A CORK community activist has caught the attention of two major broadcasters and a publishing company, thanks to her writing.
Kate Durrant, from Blarney, who is involved in a number of charitable organisations, said the pandemic gave her time she never had before to write, something she has always wanted to do, with great success.
Speaking to The Echo, Kate, who is involved in leadership roles with St Vincent de Paul (SVP), Dogs for the Disabled, Blarney Community First Responders, Pieta House, and her local Tidy Towns group, said she left school at 16, with no formal English education, yet always had a desire to write.
“All I have ever wanted to be was a writer,” Kate told The Echo.
She said she entered an RTÉ competition held by Ray D’Arcy, called ‘A Page from My Life’, and two of her submissions were included in a short story book made up of 150 stories from the radio presenter’s listeners.
Gaining confidence, Kate then submitted a piece for consideration on RTÉ One’s ‘A Living Word’ segment.
“I hadn’t even looked at the guidelines, I didn’t know what was required, but someone rang me and took me through what was needed, and from there I was asked to write and record some of my pieces.”
Kate said the pieces are descriptive experiences from her life that explore the beauty and joy in the ordinary.
From there, Kate said she was contacted by BBC Radio 2 and asked to contribute to their ‘Pause For Thought’ segment.
“I sent in a piece for consideration and I was given a four-week trial. From there, I was given the contract for 2022.”
Kate said she records her RTÉ pieces at their studio on Fr Mathew Street and records the BBC pieces at home in her bedroom while praying she is not interrupted by one of her three dogs barking.
On a roll, Kate then entered the Hammond House International Short Story competition 2021 and was shortlisted in the top ten, with the winner to be announced in February next year.
Chatting to The Echo, Kate said she was amazed so much had come her way, within a year.
“I don’t know where it is going, but it is a lot of fun. All it took was a pandemic to give me the time to write,” Kate joked.
She said the past year had shown her that it was never too late to try something new, something she thought should be shared with anyone thinking about venturing into uncharted territory.
Kate said she was an example of what can happen if you work hard, stick at it, and get a break.
“It can happen,” Kate said.
“Don’t give up, have the confidence and go for it, and if you get turned down, it’s not the end of the world. I find, when you are older, the real regrets are the things you didn’t try.”
Speaking about her success, Kate said she was delighted with how things were going and thanked her RTÉ producer, Sheila O’Callaghan, for her guidance and support.
“I really love it. It’s all a bit exciting. I feel very privileged that I can write words that other people want to read. It’s a lovely time in my life.”