From the Wilde Side: Inside Reading Gaol

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For the first time ever, Reading Gaol has been opened to the public, particularly poignant as it coincides with a magnificent Artangel – Inside: Writers and Artists in Reading Prison, an exhibition of new works that have been created in response to the prison’s architecture and history. Leading artists, writers and filmmakers that include Steve McQueen, Marlene Dumas, Nan Goldin, Robert Gober, Jeannette Winterson and many more have produced work that has been installed in the prison cells, wings and corridors.

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At last I saw the shadowed bars

Like a lattice wrought in lead,

Move right across the whitewashed wall

That faced my three-plank bed,

And I knew that somewhere in the world

God’s dreadful dawn was red.

From ‘The Ballad of Reading Goal’ by Oscar Wilde.

I have to admit, it was a spine-tingling moment to stand in Prison Cell C.2.2. – no matter how much it might have changed (or not!) over the years since 1897 when Wilde was released from his two-year sentence. I also still find it difficult to believe that the prison was only closed in 2013!

For much of his time there, Oscar was not even allowed to write, but with a change of Governor, was eventually given access to enough paper to complete De Profundis, a letter written to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas.

“Inside the great prison where I was then incarcerated, I was merely the figure and the letter of a little cell in a long gallery, one of a thousand lifeless numbers, as of a thousand lifeless lives.”

From De Profundis, 1897. Oscar Wilde.

The current exhibition provides audio recordings of De Profundis from Colm Tóibín, Patti Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Neil Bartlett, Kathryn Hunter and many more.

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The books that Oscar requested and was eventually allowed to have in his cell. He deliberately avoided asking for any titles that might have been viewed as contentious.

You can check out further details of the ‘Artangel’ Exhibition HERE

The Librarian’s Cellar: Crowe’s Requiem by Mike McCormack

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Well deserved accolades continue to zap towards Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, a novel that I struggled with at first, but persevered with, and gladly so. Deservedly, it has gone on to win The 2016 Goldsmith Prize and The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year, 2016.

The book I’m featuring here though is McCormack’s Crowe’s Requiem, first published in 1999, a dark and gothic story of a young man with a devastating disease. A brave, imaginative tale that leans into the macabre and features this strange protagonist, the self-named Crowe, raised in bleakness by his grandfather in the remote place of Furnace. Crowe is a friendless loner until he ventures out from the isolation of the west of Ireland to the alien world of university, where he meets Maria…and the respite of the honeymoon period takes a cruel turn as Crowe seals his fatalistic denouement.

I do recall shedding a few tears when I read this book, perhaps fifteen years ago, and also remember being impressed by the uniqueness of both the writing and the narrative. Definitely worth a second look!

ADAM Short Film: View it here…

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Many years ago, I wrote a short story about a little boy struggling as he witnesses the violent arguments between his parents. A loner who does not smile, ADAM is 7 and deeply affected by the violence at home, the constant tension and the spoken and the unspoken messages he is too young to comprehend.

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He likes wearing his daddy’s motorcycle helmet. No-one can see him under there, in the secret world behind the black visor, his impenetrable armour. Inside there, he can be afraid and he can hide the shame he feels, though he’s not sure what he has done wrong. No-one can see him cry, and no-one can see him getting angry…


Fast forward to 2012, and from my adapted script, our short film came to be. Time to let ADAM out into in the world now (with a mindful warning for the faint-hearted of the violence and bad language therein).

 

Click on the VIMEO Link to view ADAM

https://vimeo.com/191958557

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I would also like to repeat my big thanks and respect to the following for the grunt work applied to get this film made on a tiny budget. The mighty talented, and big-hearted Denise Pattison, Director. Gar Daly, Cinematographer. John King, Editor, Brynmor Pattison, Sound. Amy O’Neill, Make-Up. And to our superb actors, Johnny Elliott, Sinead Monaghan, Aideen McLoughlin, and Eric McGuirk (ADAM). Also, big thanks to Errol Farrell for the saintly patience and support!

About Caroline…

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Caroline is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin Ireland. ARKYNE, STORY OF A VAMPIRE is her first novel, written online through this blog! She is now working on her second novel, LADY BETH, and has also written several feature length and short screenplays, many of which have won awards.

IN RIBBONS, a short film she wrote and co-produced has already screened at more than thirty festivals worldwide in 2015 and 2016. See awards and nominations here

Her screenplay, IONA’S HOUSE, an urban ghost story, won the Best of Fest Screenplay Award at the Fantasmagorical Film Festival, 2015. Her family fantasy feature script, PIXER KNOWS, reached the finals of the New York Screenplay Awards 2015, The Hollywood Screenplay Competition, 2015, and won the Atlantis Award at the Moondance Film Festival, USA 2011. It was also a finalist in the 2010 PAGE International Screenplay awards.

Her short Film ADAM [2013] was officially selected by The Waterford Film Festival, 2013, and Clones Film Festival, 2013, The Richard Harris International FF, 2014, and was nominated for BEST DRAMA AWARD at Dare Media Underground Film Festival, 2014.

Caroline was also shortlisted at ‘The Waterford Film Festival 2014’ and the ‘Kildare County Arts Film Commission 2014’ for her short script, HUSHAWAY. In 2012, her script, THE BOOK CROSS, was shortlisted for an Irish Film Board Gearrscannain Award. She is currently working on the novel version of her screenplay LADY BETH, which was also selected by the Irish Film and Television Academy for a one-to-one mentoring session with AFI Master, the late Gill Dennis, at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2011.

Signed copies of ‘Arkyne, Story of a Vampire’ are available to purchase from Caroline’s Blog.

“I loved the ending! Tense from chapter to chapter…” Niamh Boyce, Author

“The underlying menace is constant, the story and setting highly original and the cast of characters a delight.”

Lissa Oliver, Author

 

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Director Nick Willing [Neverland, The River King, Tin Man, Alice in Wonderland] described Pixer Knows as “A lovely story, beautifully told – and well written.”

“Pixer Knows” is a beautifully written, utterly original screenplay which will attract younger and older audiences.  [Page Awards Judge]

A regular blogger, Caroline was shortlisted for Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards in 2016, and long listed for ‘Best Arts & Culture Blog’ in 2015. She is a member of the Irish Film and Television Academy ,The Writers Guild of Ireland, and The Independent Authors Network and regularly reviews Books, Film and Theatre for The Librarian’s Cellar. Caroline is also a member of The access>Cinema Board.

Her Whiskey Rose

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Many years ago, I bought my mother a present – a whisky rose, named so for its rich burst of colour and translucency, a blend of amber and peachy hues that was even more striking in the setting she chose for it, to the side of the front door, along the garden wall.

Over the years, her much-loved whiskey rose battled for strength against the sapping dominance of the vines and shrubs that overshadowed its delicate nature, binding it, bending it, stealing vital light and nourishment, and yet, her whiskey rose fought on, surviving, year after year to bloom again, brazen, vibrant, smiling at the sun with her unique blush.

My mother is nine months gone now, and after her funeral, my brother, Austin, dug up her whiskey rose and brought it home to replant it…and there she is, our whiskey rose, resilient as ever, turning her face to the light, proud and vibrant, and she is there.

In Ribbons: Screenings, Nominations and Awards

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Indie Cork Film Festival, 2016

World of Film International Film Festival, Glasgow, 2016

Semi-Finalist in the Swedish International Film Festival, 2016

MERIT AWARD for Best Short – Indiefest Film Awards, 2016

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MERIT AWARD for Women Filmmakers – Indiefest Film Awards, 2016

Jehlum, India Short & Long Film Festival, 2016

Castellaneta Film Festival, 2016 16th July – Puglia, Italy

WINNER of Best Experimental Film – Los Angeles Cinefest (Feb) 2016

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NOMINATED for Best Experimental Film – London Film Festival, 2016

NOMINATED for Best Experimental Film – Lisbon International Film Festival, 2016

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WINNER of Best Sound – Wolves Independent Film Festival (winter) 2016

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WINNER of Best Director – Wolves Independent Film Festival (winter) 2016

 

Seattle Irish Reels Film Festival, March 2016 – Seattle, USA

Arts & Cinema Corner, Women Deliver 4th Global Conference, 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark

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The Royal Film Festival, 2016 – Benton, USA

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WINNER of Best Experimental Film – Seadance Film Festival (Jan) 2016

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MMP Belgium Online Short Film Festival, 2016 – Belgium

Women’s Only Entertainment Film Festival, 2016 – USA

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Women’s Director International Film Festival, 2016 New Dehli, India

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Roma Cinema DOC, 2016 – Rome, Italy

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Dingle International Film Festival, 2016 – Kerry, Ireland

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Shortfest International Film Festival, 2016 Malta

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OFFICIAL FINALIST – London Film Awards, 2015

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MERIT AWARD for Best Drama – International New York Film Festival, 2015

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Los Angeles Independant Film Festival Awards, 2015

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Waterford Film Festival, 2015

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WINNER of the Grand Jury Prize – Worcestershire Film Festival 2015

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Braunschweig International Film Festival, 2015 Germany. NOMINATED for Best Connection of Sound & Image

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Richard Harris International Film Festival, 2015. Limerick

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Sky Road TV & Film Festival, 2015 Galway

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Clare Island Film Festival, 2015. Ireland

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Underground Cinema Film Festival, 2015 Dun Laoghaire. NOMINATED for Best Cinematography

Official Selection UCFF 2015

Galway Film Fleadh, 2015 – Short Film Slam

Corti Da Sogni International Film Festival, 2015 Ravenna, Italy. NOMINATED for the European Fiction Award and Most Creative Short Film***

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Fastnet Short Film Festival, Schull, 2015

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Maynooth Film For All, Maynooth University, 2015

Belfast Film Festival, 2015

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LADY BETH, The Novel

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I’ve been away from the blog for a bit, but delighted to announce that I have finally sent the manuscript of my novel, LADY BETH off to my editor. Very, very excited about this one, and the beautiful cover will be revealed soon.

Now the waiting game begins…wish me luck!!