I am absolutely delighted to be a recipient of a Stowe Story Lab | Screen Ireland Screenwriting Fellowship, attending the Connemara Writer’s Retreat at Renvyle House. Five full days of mentoring, peer-to-peer feedback, access to informative panels with industry professionals, writing exercises and an unquantifiable amount of inspiration, encouragement and constructive feedback. Grateful and inspired to move forward with my work. Thanks also to the Galway Film Fleadh and Northern Ireland Screen for their support of the Lab.
Category Archives: She blogs on…
Caroline Farrell is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. Recipient of a Stowe Story Lab/Screen Ireland Screenwriting Fellowship, 2022, she was a finalist in the BBC Writer’s Room 2022 (Top 3%).
In 2018, Caroline wrote and directed the short film FRAMED, selected for screening at over 30 festivals worldwide. It also won ‘Best Short Horror Film’ at the Underground Cinema Film Festival, Ireland. 2019.
She has written and co-produced the short films ADAM  and the multi-award winning IN RIBBONS , the only Irish short film to screen at the ‘Women Deliver Global Conference’ in Copenhagen in 2016.
During Lockdown 2020, Caroline made a short experimental film, HEART(h) themed around the emotions of grief and silence during lockdown. It screened at Flick Flair Film Festival and the Little Cinema Galway in 2021.
Caroline is the author of the novel, LADY BETH, ‘Best Novel’ at The Carousel Aware Prize Awards 2017 (Ireland) and the winner of an Eric Hoffer Award 2019 (Mystery/Thriller Category) (USA). She is the writer of several short stories including BOOMER TRUDY (Epoque Press 2020) which has been adapted to a screenplay.
With vengeance churning, a grieving mother goes back to her sordid past to destroy the evil man she once ran from – the father of her dead son.
Book Recommendations: June 2021
Here is the list of titles I discussed last night at our recommended reads session for South Dublin County Libraries, Tallaght. Hope you check some of them out and let me know what your think.
1: The End of The World is a Cul De Sac by Louise Kennedy. Published by Bloomsbury
There’s a quote that I heard many years in relation to writing…If you scratch the skin of pain, you’ll find beauty – and that certainly applies to this debut collection. Dark, funny, sad and sometimes visceral, I highly recommended these short stories.
2: How the Moon Travels by Oein DeBhairduin. Published by Skein Press
A magical collection of folklore tales that the author has gathered from his own childhood, passed down through the generations of the Travelling Community through the oral tradition of storytelling. It’s a gorgeous book, very connected to nature, wildlife and landscape, and beautifully written.
3: Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller. Published by Penguin
The story revolves around a brother and sister, middle-aged twins, their lives turned upside down when their mother dies. There’s a darkness to the story but there’s also resilience and I just loved the character of Jeanie.
4: Panenka by Rónán Hession. Published by Bluemoose Books
Hession’s debut, Leonard and Hungry Paul has been hugely successful, and deservedly so, as it’s a wonderful book. Panenka, his second novel is equally brilliant. I think the author’s great gift is that he writes gentle characters and places them in very relatable worlds, in this case, a middle-aged man, making amends for the mistakes of his past and learning new ways to mend his broken life. Just beautiful.
5: The Sound Mirror by Heidi James. Published by Bluemoose Books
Spanning three generations of women and thousands of miles, the story begins with Tamara who is visiting her mother for the last time. Along for the journey are the ghosts of her past generations, their stories woven in to reveal the secrets, joys and struggles of Tamara’s life. LOVE!
6: The Beasts They Turned Away by Ryan Dennis. Published by Epoque Press
If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend this book. Set in a stark rural community, an aging farmer is burdened with looking after a strange little boy who does not speak, and whom the local villagers believe to be cursed. Told with a real sense of place, and sharp and haunting prose.
7: Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. Published by Granta.
A super-slim volume packed with tension and dread, Ghost Wall unravels the story of a young girl called Silvie and the hold that her strange, obsessive father has over her. Perfectly paced, beautifully written, this story will creep up on you.
8: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. Published by Viper
If you’re looking for a well-written psychological thriller/horror/crime novel, this is the book for you. It’s quite a challenge to describe it without giving some of the plot away, but basically, it is the story of a man named Ted who lives with his daughter and his cat, Olivia, who is one of the main narrators of the book. Stick with it, it’s an unsettling, heart-stopping read, with an ending that is far from predictable.
9: Laura Cassidy’s Walk of Fame by Alan McMonagle. Published by Picador
Set in Galway, it’s about a young woman called Laura whose father always told her that she was destined for fame. Now Laura is on a mission. The books explores grief, yearning and family tension, and it’s also funny and hopeful. Loved it.
A Whole New Plan for Living by Jim Lucey: Published by Hachette Ireland
10: There aren’t many of us who haven’t been affected in some way by the events of the past while – I for sure have had my own share of grief and the anxiety that goes with it. This is a gentle, easy to read guide to achieving balance and wellness.
And always remember, If you can’t find what your looking for, ask a Librarian. if they don’t have it, they know how to get it!
Recommended Reads from the Librarian’s Cellar!
I have been invited by Tallaght Library to recommend some of my favourite books from my current reading stacks. This will be a ZOOM event on Monday, 21st June at 7:30pm. (Summer Solstice – what better day to chat about books to borrow for the Summer months!)
I’ll be chatting for about 30 mins so do sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/recommended-reads-with-caroline-farrell-tickets-154071157981
Leaving 2020 between the pages…
This is my diary for 2020.
Projects progressed. Notes on cancelled creative, teaching and facilitative work. Notes on other offers of work I have declined. Work that under normal circumstances I would have enthusiastically leapt in, head first.
The energy of 2020 did not permit that.
This diary is also bundled with many notes, cards and tokens. Blessings from the friends who kept in touch, those connections that proved so vital to our mental health. To our resilience.
And what a year for paper-cuts. Some healed, others still open sores. I’ve dealt with personal ill-health. Watched my elderly father decline, and just recently, experienced the devastation of a family member’s death during brutal Covid restrictions. This diary is a log of heartache. Of anxious days. Of a year for questions and revelations, of feeling battered and bruised.
For all of it, I hope I will emerge a little wiser. Right now, all I really know for sure is that the universe has plans for us. A future that we cannot control.
What we CAN control are the energies we allow to share that future with us. The people who make it bearable. The ones who think outside of themselves to ask how YOUR day is going. The ones always ready to offer support. To listen. To be on standby with a supply of bandaids for those pesky paper-cuts that might never heal. Cherish THOSE people.
For 2021, my friends, I wish you all the happiest of days. We only have to do one at a time. There will be no new year resolutions, though I will try to be resolute in avoiding the following:
1# Rumination: fuck that noise!
2# Dry January in Lockdown: fuck that too!
BOOMER TRUDY: A Short Story
Delighted to share a short story of mine, recently published by Epoque Press in the 7th Edition of their é-zine, on the theme of ‘Isolation’.
You can read BOOMER TRUDY alongside some other wonderful work, HERE
Feature Image is copyright of Epoque Press. 2020
On Writing: It’s just you and the words
Unprecedented days. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone – and you know what – unless you are one of our magnificent and brave frontline/essential services workers, not afforded the option of self-isolating – staying safe, healthy and sane are all that most of us need to concentrate on right now.
For the writers among us, productivity may have waned, which may also have us feeling a strange kind of guilt, so I thought I’d share this Facebook post from 2011:
This was a much appreciated ‘break in the clouds’ at the time, and if it helps any emerging writer to go easy on themselves, I’m happy to share that it took me so many years to finish Lady Beth. It was always a marathon. It was never a sprint.
For most of that time, I was riddled with self-doubt. Convinced myself that no-one would want to read it. That no-one would be interested in what I had to say. Then it happened. I got a break – someone saw the potential. And it fired me up again. I kept at it – for another six years until I published it on 2017 – though I continued to struggle. (Still do!) But what I’ve learned is that if it’s in your blood to be a writer, you’ll be one.
It will and should take time. You will and should have difficult days when you question why and what for. You’ll be sticking your neck out, your ego out, your vulnerability. Not everyone will be kind and supportive. Those voices might even deafen you. Paralyse you.
Consider those battle scars as ammunition. Wear those nasty paper cuts with pride as you learn to push aside the negative forces. Shove them out of your way so that you can hear those others. The positive voices. The encouragers. The mentors. The enablers.
Take your time. You’ll be honing your craft ‘til the day you die. Be open to making mistakes, but also be open to learning from them. It’s not a competition. It’s just you and the words. Tell your stories. Take all the time you need to tell them in your unique voice.
A writer and filmmaker, Caroline is the author of the novel LADY BETH and the writer/director the short film FRAMED (2018). An award-winning screenwriter, she has also written the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013).
Taking time out… and not writing.
Strange days are these, and everywhere I turn, there is advice for writers. How to make the best of all this spare time during social isolation. How to be more productive. How to finish that WIP. And I fell into all of it — putting pressure on myself to produce, to create, though nothing of worth was emerging.
I was riddled with guilt that I wasn’t writing — until I copped on!
So I stopped trying. Left it alone. Shut the laptop and stacked the notebooks. I read more books, practiced my amateur knitting, stared out the window, did some housework (only the essential stuff!) and used the time to let the mind wander. To let new thoughts percolate. To be inspired.
And this happened: Not Writing. A Poem (Of Sorts) published by Pendemic, a wonderful site, created to publish new writing in response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Check it out for some insightful writing and writers.
The pang that lingers as reality bites
Mornings open to inspection
Of the belly ache. Someone forgotten
The distance. Forced and unnatural
Of the worry
The children not cherished
Of fragile safety nets undone
And inevitable loss
Of love for kin held close
And the hollow of their absence
Of soul friends
The warmth of their knowing
Of energy sent and received
Of being blessed
Of hitting the reset button
For the chance to begin again.
The thing is, we all have the belly aches, the worries that churn. We are all filled with self doubt that our art doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to a world in turmoil. A world closing in to protect itself. To protect us. But, we’re a resilient bunch, us humans. We’ll get through this. We will thrive and we will reset.
And the creativity will flow.
Caroline E Farrell is a writer and filmmaker. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH and the Writer/Director of the short film FRAMED. She is also the writer of the short films IN RIBBONS and ADAM.
A fantastical weekend for FRAMED!
What an incredible weekend for FRAMED, picking up the ‘Best Short Horror Film’ award from Underground Cinema Film Festival! Very honoured to be in the company of some fantastic filmmakers, and thanks to Dave Byrne and the Underground team for their continuing support of independent filmmakers, in Ireland and abroad.
AND THIS from Devil’s Night Gallery Film + Art Event!
Devil’s Night Gallery is an independent film and art show which takes its name from its two inspirations. The first is “Night Gallery”, a classic, horror anthology television series, hosted by Rod Serling, from the ‘70s. The second is the aggressively independent spirit of the city of Detroit, represented by the ominous “Devil’s Night”. Like the namesake tv series, Devil’s Night Gallery features screenings of short films preceded by an introduction and the reveal of an original piece of art inspired by the film. Film submissions were received from around the world and were narrowed down to 10, from Michigan and beyond, which best represented the experience of the “Night Gallery”. A handful of amazing local artists were selected to create original works of art inspired by those same films. Just look at this incredible work – based on FRAMED – from artist Joyce Swope. Fantastical!!!
Road-tripping Discoveries: Finding Flannery
This past September, while visiting Savannah, Georgia for a couple of days, I trudged my loved ones through the oppressive heat of that hauntingly beautiful city on a quest to find Flannery O’Connor’s house on East Charlton Street, Layfayette Square.
Birthplace of a Genius.
The house is now a museum that honours her memory and work, and we were treated to a wonderful and very informative tour from a fabulous lady, Cody. You can find out more about the house HERE.
Mary (Flannery) O’Connor was born on March 25, 1925, the only child of Edward F. O’Connor and Regina Cline (Who lived until the ripe old age of 99, passing away in 1995). Edward was diagnosed with lupus in 1939, and died on February 1, 1941 when Flannery was 15.
A very poignant moment to learn that Flannery’s extremely ill father spent many a day resting here.
Flannery would entertain her little friends in the family bathroom, sitting in the bath to read stories – until her friend’s parents realised that she was scaring these little girls with ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’, and they weren’t allowed to play with her anymore!
Flannery was also diagnosed with lupus, in 1951, at the age of 26, and although she was only expected to live for five more years, she survived for thirteen more. While battling her illness, she completed more than two dozen short stories and two novels, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear it Away. She died in August, 1964, her third novel unfinished.
Queen of the ‘Southern Gothic’. An incredible woman.
I couldn’t resist leaving a copy of LADY BETH in the FREE LITTLE LIBRARY outside Flannery’s house. The feckin’ cheek o’me!!!