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

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.

Shortlisted…

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Thrilled to be shortlisted in the ‘Personal Blog – Books and Literature Category of the

Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016!

Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me during the public vote period.

I am very, very appreciative!

Find out more about Littlewoods Ireland HERE

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The Dublin Ghost Story Festival…and some thrilling chills!

Dublin Ghost Story Fest

You know you’re in for a good time when you enter the majestic halls of the Grand Lodge of Ireland to be greeted with a glass of the finest James Joyce Whiskey, fifteen years old, no less! Now, I’m not a whiskey drinker, but it was nothing short of delicious, and was generously provided by Brendan Kilty SC, of The James Joyce House.

The tone was set, and did not disappoint, with a weekend of wonderful events, from the eerily toned duo of stories of M.R. James, beautifully told by Robert Lloyd Parry, and set in the very grand, and atmospheric surroundings of the Freemason’s Hall.

Author panels included guest of honour, Adam Nevill, and an array of sublimely talented writers, A.K.Benedict, Brian Goldrick, Paul Kane, Maura McHugh, Marie O’Regan, Sarah Pinborough, John Reppion, Lynda E. Rucker, Angela Slatter, and the highlight for me, David Mitchell!

Day Made!

There was also a very well-organised book fair (from the rare to the bestsellers) and a giant author signing for the launch of Uncertainties, Volumes 1 and 2, all presented by the Master of Ceremonies, author John Connolly. Congrats to John, and to Brian Showers from Swan River Press, for a brilliant weekend. I certainly hope this festival will continue for years to come.

Swag Bag

Now to enjoy the contents of my Dublin Ghost Story Festival Swag Bag!

Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards: The Longlist…

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Very, very happy to be on the longlist for the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016

(Books and Literature)

And congratulations to all the other superb blogs that made the cut!

A good day!!

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Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016

Writers and Authors Feature Interview

Many thanks to Writers and Authors for this recent feature interview

 

What genre do you write and why?

I write mostly in the horror/supernatural genre, but also in dramatic fiction. I am a screenwriter and filmmaker too, which allows me the freedom to experiment in different genres and formats of storytelling, so in terms of creativity, I have many structures to imagine and develop stories.

Tell us about your latest book.

‘Arkyne, Story of a Vampire’ is my debut novel and is a supernatural tale of myth and magic. It is set mostly in Ireland on the Aran Island of Inis Mor, where Caleb Flaherty encounters the beautiful and mysterious French girl, Coco de Rais, only to discover that she has unwittingly unleashed a daemon vampire, Lucius. Drawn together from vastly different lives and finding themselves in mortal danger, the lovers must accept and utilize the power they have each inherited through their strange and magical lineage.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

I learned a lot through the process, particularly in terms of the amount of discipline and commitment that is necessary to apply to the long form of novel writing. The story meandered between a screenplay and a novel for a number of years, and eventually, to force myself to finish it, I began to post sample chapters on my blog. I received some very helpful feedback from supportive readers and it really spurred me on to finish it. The sheer satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that I felt on ‘having written’ a novel was also rather unexpected!

Who are your favourite authors?

I have so many, so perhaps I’ll just list the ones I find inspirational in terms of writing: Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Ann Rice, Alice Hoffman, Susan Hill, Neil Gaiman, and lately, David Mitchell and Audrey Niffenegger.

What’s your favourite quote about writing/for writers?

One of my favourites is from Anne Lamott: “When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” From Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

I’m in favour of any method that enables an author to get their work out there. I understand how difficult it is for a lot of publishing houses, they simply don’t have the resources to publish every good book that comes their way, so authors have a right to look at alternative paths to publishing. I think people’s attitudes have changed for the better in regard to self-publishing in the last while. Sure, there are works out there that perhaps don’t meet the standard required, but overall, I think the vast majority of Indie Authors are sound, talented people with voices and stories that deserve a platform. I’ve been a librarian for almost 20 years, so I also understand that readers will find the works that speak to them, and whether that is fantasy, horror, crime, dystopian, erotica, western, romance, high-brow literature, classics or whatever else, taste is taste and there is an author out there to meet that need. Self-publishing bridges many gap, particularly with ebooks, supplying reading material that is cheaper and in abundance, and that means that more books are read, and more people are reading. Who can argue with that?

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Giving yourself permission to daydream, to imagine and to live in the fantastical worlds with the magnificent characters that exist inside your head!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Be brave. Write what you want to write. Write what you want to read. Look for feedback from people you trust and admire. Take the negative in your stride, don’t respond to it. Save your energy and embrace only the constructive criticism. Don’t assume you are better than anyone else. Don’t assume you are not as good as anyone else; you are unique, so strive to express your work in your own voice. Take inspiration from your own experience. Don’t try to imitate others. Keep at it.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I’m always delighted to connect with readers.

I have a website and blog: https://carolinefarrellwriter.com

I’m also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolineFarrellScreenwriter/

And Twitter: @CarolineAuthor

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Links to purchase ‘Arkyne, Story of a Vampire’ can be found here:

https://carolinefarrellwriter.com/category/links-to-purchase-arkyne-story-of-a-vampire/