Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Update on The Irish Quarter-June 2

The Irish Quarter
A Celebration of the Irish Short Story
March 11 to July 1
Future Plans

If it were not for me, The Reading Life
would be closed for lack of interest-Carmilla
Please consider participating in the Irish Quarter.   All you need do is post on an Irish short story or related matter and let me know about it.   Guests post are very welcome. 

"Oh Carmilla, why so negative"
When I began my event, then called Irish Short Story Week, I planned for ten days, just like I did in 2011.   Now it has expanded to well over 100 days.    It has turned out to be one of the great reading experiences of my life.   I have had a number of mini-events during what I now called The Irish Quarter.  Emerging Irish Women writers was supposed to be from March 23 to March 29.  I ended up expanding that to the full term of The Irish Quarter and it has turned out to be, for me at least, a wonderful experience.  I have really been overwhelmed with the quality of stories.  I hope someone will be doing something like this event in 2032 and my guess is several of the writers included in the event will be considered among the great writers of the world.  I know this sounds hyperbolic but if you take the trouble to read the stories I have posted on, with the exception of one story all can be read online, I think you will agree.   

"Carmilla, maybe I can cheer
you up"-Rory
The Irish Quarter has also taken The Reading Life into a new area, the publishing of short works of fiction.  So far I have published five stories by Irish writers and I have several more in que.  If you are interested in this, please contact me.

Here are some of the works I will post on before I declare the Irish Quarter done for 2012.   These are in no special order.

1.  Lark Eggs:  New and Selected Stories by Desmond Hogan-there will be a week devoted this collection and we will be honored with a guest post by an authority on his work.  

2.  Hard to Say by Ethel Rohan

3.  Cut Through The Bone by Ethel Rohan

4.  The Shelter of Neighbors by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne

5.  The China Factory by Mary Costello

6.  And:  Short Stories  by Jim Mullarkey

7.  Lights in the Distance:  Short Stories by Susan Millar Dumars

8.  Weight of Feather by Geraldine Mills

9.  West by Eddie Stack

10.  Out of the Blue by Eddie Stack

11.  Border Lines by John Walsh

12.  The Love Object by Edna O'Brien

In terms of number of pages this comes to at most 2000 pages. Many people read 10,000 pages a month.  It takes me a lot longer to read 2000 pages of short short stories than 2000 pages of novels or non-fiction.   It is a more, for me, intense experience.   It can take also as long to write a blog post on a ten page short story as it does for a 500 page novel.  When I post on collections of short stories I do not believe in just issuing some generalizations on the collection, I try to post on at least more than half the stories in the collection, before making overall remarks. It thus takes me a lot longer to do a post I feel I can publish on a collection of short stories than a novel or work of non-fiction.

  I try to treat unknown to me writers of short stories with the same respect I would afford Katherine Mansfield, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev, George Moore, Virginia Woolf, 
Flannery O'Connor, R. K. Narayan and other masters of the form.  This respect also means I expect a lot of the stories I read.   I almost never do a bad review on a work as if i do not like it I will often not finish it. Also posting on a story is a way of solidifying your experience with the story and helps you recall it and why would I want to do that with a story I do not like.   There are some cases where I am in projects, such as reading all of the five short listed Caine Prize for Best African Writing short stories, that require me to read and post on a work no matter what and then  I do not hesitate to say that a work is not really worth reading.  

Often when I finish a short story I find I need to stop reading for a while to sort of "digest it".   Sometimes a really powerful  five page story might be all I can read in a day.   I do not normally read more than two stories in a collection in a day and I normally post as I go in drafts.  

The Irish Quarter will continue at least until I have posted on these twelve collections.   If I add anything to these collections, then I will not stop the event until I have reviewed them also.  

I will be posting on more classic stories and big name contemporary  writers.   I will be posting on a Joyce story on Bloomsday.    I am open to being approached by writers who wish me to post on their work.  

When I do finally say The Irish Quarter is over I will be sad and I admit I will be looking forward to The Irish Quarter III, set to begin, I hope March 1 2013.   It will run from three to four months.   Maybe, I doubt it, I will be better organized by then.

My post Irish Quarter plans are taking shape.  I think I will do two months devoted to short stores of the Indian Subcontinent.  I will do a Mongolian short stories of the 1930s day based on a suggestion from a Mongolian book blogger.   In the last two weeks of August I will for the third time do Indonesian short story week in conjunction with a Jakarata book blogger.  I am also reading a number of novels and a few historical works also.   For most of my reading life I actually have read much more history, philosophy, memoirs and collections of letters,  biographies, and general non-fiction than literature.  

I will on a permanent basis post on individual stories by emerging Irish writers.   

My great thanks to all who have participated in the event so far.   

If you have any suggestions, ideas, brickbats please leave a comment.  I admit I almost wrote if you have a comment please leave a comment!   

If I ever make it to Galway from Manila, the Jameson
is on me!-Mel


Ethel Rohan said...


I applaud your great dedication to books and literature and greatly appreciate your special interest in Irish writers, particularly Irish women writers. Thank you for highlighting so many excellent contemporary writers and their work. It is an ongoing joy to see so many of my favorite contemporary writers honored here and to also be introduced to writers new to me.


@parridhlantern said...

I agree with the previous comment, you've really got a wonderful resource here, that is supporting a lot of great writers.

Mel u said...

Ethel Rohan-I am greatly looking forward to reading your two collections

Parrish Lantern-thanks as always

shaunag said...

Mel, this is wonderful, and, as Ethel and Parrish said, a fantastic resource which I have enjoyed reading and discovering and re-discovering writers. Thank you! Shauna