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, April 20, 2013

Afric McGlinchey A Question and Answer Session with the author of The Lucky Star of Hidden Things

March 1 to April 28

Afric McGlinchey

Today I am very honored to be able to present a Question and Answer Session with Afric McGlinchey.  Unique to her session are her comments on life in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa.  Sometimes you have to leave your homeland to get a deep perspective on it and we can see that in her answers

The 2010 winner of the Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry, Afric McGlinchey grew up in Ireland and various African countries. She has also lived in Paris, London and Spain. Her work has appeared in The SHOp, Southword, Moth, Poetry Ireland Review, Magma, Abridged, Tears in the Fence, Wordlegs, Acumen, The Sunday Tribune, The Irish Independent, Under the radar, the ditch, Bare Hands, Valve Journal, New Mirage, Northern Liberties Review, Skylight Poets, Shot Glass and numerous other journals. Work is also forthcoming in the Irish Times and The Same journal. One of her poems was published in an English Leaving Cert. Examinations Book for 2013/14/15. ( A recipient of a six-month Faber Academy fellowship and a Pushcart nominee, she was also highly commended in the Magma, Joy of Sex, North West Words and  Dromineer poetry competitions in 2012. She won the Northern Liberties Poetry Prize (USA) in 2013 and second prize in Chapter One Promotions Poetry Prize (2010)  and has been shortlisted in several other competitions. She is a workshop facilitator, reviews poetry for the online journal, Sabotage and occasionally reviews fiction for the Irish Examiner. Other details about her work can be found at Her début collection, The lucky star of hidden things,  was published in 2012 by Salmon, and reviews have appeared in Skylight 47, Southword, New Mirage, Orbis, Wordlegs, the Ana Livia Review, the New Ofi Press, the Irish Examiner and Sidekick Books. One of her poems, Eighteen, has been translated into Irish by Pádraic Harvey and published in the Conradh na Gaeilge monthly magazine ‘Feasta’. She has been interviewed in Northern Liberties Review and Al-Khemia Poetica, and has read her work at many  venues in Ireland and also in England, with the assistance of Culture Ireland funding. Afric lives in West Cork.

Afric McGlinchey

  1. As this is Irish Short Story Month year III, please tell us who some short story writers you find yourself often returning to are?  

Published writers I’ve read and love include Alice Munro, Petina Gappah, Raymond Carver, Alison McLeod, Claire Keegan, Charles Mungoshi, Jackie Kay, Richard Ford, Philip O’Ceallaigh and Chekhov, of course.

2.  I recently read Strumpet City by James Plunkett (the 2013 Dublin One City One Book Selection).  It presents a culture whose very life blood seems to be whiskey. Drinking seems much more a factor in Irish literature than Indian, Japanese or even American.  There are rude sayings like “God Created Whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world” and “Without Guinness the birth rate in Ireland would be near zero”.  What do you think are some of the causes of this or is it just a myth?. It seems to me from my reading of Irish short stories that few important conversations or events happen without drinking.  In your time outside of Ireland, do you see drinking to have less of a role in daily life than in Ireland?  

I think the Irish love affair with alcohol is connected to our endlessly rainy weather, which drives us indoors, to music, chat, and drinking. From a positive point of view, it has led to vastly greater interaction, which has made the Irish more articulate, erudite, sociable and creative. And more amorous! I do think Irish males are essentially shy, inhibited creatures (I blame the Church), who need the lubrication of alcohol for the act of seduction. As for ruling the world, the Irish who emigrate make a significant impact in their adopted countries, where they are free of their historical chip on the shoulder, caused by our history with England.  I grew up in Zimbabwe, which, although it doesn’t have the same reputation as Ireland for its drinking culture, has a high incidence of alcoholism, I think. Sweden, where my brother lives, is similar. Also, I know many Irish people who don’t drink at all. So perhaps the global perception of the Irish as drinkers is as much myth as fact.

3. Declan Kiberd has said the dominant theme of modern Irish literature is that of the weak or missing father.   Do you think he is right?  How does this manifest itself in your work?  

I’d be sad to think it’s as prevalent in real life as it is in literature. As we all know, happiness ‘writes white’, so we tend to write about the harrowing experiences more often, not about happy families. My own experience has, however, been of an often absent father – my father was in the army –  and when he was present, we were very much relegated to the background, to be ‘seen but not heard.’ Very Victorian. We only interacted at mealtimes, but once we’d reached our late teens, we were allowed to join the adults at the bar – yes, we had a bar in our homes in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa! And even in Ireland. My father was a typical Irish drinking man – very social. I have one poem where the destructive aspect of alcohol is highlighted. No missing father poems though – yet!

4.  Who are some contemporary poets you admire?  If you could hear three dead poets read their work who would you pick?

I am reading and falling in love with new poets all the time. Currently, I’m reading the work of European poets, for example Rui Pires Cabral and Semezdin Mehmedinovic. Other poets I admire are Sharon Olds,  Carolyn Forché, Sean Borrodale, Nuala Ní Dhomnaill, Derek Mahon, Billy Ramsell, Ilya Kaminsky, Grace Wells, Leontia Flynn, Rosemary Tonks, Don Paterson, Paula Meehan, Valzhyna Mort. Those are the names for today! Tomorrow I’d name others…
I’d love to have been around to hear Sylvia Plath read her work live – I’ve listened to some archives, and her delivery is  compelling. And of course her work is mesmerizing and unsettling. I’d be intrigued to hear WH Auden read his ‘Platonic Blow’! Another writer I could listen to is Dylan Thomas. His work is very exciting.

5.   A while ago i read and posted on a long biography of Hart Crane, author of the Bridge –few read it but many know of his life style as one of the first gay poets living out a life of rough trade and wealthy older benefactors – he lived a very chaotic life and died young from suicide by jumping off a cruise ship. His father invented Life Saver Candy and wanted Hart to go in the candy business with him  – so if Hart had done this and died at 75 rich living in Ohio fat, bald and married, would he still be even much thought about, let alone read?  One of the most referenced poets is Arthur Rimbaud who likewise had a short and chaotic life.  Does a poet need or naturally tend to a chaotic life? Why so much seeming admiration for writers like Jack Kerouac and others who died way too young from alcohol abuse?    (I know this is long, please just respond to it as you will.)

I think attraction to writers and other artists is as much to do with the cult of the personality as to the work itself. I also feel that, to a large extent, the poets who remain in our hearts and imaginations are the ones who have suffered emotionally or mentally. In some cases, this may be as a result of the death or suicide of partners, even though the poets themselves may not have died prematurely: for example, Elizabeth Bishop, and the still living Ruth Stone, Mark Doty, John Cooper Clarke. But I’m also attracted to poetry that resists immediate access, that hints at buried layers. That kind of intensity can arise out of solitude, the quiet, reclusive life. So no, I don’t think poets need or tend to a chaotic life, so much as an intense life, which can refer to their internal state as much as to external circumstances.

6.    Your bio on your webpage indicates you have lived for a number of years in Africa. How does that inform your writing? I am speculating that you have, in your travels, seen levels of poverty that make much of the things Europeans and Americans complain about seem trivial. (I know I have in the Philippines.) How has this impacted on you as a poet?   

I’m very influenced by my years in Africa – I’ve spent over half of my life there, mostly in Zimbabwe. The landscape has informed my image base, and my experience of the different cultures there, and of the climate, has certainly impacted on my psyche, which I think is reflected in the work too. And of course, priorities are completely different in Zimbabwe, where real poverty is not the only issue – there is also AIDS, as well as the threat of torture for those opposed to the current regime. Through an activist lawyer friend, I’ve come across people of all ages, bearing scars from cigarettes, bayonets, rifle butts, boiling water, whips.  And worse.
So yes, it’s laughable to compare life there to the expectations of Westerners in the first world. I’m very grateful that I get the opportunity to return often, to visit family and friends. Gives me a chance to readdress my own priorities. Amazingly, most Zimbabweans are optimistic and resilient. They laugh easily, dance a lot and play music. And of course, they drink too!

7.    What are some of your favorite movies?  What was the last movie you saw, the last novel you read?  Do you watch much TV or have programs you really like?

I like films that portray relationships in unusual circumstances, such as Les Amants du Pont Neuf, Betty Blue, Benny and Joon,  9 and a half Weeks, As Good as it Gets, The Power of One. I don’t have a TV, but must confess to having watched Mad Men and also Breaking Bad online, on the advice of my son! Loved them both. (I used to be a copywriter and worked in a number of agencies! And I enjoyed Breaking Bad because of the interesting relationship between the two ‘cooks’ and the personality transformation of the main protagonist.) The last movie I saw was on an Emirates flight; the film was The Impossible. I watched a few, actually, but can’t remember the titles. The last novel I read (I’ve just reviewed it for the Irish Examiner) was In Diamond Square by Mercé Rodoreda. I’m now on The Light and the Dark, by Mikhail Shishkin, and waiting in the queue are Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan and Death Comes for the Poets by Matthew Sweeney and John Hartley Williams.

8. I sometimes wonder why such a disproportionate amount of literature of the world, that is regarded as great, is written in the colder temperate zones rather than in the tropics. How big a factor do you think the Irish weather is in shaping the literary output of its writers? I cannot imagine The Brothers Karamazov being written on a tropical island, for example.

I think it’s obvious really. When I lived in a hot climate, I was outside all the time, swimming, playing tennis, cycling, living a very physical life. There was so much to do. Live open-air concerts, barbecues, boating on the lake etc. When you live in a cold climate, you need to stay indoors, keep warm, and resort to your mental faculties more frequently for entertainment. Cold weather lends itself not only to creativity, but also to reflection, an essential aspect of the creative act. Although I began writing in my teens, I only took it seriously once I returned to Ireland in 1999, when I began to attend workshops – another indoor activity! I consider Africa a physical, sensual place, and Ireland a cerebral, creative place simply because of their contrasting climates.

9. Why have the Irish produced such a disproportionate number of great writers, considering the size of their population?

Because of the weather! And because of all that drinking and sharing of stories! And because of the Irish language, which is so rich. Even though it is rarely used these days, it has given us our weltanschauung. Because of the ancient bardic tradition, and the value placed on our oral culture.

10. This may seem like a silly question but I pose it anyway – do you believe in fairies? This quote from Declain Kiberd sort of explains why I am asking this:

"One 1916 veteran recalled, in old age, his youthful conviction that the rebellion would “put an end to the rule of the fairies in Ireland”. In this it was notably unsuccessful: during the 1920s, a young student named Samuel Beckett reported seeing a fairy-man in the New Square of Trinity College Dublin; and two decades later a Galway woman, when asked by an American anthropologist whether she really believed in the “little people”, replied with terse sophistication: “I do not, sir – but they’re there."

Love that! I don’t believe in fairies, but I know people who do. In Africa, there is a strong belief in tokoloshes (knee-high malicious sprites or water spirits, a little like our bogeyman) who exert great power over those who believe in them. In fact I’ve written some tokoloshe poems based on my experience on our farm, where the workers were so convinced their compound was cursed by tokoloshes, we had to get a n’anga, or witch-doctor in, to exorcise their homes. Here’s my Exorcism poem:


Tokoloshe, tall as your knee,
they tell me
showing the whites

of their rolling eyes.
what vision is this?

The oldest shape, he says,
which maddens the mind
to a moult.

A crowd-stilled silence
for the preparation: zebra tail,
ritual mask, skins.

Then – eerie incantations,
at each rondavel entrance;
sudden lashed whip, blood tipped.

The sky swells and reddens
into the belly of their terror
– and they flee

pandemonium crushing rib cages,
as tokoloshes
emerge from doorways.

11.  I will be touring the West of Ireland as part of my first ever Irish trip with my brother.  What are the scenic highlights?  What are the literary must-do places?

I live in West Cork, near Clonakilty, and would recommend a coastal drive to Ballydehob, Schull,  Durrus and Bantry. And certainly Kinsale, where I used to live, is a highlight. The Spaniard and the Greyhound are two pubs worth visiting there. Another is the Bulman. My friend Jerome Lordan does a cruise around the harbour, which includes a very interesting historical account of the area. There’s also a ghost tour, as you’re interested in fairies! We have our very own White Lady, who reportedly threw herself off the walls of Charles Fort after her father unwittingly killed her groom on the night of their wedding. She haunts the area in her white bridal gown.
I won’t name the other obvious highlights of the west coast, as you’ll get those in every guide book, although I will say that Westport is my mother’s home town, and is very scenic, with Clew Bay, Croagh Patrick mountain, and the famous Matt Molloy’s pub. Yeats’ grave in Sligo, of course. A literary must-do if you’re in Ireland during the summer is the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry, and also the Kinsale Arts Festival, both in July. There’s also O’Bheal, a weekly poetry event and open mic in the Long Valley pub, Cork city. Highly recommended. Here’s a link to their website:

12.  It seems more and more writers have MAs in creative writing, some with PhDs.  Education is a great thing but is there a negative side to this? Will it produce  in few years a literary culture where lacking this degree will make it hard to get published?   Will the day of the amateur writer without any formal literary training be a thing of the past soon, if it is not already so?

Interesting question. There’s been a surge in MFA, M Phil and MA graduates of creative writing, which has contributed to a new aesthetic awareness in poetry, but also to a kind of self-consciousness and emotional removal. So I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not. It depends on the teachers, of course. I admire poets like Harry Clifton, Matthew Sweeney, Paul Perry, Sinead Morrissey and Michael O’Loughlin, all of whom teach, but who have traveled, and whose work exudes that breath of fresh air – something external about it.  After all, with the emergence of all these academic poets, you’d worry about a homogenization of styles and language. In fact, some poets say an academic training is the worst thing you can do to your creativity. Having said that, I do wonder if those without literary training will be left behind, because it’s not just about writing. If you can do reviews, write critical essays etc, you will be taken more seriously by your peers. And there is only room for so many writers. You have to add as many arrows to your quiver as you can, if you want a writing life.
I once came across a book of poetry by Billy Childs, where the editor interestingly opted to leave his dyslexic spelling intact. It made for a very original collection, but I’m guessing that people like him will definitely find it harder to get published, unless enlightened publishers like Jessie Lendennie and Neil Astley continue to be open-minded. Or maybe cream does always rise to the surface, regardless of education! As you can see, I haven’t resolved this question for myself!

13.   What is your reaction to these lines from Susan Cahill about the beauty of Ireland: “There is a hopelessness that a glut of natural beauty can create when there is a cultural and intellectual morass”.  
All I have read about Ireland and all the images I have seen on the net present a country of amazing beauty.  How much does this saturation in natural beauty impact the writing of the country?   Does it inspire and defeat at the same time?  Afric, is this hype?  Is Ireland much more beautiful than the numerous other places in which you have lived?

We have amazing light here, and I am fortunate enough to live in a little cottage on the edge of a craggy coastline, where I can go for a walk on an empty beach every day. Each time, I take a deep breath and thank my lucky stars that I live here. But I don’t think Ireland is much more beautiful than other countries – I’ve seen stunning scenery in every country I’ve visited. And parts of Ireland are downright ugly! The ghost estates, the awful architecture of the houses built in the seventies and later. I think the reason Ireland is renowned for its beauty is because we’ve got a long tradition of emigration and exile. And we also have a melancholic streak. We tend to romanticize home when we’re away from it – I certainly did – and to make much of it in our writing. It is ALWAYS a wonderful thing to be surrounded by beauty. I’ve never felt ‘defeated’ by it, although sometimes it’s hard to convey it accurately in poetry, when so many great poets have already done that so eloquently.

14. William Butler Yeats said in The Literary Movement: “The popular
poetry of England celebrates her victories, but the popular poetry of Ireland remembers only defeats and defeated persons”. I see a similarity to the heroes of the Philippines. American heroes were all victors, they won wars and achieved independence. The national heroes of the Philippines were almost all ultimately failures, most executed by the Spanish or American rulers. Assuming you agree, how do you think this has shaped Irish literature?   It is interesting to me that the American short story writers most admired by Irish writers, like Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty and Katherine Anne Porter all came from the American south, the only part of American to be crushed in a war.   Does defeat bring wisdom more than victory?  

It’s that poignancy thing – Ireland has had a history of struggles against an oppressor, and responds to stories conveying a similar experience. When I was growing up in Zimbabwe – then Rhodesia – during the civil war, it was very difficult to reconcile the fact that my colour put me on the side of the oppressors rather than the oppressed. Perhaps it’s the idealism inherent in striving for one’s freedom that attracts the Irish, rather than the notion of defeat.

15.  In teaching creative writing, what are the biggest challenges students have in expressing themselves?   At The William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen Summer School at which you have taught classes in the short story, what are some of the works you suggested your students read?  

The biggest challenges for student are in identifying what makes a good short story exactly. The short story shares something with the novel in its use of the camera lens and narrative. It shares something with poetry in its love of language, its economy, its use of metaphor and voice. It is a lovely hybrid form, a cross between a poem and a novel.  The challenge of the short story is to convey in a short space of  time, huge things, huge dilemmas. Short stories should pull us into their world and shake us up. They should swoop down and get you like a sea gull diving down to take the bread from your hand. The best ones will stay with their readers. Haunt them.
As Flannery O’Connor said, 'a story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.' That’s what I try to get across. At the Summer School you mentioned, we looked at several William Trevor stories, as well as Elizabeth Bowen’s Summer Night. We also read Chekov’s The Lady with the Dog, and also a story by James Lasdun, called It’s Beginning to Hurt.

16. Do you think poets have a social role to play in contemporary Ireland or are they pure artists writing for themselves and a few peers?

I think it’s down to individual inclinations. Most poets discover that they have obsessive tendencies, which means they don’t really have to hunt for subject matter. It’s always right there, welling up like a spring. Emily Dickinson’s critics say that death was her ‘flood subject’, the theme that electrified her language whenever she approached it.  Some poets will take on social or political roles, because that is their particular obsession. The danger of obsession, of course, is the potential for narrowness of aperture, arrested development. Even so, Stanley Kunitz advised his students to cultivate their obsessions. The work of a good poet is characterized by one or two emotional zones in which s/he thrives: melancholy, rage, compassion, exultation, seduction.
Whether that impulse means that their poetry communicates to a wider audience or simply to their poetic peers depends on the quality and accessibility of the poetry.

17. "To creative artists may have fallen the task of explaining what no historian has fully illuminated – the reason why the English came to regard the Irish as inferior and barbarous, on the one hand, and, on the other, poetic and magical." is this right? Kiberd, Declan (2009-05-04). Inventing Ireland (p. 646).   It is interesting to me in that not too long ago many white Americans viewed African Americans as very skilled at music and dancing but otherwise inferior and barbaric.  Are  there similar observations that could be made about colonial South African society?

As you’ve highlighted with your quotation, the Irish have experienced racism at the hands of the English for centuries, and I observed it personally when I was teaching EFL in London in the eighties. Conversely, I’ve also had the experience of growing up in a colonial, white-minority ruled Rhodesia, and also of being a student in apartheid South Africa, where  propaganda clearly indicated that blacks were inferior to whites. It’s an attitude that not every white held, and certainly at university in South Africa there was a strong resistance to these attitudes, especially in my journalism course, which was the only course at the university which accepted students of mixed races. But it was very prevalent, and even now, thirty four years after Zimbabwean independence, and nineteen years after South African independence, racist attitudes are slow to change among some die-hards. When I write poetry, it’s not with political intent, but simply to record what I see. I’m still learning how to make real poems. But perhaps we writers are also obliged to use discrimination, to offer insights, show the reader the subtleties of a situation.

18.   Tell us a bit about your non-literary, non-teaching work experience, please.

Well I’m lucky, because currently, all my work is related to writing one way or another. I write fiction reviews, I’m a filter reader for competitions, I edit manuscripts for a writer’s consultancy and also via my own website,  I facilitate workshops, and I tutor poetry online! But other jobs in the past have included copywriting for several advertising agencies in Zimbabwe and Ireland, selling encyclopedias in South Africa, teaching at primary school in Victoria Falls, then at a secondary school near Harare, bottling for a jazz musician in Paris, tutoring delinquent boys in Spain, taking and selling photographs in the market there, selling advertising for industrial magazines in Cape Town. Not in that order!

19.   How dependent are Irish writers on government support?   You have lived in places where there is very little government support for the arts, I suspect, just like there is little support in the Philippines.  How big would the impact on Irish poetry be if all government aid were cut to zero?  What good effects might this have?  Some also suggest that government aid to writers is a way of buying acquiescence in the status quo.  Do you see any truth in that?

Yes, there’s nothing like the same level of attention or respect paid to artists in Zimbabwe, let alone funding. And writers such as Petina Gappah, who write very openly and satirically about the political situation in Zimbabwe, tend to live outside the country. Irish writers are very fortunate to have so much government support, in the form of grants, travel bursaries and the like. And we have Aosdána, which, as well as status, offers established writers an annual stipend for life. But while it’s an indication of the high value placed on artists in Ireland, especially as the stipends have continued, in spite of this terrible recession, you raise an interesting point. Worth investigating whether any overtly political writer has ever been made a member!

20.    If you could time travel anywhere in the past for 30 days and be rich and safe where would you go and why?

Italy during the Renaissance era – I could be a painter (but then, as a woman, I’d have to be in disguise…) Or New York during the flower power era – as in the movie Hair – but then, that bloody war…Or I could be a courtesan during Arthur’s reign and have some knight swooning over me, like that painting, Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederick William Burton. New Orleans in the early jazz days, or Paris in Toulouse Lautrec’s time,  or one of the privileged few traveling to a newly discovered planet in about fifty years …I could go on and on…unfair question!

21.   You have experience as a literary workshop facilitator. What are the qualities in a good workshop?   Is it hard to get students to open up and feel comfortable expressing themselves?

I think a good workshop is where the students feel inspired, where exercises trigger unexpected work that surprises and excites the writer. Where the student is encouraged to keep writing, and their confidence in their own style and voice is increased. A good facilitator will gauge the group dynamic and respond accordingly. Some groups are shy and inhibited, others might have one overbearing person who dominates. In that case, the teacher’s task is to minimize that person’s input, to give everyone the opportunity to be heard. I find that students do open up, if the facilitator handles things sensitively.

Please tell us about the circumstances in your life that brought you to live for a long time in Africa?  Why did you return to Ireland?   what do you like best about living in Ireland, besides friends and family, and what could you get by without?

My father was an Irish army officer who was sent to the Congo in the early sixties. He fell in love with Africa, and a few years later, when he was invited to go to Zambia to train the newly independent army there, he grabbed the chance, and we all emigrated with him. I was five years old. We returned to Ireland when I was ten, but my parents missed Africa so much, they moved back there, to Zimbabwe this time, when I was fifteen.
I missed the sea when I lived in Zimbabwe and Zambia, both inland countries.  I missed the soft light and the green – the landscape in Africa is quite harsh in winters, after six months of no rain. I loved the wildlife, of course, and did grow to appreciate the subtleties of the browns, ambers and golds though, and now love both landscapes. I missed the Irish smiles, the turn of phrase. I missed belonging to my own people. It was difficult to be a young Irish teenager, suddenly living in a British colony, with a white skin, and therefore, by association, one of the oppressors.
I even missed the soft rain! In Africa, the storms are torrential, loud and quite dramatic. Now, they exhilarate me, but as a child, I found them terrifying!
I love being back here, but could do without the low cloud cover, and the pettiness and gossip you sometimes find! I’m lucky though – my father still lives in Zimbabwe, and my daughter has returned there, so I get to go back quite regularly. I have the best of both worlds.

23.   If someone from outside of Ireland were to ask you what are the top 5 or so contemporary Irish novels one should read to get a feel for the country, what would you advise them?   Irish poetry beyond William Butler Yeats – how do I start becoming familiar with it?  Who are some must read Irish poets?   

Off the top of my head, I’d suggest:

Amongst women by John McGahern
The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien
Four Letters of Love by Niall Williams
The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien
There are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry

but there’s also Emma Donoghue, Neil Jordan, Clare Boylan, Sebastian Barry, Colm McCann…you see the difficulty?!

In an e mail note Afric added that she additionally wanted to mention these poets

Leanne O’Sullivan
Howard Wright
Billy Ramsell
Nerys Williams
Leontia Flynn
Patrick Deely
Ailbhe Darcy
Noel Duffy
Leeanne Quinn

24.   What accounts for the dominance of Salmon Publishing in the world of Irish poetry?    

Jessie Lendennie! The fact that she’s a woman, an American, a risk-taker, an optimist, fantastic at marketing, at supporting her poets,  and at keeping up with technology, with great networking skills and access to an international market. And her right-hand woman is the wonderful Siobhán Hutson.

25. Quick Pick Questions
a.  tablets or laptops?
laptops – so far!
b. dogs or cats
dogs, to take you for a walk, and for their irresistible loyalty and love; cats for their grace and independence.
c.  best city to inspire a writer – London or Dublin or Paris or Capetown
Dublin, Paris, Cape Town. I’d take any of them.
d.  favorite meal to eat out – breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Dinner. Or breakfast. I don’t usually eat lunch.
e. RTE or BBC
I don’t watch TV, but I like Radio 4 of the BBC.
f. Yeats or Whitman
Ah, hard one! I have to say Yeats, don’t I.
g.  Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC  – great for a quick break or American corruption?
American corruption!
h. night or day
i  Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights?
Wuthering Heights
j Best way to experience a new poem – hear the author read it or read it in a quiet undisturbed place?
Hear the author read it.
k.  Nadine Gordimer or John Coetzee?
John Coetzee.
l.  Best airline based on your extensive travels?
Hmm…the most recent was Emirates, which was great. Also like BA, KLM, SAA, Aer Lingus.

Thanks very much for interviewing me, Mel. Thought-provoking questions!


I offer my greatest thanks to Afric McGlinchey for taking the time to provide us with such interesting and thoughtful answers.

It is being able to present posts like this one that keeps me blogging on!

Mel u

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