Wednesday, January 30, 2019


I will finally manage to launch my new novel, Be Do Go Have in the coming weeks. In fact, I am doing a kind of mini book tour (very mini - it consists of two counties!), reading in two bookshops in the north-west and also in the special place that is the Yeats Building in Sligo. 

This may seem like overkill, but for an independent publisher, it is one of the only ways to sell books and engage with readers. When your marketing and promotion budget is minimal, and you don't have time to be on Twitter all day promoting your book, face to face encounters with people who might actually buy the book are invaluable. 

So there will be three launches for the price of one. The first will be in Liber bookshop, the last bookshop standing in Sligo that sells new books (the second-hand Bookmart is still going too). I sold a good few copies of my first novel, A Year in Lisbon, in Liber, so the place has been good to me. This is on Wednesday, February the 20th, at 6.00pm.

The second event will be in my friend Orlagh's bookshop, The Reading Room, in Carrick-on-Shannon. This is the next day, on Thursday the 21st, at 6.30pm. The Reading Room is small but is packed with things that you would like to read, and is a great place to find interesting stuff. 

Finally, the week after, I will return to the Yeats Building in Sligo, on Thursday the 28th, at 7.30pm. I launched my first novel here, so it has good associations for me. It is a beautiful, historic building, and a perfect setting to finish my tiny book tour. 

Friday, January 4, 2019


It is dark;
the next time we see the light
it will be nearly Paddy’s Day.                  

The cave of winter
is solid and without cracks;
the dark has a physical substance
that you can almost hold;
I feel sure that I could go outside
with a bottle and put some in,
ready to take to a far off place
that needs a little darkness,
somewhere baking under
oppressive sunlight.

The dark is a blanket that covers,
it is a barrier that keeps stuff out,
a lid that closes us in.
Light is the thing that exists -
in waves and particles and rays and shafts -
and darkness is just light’s absence, 
but sometimes,
deep in the cavern that is the Irish winter,
the dark is the only thing that really is.
Light is the aberration and its opposite
is the natural order of things.

The dark does not care about us;
it is vast, like the ocean,
and just as full of contempt for
all of our mess and hassle and
lack of light. The dark is a
creature that does not eat and does
not breathe, but which occupies space like
a malevolent gas. The dark has
no tentacles, but it feels like it does. 
The dark covers and hides
and blankets the world in negative space, 
like anti-matter, a creeping vacuum. 
The dark is a negation,
an absence, a nothingness that
sucks the vibrant hope from the world. 
The dark does not hate us; 
it is worse, it does not care if we exist. 
Our wounds and cravings
and loss do not matter to
its fixed, merciless expanse.

I hang on, and wait
for March.