Ireland's Own anthology goes on sale
THE 6th Anthology of Original Writing from Ireland's Own, which has just gone on sale, includes 39 short stories and memoir pieces from the latest annual writing competitions run by the Wexford-published family magazine.
These were selected from over 500 entries, and 15 counties are represented, with stories also from England and the United States.
There is a strong Wexford emphasis in this year's volume. The foreword is by Billy Roche, successful writer and playwright whose crime series Clean Break has recently been a hit on RTE television. He encourages aspiring writers to sit down and give it a go, and praises Ireland's Own for its role in promoting writing.
The cover illustration is an atmospheric photo of boats at Wexford quayside by local photographer Michael Harpur.
In addition, three of the prizewinning stories are by residents of the county. Overall winner was Tina Sweeney from Roperstown, Enniscorthy, with Letting Go, a moving story about the youngest member of the family heading off for his first day in secondary school.
Enniscorthy has a second representative in Anne McCormack from Lower Shannon, a runner-up in the short story section with A Mother's Blessing, a tragic tale about a young couple planning to emigrate to America.
The third Wexford entrant is Kevin Lewis from Clonard in the town with his story The Music Lovers and readers will recognise many of the town locations and landmarks in this story about three old friends enjoying their regular musical nights. Kevin is also well known as an artist.
The other stories and memoirs touch on many aspects of Irish life, past and present, with joyful themes interspersed with stories of bereavement and emigration, told with pathos, nostalgia and often a dash of humour. The diverse memoirs cover many topics and recall some great characters and will certainly strike a chord with many readers.
Some of the writers have featured in previous volumes, but for the first timers, this book may represent a small but significant step on the road to a literary adventure.
The book is published by Original Writing, Dublin, edited by former Ireland's Own editor Phil Murphy and is available through Easons at €11.95 or online at www.originalwriting.ie or www.irelandsown.ie It is available for a cash and carry price of €10 from the offices of the Wexford People, New Ross Standard and Gorey Guardian and would make a perfect Christmas present.