I’m writing from Cork, the arts-loving Irish city that is home to the Munster Literature Centre and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival. It seems like every street in this city has a book store or a performance space, and the readers and audiences at the festival have been wonderful so far. Here’s a photo of Owen Hill, reading last night from his funny and quirky collection, LooseEnds:

The reading stage was designed by a local set designer, which I thought was a cool touch. Every night Patrick Cotter, the festival director, has spoken powerfully about the story and its importance as an art form, and so far we’ve heard from Tania Hershman, Robin Black, Claire Keegan, and Aidan Mathews.

There are signs all over town about the festival:

It’s kind of hard to see, but the bottom middle book image is Mattaponi Queen. It’s a thrill to see my book in Ireland, home to so many important short story writers, and to hear so many fantastic (and famous) writers read their work. This morning I saw Tess Gallagher at breakfast, but I was too shy to say hello. Last night I had drinks with Louis de Bernieres!

I hope to take some better photos today, but here are a few more.

From the Butter Museum:

At the Cork Museum, we learned that Cork was once home to giant deer:

I’m off to a reading now, but I’ll try to post again soon.



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5 responses to “Cork!

  1. pat hoppe

    Thanks for the beautiful photos! How exciting to meet and be met….do not be shy…..pretend you have the exuberant spirit of your most extroverted friend and stick out your hand and say “HI!” It can’t hurt….and years from now they will remember that they met you at Cork at the Short Story conference. How marvelous that your book was chosen out of the many …..such a tribute to you and your talent. Every time I reread your stories I discover another fact or insight about your characters; they are rich and deeply drawn. I love rereading good literature. Used to tell my students how many times I read LORD OF THE FLIES. I am sure the students did not believe me. But every time I read it, I made a discovery. I think that is one of the main indicators of great fiction…..that it can be understood again and again…..that there are many facets and patterns and designs if you look hard enough. But the joy is in the discovery… …..wish I had thought of this when I did your Amazon book review. Maybe I will go back and do another one! Ha. Have a great time….I know you are cherishing every moment….

  2. V.

    I’m so excited for you!

  3. Jennifer H

    What a wonderful trip! Post more!

  4. Owen Hill


    Thanks for posting the picture. Those baby heads! We may suffer for lit, but they gave their young lives–I’ll never forget them.


  5. Joy

    I always loved reading Irish literature especially; though the situations were different from my everyday life, people remain largely the same from country to country. I’m imagining being Irish and reading your book full of Virginians, how foreign and familiar they must seem, all at once.

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