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New novel marks Nuala’s debut in the UK and US

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Nuala Ni Conchuir.

Ballinasloe author Nuala Ní Chonchuir, who has gained a reputation in Ireland for her award-winning contemporary fiction, has taken a new direction with her latest novel, Miss Emily.

Writing under the name Nuala O’Connor, she has travelled to 19th century Amherst, Massachusetts, to the family home of Emily Dickinson. The arrival of Irish maid Ada Concannon into the household in 1866 saves the Dickinsons from domestic disarray and more importantly, sees the two women form a strong friendship.

The reclusive American poet and the outgoing Irish teenager discover they were born on the same day and that seals their bond, despite the difference in their ages and social class. Ada provides ‘Miss Emily’ with company during her melancholy spells, while Dickinson steps outside of her comfort zone to support Ada when the maid’s reputation is violated and people turn against her.

Told in alternating chapters by Dickinson and Ada Concannon – the plot is somewhat predictable, but the writing is beautiful and engaging and Ní Chonchuir’s attention to domestic detail and the rhythm of small-town life is superb.

Miss Emily, which is being published this side of the Atlantic by Scotland’s Sandstone Press, marks the first time that Ní Chonchuir has been represented in the UK, hence the Anglicisation of her name.

Here at home, the Dublin-born Ní Chonchuir has had two novels published – You and The Closet of Savage Mementos – as well as five short-story collections and four books of poetry. Her awards for fiction awards include RTÉ radio’s Francis MacManus Award, the Cúirt New Writing Prize, the Jane Geske Award (USA), the inaugural Jonathan Swift Award and the Cecil Day Lewis Award. She was also shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature.

Miss Emily also sees Ní Chonchuir make her American and Canadian debut. She is being published there by Penguin-Random House and already the Washington Post has described Miss Emily as a “quietly soaring” novel.

It’s available in bookshops and online priced at €12.99.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Father and daughter showcase artistic talents in city exhibition

Judy Murphy

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Clodagh Wade and her father Willie Wade at their exhibition in Anton’s Cafe, Fr Griffin Road. The piece behind them was made by Willie from found and recycled items and has become a talking point among customers. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Artist Clodagh Wade describes her 81-year-old father William (Willie), as “a man who can turn his hands to anything”.

And looking at the work he has created for their joint art exhibition at Anton’s Café in Galway City’s Fr Griffin Road, she isn’t wrong.

Willie, an electrician who set up Wade Electrical in Barna over 50 years ago, was a keen photographer all his life and took many courses in the craft. In retirement, he turned his hand to art and his talent in that area is equally strong.

Clodagh, meanwhile, after secondary school in Salerno, Salthill, did an Arts degree in UCG, emigrating shortly afterwards and spending several years abroad with her husband whom she’d met in college.

She’d always wanted to do a post-grad and that was her intention when they returned to live in Galway. But with small children and her husband’s job requiring him to travel a lot, that was difficult.

So, Clodagh decided to return to her first love, art. She’d been drawing and painting since childhood and had loved all things creative, getting involved with the Arts Festival as a volunteer from an early age.

Clodagh did a Fine Arts Degree at GMIT, graduating five years ago. She loved the course but laughs as she describes how difficult it was at times with two small children. Still, she persevered and now in their teens, the girls have a love and critical appreciation of art.

Clodagh’s work from the students’ final-year show was selected for the RDS arts awards that year, while Galway Arts Festival asked her to take part in a group exhibition in the City Museum.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Short film follows accidental romantics during lockdown

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“A deeply personal film, and not something I expected myself to make,” is how actor and film-maker Michael-David McKernan describes How to Fall in Love in a Pandemic, a short documentary which will be screened online at the Galway Film Fleadh this Friday night.

It’s being shown as part of the Shorts Programme, one of the annual festival’s most popular strands. Coming in at just under 11 minutes, it’s a snapshot of an evolving relationship during a difficult and strange time.

Michael-David met fellow filmmaker Mimi Wilcox in Chicago in February of this year when the Meath man was visiting the Windy City for a film festival.

They connected via the dating app Tinder and spent a few glorious days together before he returned to Ireland. There was a definite spark but as his home is in Ireland and hers is in America, they decided that was that.

However, they stayed in touch via voice and text messages and on March 13, Mimi arrived in Ireland for a five-day holiday, planning to stay with Michael-David and his dog, Myla in his Dunboyne home. That was the day the country went into lockdown and her intended short stay became a far longer sojourn as her flight home was cancelled.

The two filmmakers who, as Mimi put it, “were pushed together at a time when most people are being kept apart”, did what filmmakers do. They recorded events on camera. Using their smartphones, they documented this strange new life as it unfolded, exploring how they felt about the situation

Directed by Michael-David and with a soundtrack by electronic musician, Dáithí, the resulting film explores their romance and also shows how people of this generation record their lives.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Moment of Glad Grace to be shown in Kinvara Courthouse

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Moments of Glad Grace by Anne Greene.

The work of the Nova Contemporary Art Collective, a group of nine artists, all graduates of the Centre for Creative Arts and Media at GMIT, features in the next exhibition from KAVA, the Kinvara Area Visual Arts collective. It will run from this Friday, July 10, to Friday, July 17.

And the good news is that this KAVA show will take place in the physical surrounds of Kinvara Courthouse – the first exhibition to be held there since the Covid-19 lockdown began.

It’s titled Moments of Glad Grace, inspired by the poem When You are Old by William Butler Yeats with its lines: ‘How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true.’

The past few months have shown how important those ‘moment of glad grace’ are, as people found solace in being mindful and aware: standing back, observing the world and our place in it.

The members of Nova have created a range of work that explores and interprets these mindful moments, using a variety of styles and mediums in the process.

The exhibiting artists are Katie Burke, Deirdre Crowley, Maria Donegan, Anne Greene, Emer MacDermott, Hugh Murphy, Louise O’Boyle, Tonita O’Dwyer and Beatrice Stapleton.

This show follows last summer’s successful show from Nova in the Kinvara Courthouse.

The KAVA committee have decided not to hold an opening reception this time, because of social distancing regulations. However, the artwork from Nova will be on display from 11am- for anyone who would like to visit the gallery.

It’s the first step back to normality after KAVA overcame the challenges of being in lockdown by hosting a series of online exhibitions over the last couple of months. Further shows are being planned for the space in the coming months, all going to plan.

Moments of Glad Grace runs until next Friday, July 17.

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