Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Cúirt agus Mayo

I had a truly wonderful time at the Cúirt Festival in Galway last week/weekend. Go raibh mile maith agaibh go gach einne. Bhi sé iontach mhaith agus craic mhor leis Donal.

I had an absolute blast and a half appearing with the lovely Donal Ryan, who I hope to do more events with in this lifetime. We share common ground in our work, language and sense of humour. I was so delighted Donal told me Our Woman in Malarky reminded him of his mam and we’d a great exchange and laugh before our event started.

Thank you so much to our extraordinarily warm and welcoming audience and the good people of Galway and Cúirt for having me. I have such strong associations with that festival historically as a reader, that to appear as a writer was a remarkable, life affirming moment. Also, my mother was able to see me read for the first time.

It was rousing to catch up with friends, including writers I have met previously on the road or at other festivals during the past 2 years.

I will also never forget the massive pot of tea that the Corrib House guesthouse presented me with on arrival. I was so exhausted and sick from the travel, yet I must have drunk 80 cups of tea and then felt rejuvenated and headed off to see Hugo Hamilton’s event with Roddy Doyle at the Town Hall Theatre. I was happy to find a second wind as there was plenty to contemplate in Hugo’s new work.

On Tuesday evening I did an event at the Ballina Library, where a couple of scenes from Malarky take place. It was a great group with engaging questions and much discussion. It is quite remarkable to be able to talk about the book within a specific geography and to have fun puzzling out which building I mighta been imagining for certain moments. The recession has, of course, closed quite a few businesses locally. I was sad to see Padraic’s Restaurant for sale, since three generations or is it four generations of my family have eaten there since the 1970’s.

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And now for the weather report — abridged. The weather in Galway was pure sun the first days, which only gave way to a bit of rain. The weather in Mayo has been the usual rhapsody that kept me concentrating. Strangely reassuring to hear the wind again. Also some sun. The quota of rain. “All seasons, all leanings …” as Our Woman would say.  Mayo weather is very Shostakovich. Today however was belly warmer weather. Birdsong, still, overcast and put on a belly-warmer. By the time we reached Strokestown on the road, it was belly warmer, cardigan tighter and chin to the chest weather. I was amazed to learn that yesterday was gardening weather in Dublin, while in the West it was far from that.  I am receiving many updates on the winter storms that the country has endured here and naturally pelting questions at the reporters. I don’t feel imaginatively I have quite a clear enough vision and understanding of what took place. It’s a lack in my weather archive.

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