Cork's great literary talent is on full display in new book

A new anthology of Cork writing is launched this week, writes Grainne McGuinness
Cork's great literary talent is on full display in new book

Cork Words 3 will be launched on February 25 at 2pm in The City Library, by the Director of Creative Ireland Tania Banotti.

THERE are many reasons for the readers, writers and poets of Cork to be grateful for our excellent library services.

The city and county services work tirelessly to promote reading, showcase local authors, and cultivate the literary scene here, and many works reach a wider audience than would otherwise be possible thanks to their efforts.

One such project is Cork Words, an anthology prepared by Cork City Library – the third and final volume of which is about to be launched. At a time when public health restrictions meant few communal events could take place, this anthology has provided a showcase for some fantastic local writing.

“As we emerged from the dreaded Covid-19, it became clear that the writing did not stop,” Cork City Librarian David O’Brien writes in the foreword to Cork Words 3

“The written word is a powerful medium and the urge to write and compose among people is a burning light that in a time of adversity, shone all the brighter.

“When we needed inspiration, the written word provided ways to help us get through it.”

As in the earlier volumes, Cork Words 3 offers the reader a wide selection of writing – short stories, poems and extracts of longer works. While most of the writing is in English, there are also contributions as gaeilge.

The breadth and depth of literary talent on Cork is on full display, with work contributed from writers all across the county – Kiskeam, Ballincollig, Fermoy, Kilmichael, Allihies and the city to name but a few – as well as writing from further afield.

Being mostly written by people from Cork, there is a special treat for local readers in the number of stories and poems that are set in our home county.

In Deborah Murphy’s Little Helper, main character Rosie’s home overlooks Blackpool Shopping Centre ‘where the lights took ages to change and the cars were always beeping their horns’.

Donal Hayes writes of a boat journey from Myrtleville, while Cliff Wedgbury describes the beauty of the evening sun in Ahakista.

Elsewhere, characters visit Lennox’s chipper and others drive through Macroom. In her poem, Forde’s Daughter, Cork city native Leona Forde describes being the descendant of ‘Cork City Dockers’ and ‘Coal Quay Shawlies’.

The collection also includes a number of extracts, giving the reader the chance to sample the crime writing of Alex Barclay, Amy Cronin, Catherine Ryan Howard and Michelle Dunne. There is also an excerpt from Gráinne Murphy’s beautiful The Ghostlights.

Cork Words 3 is being officially launched this weekend in the City Library on the Grand Parade. The launch has been timed to coincide with Ireland Reads, a national day of reading, on Saturday.

“The Launch will celebrate Ireland Reads with selected poets and writers, both award-winning and emerging, reading from Cork Words 3,” organisers said.

I will leave the last word on this book to poet Theo Dorgan, who has written an essay of appreciation for the library which appears in the anthology.

“I think it is an admirable thing, that the guardians of the book have now also become makers of the book, that they have undertaken to gather in our many voices and present them to the wide world we first began to encounter in the sacred protected space of the City Library,” he writes.

“I am proud to be one voice among the many to speak to the world for, and from, my beloved city.”

Cork Words 3 will be launched on February 25 at 2pm in The City Library, by the Director of Creative Ireland Tania Banotti.

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