December and January

7th December

Ó Bhéal in association with Foras na Gaeilge presents a bi-lingual evening with

Meg Bateman

You can listen to Meg’s reading here.

Meg Bateman lives on the Isle of Skye. She was born in Edinburgh in 1959 and started writing poetry in her early 20s, in the unfocused days of PhD research. As her first degree was in Celtic Studies and her poetic tastes had been formed mainly from Gaelic examples, most of her poetry has also been written in Gaelic. She has worked as an academic at Aberdeen University and now at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, but has continued to write in her free time.

Her first collection, Òrain Ghaoil/Amhráin Grá was published by Coiscéim. Two further collections, Aotromachd/ Lightness and Soirbheas/ Fair Wind, were short-listed for the Scottish Book of the Year in 1997 and 2007. Over the last three years she has been writing in English and she hopes to bring out an English collection. At the reading in Cork she will read a wide sweep of her Gaelic and English poetry with translations where necessary.


14th December

Ó Bhéal in association with Poetry Ireland presents

Gearoid Mac Lochlainn

Gearoid Mac Lochlainn was born in Belfast in 1966. His work has won many awards at home and internationally and his work has been translated into several languages including Romanian, Basque, Slovenian, Hebrew and Czech. He has been writer in residence at Queens university, Belfast, and the University of Ulster. He was also the subject of a TG4 documentary Idir Dha Chomhairle (2007).

In 2007 he was also a fellow at The William Joiner Centre for the study of war and social consequences, at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He received the major Arts Council NI award for poetry in 2006. He has published four collections of poetry in Irish and English:

Babylon Gaeilgeoir (An Clochán, 1998)
Na Scéalaithe (Coiscéim, 2000)
Sruth Teangacha/ Stream Of Tongues (Cló Iar Chonnachta, 2002)
Rakish Paddy Blues (limited edition published by Open House Festival, 2004)


4th January

Patricia Byrne

Patricia Byrne lives in Limerick and her first poetry collection, Unstable Time, was published by Lapwing Press, Belfast in November 2009. Patricia writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, is a member of the Killaloe Hedge School Writer Group and a regular reader at the White House poetry sessions in Limerick. She holds an MA (Writing) from NUI Galway and has been broadcast on RTE Lyric FM, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Scotland. Her short fiction is included in the collection Town of Fiction (2009) from the Atlantis Collective of writers.

Patricia’s poetry has been widely published in journals and magazines such as The SHOp, The Stony Thursday Book, Southword, Abridged and Swarthmore Literary Review. Patricia won the Dromineer Poetry Prize (2007) a FLOSCA Literary Prize (2008) and was short listed for the Yeats Poetry Prize (2009). She has presented her work at the Heinrich Boll Seminar, Achill, and at the New Writing Conference in Bangor, Wales. She is currently writing a nonfiction book The Friar & the Felon, about the Valley House atrocity in Achill in 1894.


11th January

Eugene O’Connell

Eugene O’Connell was born in Kiskeam, North West Cork in 1951. He has published two poetry collections, One Clear Call (Bradshaw, 2003) and Diviner (Three Spires Press, 2009) as well as a number of chapbooks. His book of translations, Flying Blind (Southword Editions, 2005) was volume 12 of the Cork European City of Culture Translation Series.

Eugene is also the editor of the Cork Literary Review, and is now working on a new poetry collection and a prose book entitled A Far Country. There is a selection of his poems available on Poetry and he will also be reading at the forthcoming Munster Literature Centre Eigse Spring Festival, in Mid February.


18th January

Ó Bhéal in association with Foras na Gaeilge presents a bi-lingual evening with

Simon Ó Faoláin

You can listen to Simon’s reading here.

Rugadh Simon Ó Faoláin i mBaile Átha Cliath agus tógadh é don gcuid is mó i bParóiste Mhárthain in Iarthar Dhuibhneach. Is seandálaí gairmiúil é agus tá roinnt leabhartha agus altanna scríofa nó chomhscríofa aige ar an ábhar san. Bhain sé amach a dhá chéim i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh. Chaith sé tréimhsí ag obair agus ag maireachtaint sa Ghaillimh, sa Bhreatain Beag, ar Oileán Acla agus i gCorcaigh, ach tá sé socraithe síos in Iarthar Dhuibhneach aríst anois. Foilsíodh a chuid filíochta ins na hirisí Feasta, Comhar, An Gael, An Guth, Cyphers agus Poetry Ireland Review chomh maith leis na díolaimí Blaiseadh Pinn agus Mil na Ceárdlainne. Bhuaigh sé Duais Cholm Cille 2008 i mBéal Átha na Buillí. Choimisiúnaigh Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge a chéad chnuasach, Anam Mhadra a fhoilsigh Coiscéim i 2008. Bhuaigh an cnuasach úd Dhuais Glen Dimplex na Gaolainne 2008 agus Duais Eithne agus Rupert Strong 2009 i gcóir céadchnuasach as Gaolainn nó Béarla.

Simon Ó Faoláin was born in Dublin and raised for the most part in Paróiste Mhárthain in West Kerry. He is a professional archaeologist and has written and co-written several books and articles on the subject. He holds two degrees from University College Galway. Having spent various periods working and living in Galway, Wales, Achill Island and Cork, he has now settled in West Kerry again. His poetry has been published in the journals Feasta, Comhar, An Gael, An Guth, Cyphers and Poetry Ireland Review as well as the anthologies Blaiseadh Pinn and Mil na Ceárlainne. He won the Colm Cille Prize at Strokestown in 2008. His first collection Anam Mhadra [‘a Dog’s Soul’] was commissioned by Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge and published by Coiscéim in 2008. It won the Glen Dimplex Irish language award 2008 and the Eithne and Rupert Strong Award 2009 for a first collection in Irish or English.


25th January

Chris Agee

Chris Agee was born in 1956 in San Francisco and grew up in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. He attended Harvard University and since 1979 has lived in Ireland. He is the author of three books of poems, In the New Hampshire Woods (The Dedalus Press, 1992), First Light (The Dedalus Press, 2003) and Next to Nothing (Salt, 2009), as well as the editor of Scar on the Stone: Contemporary Poetry from Bosnia (Bloodaxe, 1998, Poetry Society Recommendation), Unfinished Ireland: Essays on Hubert Butler (Irish Pages, 2003) and The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland (Wake Forest University Press, 2008).

Chris is currently completing a collection of essays, Journey to Bosnia. He reviews regularly for The Irish Times and is the Editor of Irish Pages, a journal of contemporary writing based at The Linen Hall Library, Belfast. He holds dual Irish and American citizenship and spends part of each year at his house near Dubrovnik, in Croatia.

On Next to Nothing:

‘Strong and real and thought-through – a masterful collection.’John F. Deane

‘It is a profound and exceptionally moving book. I haven’t read anything so powerful for a long time. I was left with a sense of both the fragility and the huge importance of the here and now, as well as with an expanded sense of poetry’s capacity.’Hugh Dunkerley

‘Next to Nothing’ chronicles the years after the death of his four-year-old daughter, Miriam Aoife in a series of episodic, technically perfect and pitch-reticent lyrics. For this poet, grief crashes upon the shore of language in three distinct waves: a series of brilliant couplets, a series of minimalist, impressionistic lyrics and a series of more discursive, muscular stanzas. The whole enterprise adds up to something beyond lyric poems – a work that breaks through the barriers of literature to become something more, a palliative journal, a chronicle of the heroism of lost parenthood, a handbook for the bereaved.’ Thomas McCarthy, The Irish Times

‘[It] is the most compelling book of poems I have read for years – a very significant, permanent tribute to Miriam, and representation of her. She joins the son who was Ben Jonson’s best piece of work.’Bernard O’Donoghue