Select Page

My first book to be published by Doire Press

My great news this week is that the literary publishing house based in Galway, Doire Press, is to publish my first collection of short stories, Ferenji, in 2016.

Doire-Press-image

DOIRE PRESS was founded in 2007 in Connemara by Lisa Frank and John Walsh, also both writers, who seek to publish new and emerging writers who give voice to what it means to be Irish in a changing Ireland.

Since then Doire Press has continued to blossom,  publishing writers as diverse as  Susan Millar DuMars, Miceál Kearney, Aileen Armstrong, Celeste Augé, Jim Mullarkey and Madeleine D’Arcy, whose collection Waiting for the Bullet won the Edge Hill Readers’ prize; and poets Kimberly Campanello, Kevin O’Shea, Paul O’Reilly, Susan Lindsay, Jo Hemmant, Dimitra Xidous and Adam White, whose book, Accurate Measurements was the only Irish publication to be shortlised for the prestigious Forward Prize in 2013.

Their anthologies include 30 under 30, chosen as a Top Ten Title of 2012 by Joseph O’Connor in The Irish Times, and Galway Stories, a collection of short stories set in neighbourhoods throughout the city and county of Galway by many of Ireland’s top writers, including Kevin Barry, Mary Costello, Mike McCormack, Nuala Ní Chonchuír, Olaf Tyaransen and Julian Gough.

deirdre-unforgiven-coverI first met John and Lisa in December of 2013, when I was assigned to write a review for Hot Press of Eamon Carr’s first published play, Deirdre Unforgiven: A Journal of Sorrows  (you can read that review here, BTW).

Eamonn’s book was beautifully produced, and featured a compelling cover with ink line drawing by John Devlin. The play itself is a fascinating exploration of the old Deirdre of the Sorrows legend. Since original drama is rarely given such handsome treatment, I looked up the Doire Press website and found more excellent new Irish writing there.

While – like every other contemporary writer of short stories and poetry – I had initially toyed with the idea of self-publishing, I made a submission of my work to Doire Press the following year when their annual open call for submissions came out, and while my 2014 proposal – a collection of stories on the theme of Irish emigrants abroad – wasn’t selected, my 2015 one – short stories set among peacekeepers, aid workers and press working in conflict and post-conflict zones – was. Happily, it will now be published as one of their 2016 titles.

The other titles writers to be published in the coming year by Doire Press are:

The Woman on the Other Side by Stephanie Conn
Jewtown by Simon Lewis
Hearing Voices / Seeing Things by William Wall
Peacekeeper by Michael J. Whelan
Proof of a Great Restlessness by Adam White

I’m very proud to be part of this great group of artists, and look forward to working with John and Lisa at Doire Press in 2016 for my debut collection of short stories, Ferenji.

So, now – back to the writing, but more anon!

Considering the times: an anniversary remembered

He pulls me out of the cabin near the beach, and tells me the tide is alive. He says that out in the blue night a million tiny vessels are flowing along the current off to somewhere else, and he wants us to go with them. I say no. The hut near the beach is all we have, where we can rest in relative safety, considering the times.
from Famine Fever, a short story

Famine-fever-illustration

In November 1995, prompted by a significant historical anniversary, I wrote a short fiction piece on a big emotional issue:  the Great Famine.  This morning, I woke up and realised that this year was another anniversary, albeit not one people have tended to note.  I’ve decided to re-post Famine Fever before the year is out, considering the times.

And
 since there are still people in crisis in our community and very close by, I thought I’d post these too:

Simon Community   Concern   ALONE    De Paul Ireland   Oxfam   Focus Ireland

 

Irish Examiner Feature by Sue Leonard

So delighted to get up this dark December morning and read the lovely piece today in The Irish Examiner by Sue Leonard, run as part of the “Beginner’s Pluck” column.   Sue’s kind words further made my day as she accredited the work with something every writer tries to acheive:  Whether she is describing the heartbreak of a family whose child has been damaged by a landmine; the impermanence of love on the field, or an exquisite encounter on a beach at dawn, Mulkerns creates magic.  With the verdict concluding that the book is “quite a wonderful collection of linked stories” I’ll be starting the new year on a high tomorrow.  It was great to meet with Sue and chat, and you can see more about her on her own website here.

Meanwhile, click here or click on the image below for the article.  My favourite line of it quotes me on working for Hot Press Magazine during my rock’n’roll years:  “I was hanging around backstage with various bands,” she says.’  Yes indeed – what a job description! 

beginners-pluck-header

Irish Independent “top book picks” 2016 – Ferenji

The Irish Independent newspaper asked Irish Writers for their “top book picks” of 2016 for the Christmas Eve issue, and it was great to see Dermot Bolger giving the heads up to Ferenji in his input.  Click here or on the image below for details.

He notes:  “It is also lovely when a writer whose stories you have read with pleasure for years finally collects them in an overdue debut, and I was very taken with Helena Mulkerns’ Ferenji (Doire Press) where she mines her experiences as someone working in remote, dangerous regions with the United Nations to create short fictions which are finely written and astutely observed, in terms of the human heart and of the physical terrain they skilfully traverse.” 

dermot-bolger-ferenji-blog  

An an emigrant Christmas story: Jetlag

Aircraft service

 

A round of applause awoke Darragh from uneasy sleep.   Bright light and chatter washed over him, and as the “fasten your seatbelts” sign dimmed, the dreaded child in the seat behind him bleated:

“Mama, we’re home!”

He stood up, squinting, as cabin bins crashed and people jostled to get off the plane.  Waiting stubbornly until it was almost empty, he ambled down the aisle.  An air hostesses gave him a jaded beauty queen smile as he left.

Four years, almost to the day. Four years on a holiday visa.  Of hard labour, cash under-the-table, no health insurance, of worrying about the authorities. Four great years. He’d had some laughs and made money despite his status.  And when he’d come through this same airport three weeks from now, he’d be able to describe himself with that elusive, coveted adjective: legal. God Bless Bruce Morrison.

 

To read more, click here