories, the seventh annual collection from Ireland's leading family magazine which has been produced in Wexford town since 1902.

Thirty nine stories and memoirs were selected for this literary jewel from an entry of over 500 in the annual Ireland's Own writing competitions, including the major prize winners and those that were highly commended.

Tina Sweeney, from Eden House, Roperstown, Enniscorthy was the overall short story winner last year, and she has made it into the prize list again with her story The Promise, a sensitive treatment about teenage depression and the interaction and love between two sisters.

Rockets and Rossini is the evocative title of a memoir by Kevin Lewis from Clonard in Wexford town.

He grew up in High Street very close to the old Theatre Royal and this fuelled an interest in the world famous Wexford Opera Festival, on stage and off. As a youngster, the two biggest attractions were the fireworks on opening night and the arrival in town of the legendary and magical Guinness Clock with its many dancing figures putting on a display every quarter hour.

Almost 50 years ago Kevin graduated to Festival stage as a pageboy in Rossini's 'Othello' and thus began a lifelong involvement and fascination with the great event which still continues. At the recent Festival he was a voluntary worker in the magnificent new National Opera House which has replaced the old Theatre Royal.

The other 37 stories and memoirs in the new anthology, drawn from 16 Irish counties, feature tales of love, loss and nostalgia, all laced with a good dash of humour. Michael Harding, the author, playwright and columnist, himself an award-winning short story writer, provides the foreword to the anthology in which he lauds the art of storytelling 'which is what makes us human'. He also lauds the role of Ireland's Own in encouraging and promoting storytelling for over a century. If you are among the many thousands of weekly loyal readers of Ireland's Own, you will love this book, but it should also appeal to a much wider audience and it would certainly make an ideal Christmas present for Irish people at home and abroad. The Ireland's Own 2016 Anthology of Winning Irish Short Stories is published by Wexford company, Three Sisters Press, at €14.99, and is widely available through bookshops or on the internet through www.irelandsown.ie It is also available directly from the offices of People Newspapers in counties Wexford and Wicklow.

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