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, March 1, 2014

Welcome to Irish Short Story Month Year Four

Event Resources  Everyone Is Invited to Join Us for Irish Short Story Month Year III

Ways to Participate-do a post on your blog and let me know about it-I will keep a master list and I will publicize your post and blog.

If you are an Irish author and would like to be featured, please contact me.   There are several options open.

If you would like to do a guest post on my blog on anything related to Irish short stories, contact me.

Please consider joining us for the event.  All you need to do is complete a post on any Irish Short Story and let me know about it.  I will publicize your post and keep a master list. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. 

Today is the first day of Irish Short Story Month Year Four.  I first began this event in 2011.  I planned on a week and extended it to ten days.  In 2012 I planned on ten days and I extended it to four months and Irish short stories have become one of the central features of my blog and my own reading life.  Last year it lasted two months. This year I plan to continue  the event for a month. ( I conduct it in March to link up with Saint Patrick's Day events.)       I hope to post on a number of new to me writers, lots of classics, and some emerging writers.  In 2012 I held a mini-event, Emerging Irish Women Writers in which I focused on the work of ten writers.  This event fundamentally transformed my blog and my own reading experience as I began to establish contacts with the writers I featured.   It is my opinion that once a writer posts or publishes a story it is "fair game" to post upon but I sought and obtained permission from all the writers last year before I posted on their work.   Through this and subsequent contacts I became much more attuned to the creative process of writing and the business side of Irish literature .  Some of the writers I featured in 2012 have already begun to take their place on the world literary stage and others will.  This year I hope to feature a few more emerging Irish writers, men or women. 

Why Irish Short Stories?

An Irish short story writer wrote the most influential novel of the 20th century and beyond, another was the greatest poet of the 20th century (and perhaps beyond that), another was he most influential playwright since Shakespeare,  and one became a cultural icon and helped create a new sensibility.  Of course I am talking about James Joyce, William Butler Years, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde.  Just the city of Galway with a population of under 100,000 has produced more great literature than many a country with a population of  over 10,000,000.   There are at least fifty writers of the second order in Irish literary history that would be considered national treasures anywhere else.  Irish literature is also the story of colonialism and the struggle to survive in the face of terrible hardships.  There has been a lot of ink spilled by people much more erudite than I am to try to explain why the Irish have produced so much great literature and why the short story is a dominant literary form there. In a literary "shoot out" between the combined forces of the USA and England I would be betting on the Irish.

  I have also begun to read Irish history to help me understand the stories better.  I see now that one must understand the impact of the famines, the power of the priests, and the wars for independence to understand the Irish short story.  I am sort of guided in my thinking by Declan Kiberds's great book, Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation.  He devotes a lot of time to a post-colonial treatment of Irish literature and this has helped me a lot.  I see lots of continuities between Irish short stories and the many short stories of India and the Philippines I have read.  There are interesting similarities between the Philippines and Ireland.  Both were colonized, both were made Catholics, both lost their native languages to a good extent and had their cultures largely destroyed, both never harmed any other countries and even though they are politically free now they are still dominated by outside cultures. 

I claim no expertise in any literary matter.  I am not an academic or a scholar.  I  love to read and want to help others learn about one of the greatest reading areas in the world, the Irish short story.  Going with my love of reading is a love of learning new things and I find this characteristics in the Irish, a love of learning for it's own sake, not for another end.  I admire their great pride in their history and literature.

I invite your participation..  You can do so by writing a post on your favorite Irish short story writer, either on your blog (send me the link) or by guest posting on The Reading Life.   You can also publish your own story here.  (I am willing to document my readership stats to potential guest posters if they ask me to.)  Last year we had lots of great posts.. Even if no one joins in I will push on (though perhaps it will be the expression of a "Lonely Voice"). 

I like short stories with elements of the "other world" and the Irish short story abounds in this. 

Meet the Staff for the Event

Rory, the handsome young lad at our right, a mere 614 years old, was born in the greatest of all leprechaun stories, "The Luck of the Irish" by the very American Stephen Vincent Benet.   Right below Rory, (a position she completely refuses in real life) we have Carmilla, brought to life by that great Irish writer with a very French name (descended from French Huguenots way back) Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.  Carmilla was a Nobel woman driven from her lands by the advancing English armies and was the first lesbian literary vampire.  Though she is not totally averse to gentlemen callers.

At our left we have Ruprecht, a very striking cat, (maybe),  we do not know his history.  He just wandered in during Irish Short Story Week in 2012 and he never left.  Some say he is shape changer and perhaps a pooka but he is here to stay as long as he wants.    Both Rory and Carmilla feel they are totally in charge of the event and have some serious issues with each other. Rory insists Carmilla is in love with him and her response is "not for all the pots of gold in Ireland".   Last year a priestess from the time of Newgrange, before the pyramids were built, stopped by a few times but we have not heard from her yet this year.  We do hope to have some drop ins from the greats of the short story world.   

Anyway the idea is to have some fun, it is OK to be as serious or as whimsical as you like during the event.



No comments: