This year I entered the Fish Flash Fiction competition with ‘A Quarter Pound of Tea’ and was delighted to be selected as a finalist by flash fiction judge Nuala O’Connor.
With over 5,000 entries in the four Fish competition categories, my submission was one of 40 pieces published in this year’s Fish Anthology 2016, edited by Clem Cairns, which can be purchased here. The 40 pieces published in the anthology comprises the 10 finalists from each of the four Fish competition categories; short story, flash fiction, short memoir and poetry.
I was also invited to read ‘A Quarter Pound of Tea’ at the anthology’s official launch at the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry, Co. Cork on July 20th, made possible by Clem and the Fish team who publish the anthology each year.
While at the West Cork Literary Festival, I attended ‘An Evening with Kevin Barry & Carys Davies’ who were both funny and entertaining. Kevin was nostalgic about growing up in the ’70s and ’80s in suburban Limerick. He also read from his latest book ‘Beatlebone’ which describes John Lennon in a fictional story returning to Ireland to spend time on Dorinish island in Clew Bay, Co. Mayo. The excerpt Kevin read was funny and poignant and I’m looking forward to reading the book.
Carys read from her short story collection ‘The Redemption of Galen Pike.’ I’ve just finished this serene and thought-provoking collection and especially admired the story ‘The Quiet.’ There is a fairy tale quality to her writing that transports you to another world where nothing is beyond the bounds of possibility. I highly recommend it.
At the festival’s open mic session hosted by Paul O’Donoghue on July 20th, I re-read ‘A Quarter Pound of Tea.’ It was a great opportunity to talk and listen to other aspiring and emerging writers.
While in Bantry, beautifully situated on West Cork’s haunting Atlantic coast line, I visited Bantry House & Garden, purchased in the 18th Century by the White family. The history of the house was brought to life by a wonderful tour guide, Alison. There are so many treasures to see from all over the world at Bantry House. There is also a coffee shop that sells produce from the gardens and elegant B&B rooms located in the east wing of the house where guests have use of the Billiard Room and Library in the evenings. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the Bantry area.
I also visited The Letter Café in Bantry, with its unique invitation to use the stationery they provide, that will enable you to get away from the busy digital age, if only while you drink your coffee and have a slice of cake. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Beyond Bantry, if you have time, out further on the peninsula I took a trip to Dursey Island by cable car. I believe it is the only cable car operating over open water in Europe, so it’s definitely at treat. The island views are breathtaking from the cable car and on the island itself.
On the way back from Dursey Island, I stopped in the small village of Castletownbere for lunch at The Copper Kettle which is located in the central square of the village. The food was delicious.
Overall the trip to West Cork Literary Festival last week was one of the highlights of the year. I’d also like to thank Clem Cairns and the Fish team for the opportunity to visit and read at the Fish Anthology 2016 launch in Bantry this year.