Tuesday, January 24, 2012

47 Roses - One Man Show by Peter Sheridan

They say every family has its secrets, and probably Irish families have more secrets than most, including my own, but that's for another post.

Today I want to tell you about one of the best one man shows I've ever had the pleasure of seeing, 47 Roses by Peter Sheridan.

I first became aware of Peter's writing work when a number of years back I read his memoir '44', a tale of Dublin in the 60's. Through this compelling narrative, as the reader, I was brought from childhood to adulthood, experiencing the family 's loss, survival and love.  It was a story told with humour and sadness, bringing to the page that great substance which makes all good story telling worthwhile, a sense that somehow through the reading experience, you get to know the people within it, touching you in a way which will ensure they stay with you for a very long time afterwards.

Later, I picked up a copy of '47 Roses', where Peter is grown up with a family of his own, and the death of his father opens the closet door just enough for the family skeletons to come tumbling out. '47 Roses' is the story of the relationship between his parents, from their first meeting in the 1940's until his father's death, recounted around the figure of Doris, a woman who formed an integral part of the Sheridan household, mostly by letters over five decades, and is a unique opportunity to visit the tale of one man's love for two women, and the joys and sacrifices of a lifetime which this love entailed.

When I decided to go and see Peter's adaptation of 47 Roses for the stage, I had the bar set very high, and I wasn't disappointed.  The stage adaptation is a triumph, not just because it recounts this great story of love, sadness, humour and song, but because it dilutes nothing in the telling.  What you get is the special sense of intimacy and emotion felt when you're introduced to people/characters who come alive within the light and shade of life in a magical way.

Do yourself a favour if you're in Dublin, or even close to it, and take in this show, like the book, it will stay with you for a long time after, and if you don't believe me, read the introduction below, and take in what some rather great voices have to say about it.  

47 Roses by Peter Sheridan

On at the Viking Theatre Clontarf Jan 23–Feb 4 2012 (8pm) - Booking Details below

After two successful runs in Bewleys CafĂ© Theatre in 2011, Peter Sheridan returns with his one man show based on his second novel 47 Roses. In it he conjures up the voices, sights and songs of his 1960’s childhood in Dublin, in a powerful coming-of-age story, peopled with deliciously eccentric characters and wonderfully bizarre incidents. By turns, brilliantly funny and intensely moving, this remarkable performance packs a considerable punch – a cultural gem.


Peter Sheridan writes at the crossroads where hilarity and heartbreak, tenderness and savagery meet.  The people who live there are often cruel, often magnificent, and always, always human.  He captures them perfectly.’
- Roddy Doyle

‘A story so vivid, affecting and lingering that it almost feels like our own.’
 - Irish Times

 'Peter Sheridan has remade the lost world of sixties Dublin in this knock-out memoir, a gently powerful act of memory and love.’  
- Sebastian Barry

'He’s funny, he’s self-deprecating, he’s street-wise, he’s naughty…pure theatre.’
- Sunday Indpendent

Booking Information

Viking Theatre @ the sheds
Connollys - The Sheds
Dublin 3

Bookings: 087-1129970    

The Viking Theatre at The Sheds is an exciting new venue on the Northside of Dublin.
It is situated upstairs at Connolly’s The Sheds where the Clontarf Road and Vernon Avenue meet to form a thriving social hub for the surrounding area.

The show is also on at RIVERBANK ARTS CENTRE (Main Street,Newbridge) on Thursday 2nd February 2012
 - get details HERE  -

(A Question and Answer session will follow the show at Riverbank)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Beginnings - Rebecca Emin

I'm delighted to be one of the bloggers who will today feature New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin.

Everything you need about the novel and links to Rebecca's site can be found below.

I think as writers we often have to address difficult subjects, and in this case, Rebecca's novel tells the story of Sam Hendry who needs to overcome something which many of us are sadly only too familiar with, bullying of young children.  

Today is the official publication day of New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin - so please give her lots of support and check it out here! 

Join Rebecca on her blog Ramblings of a Rusty Writer to find all of the details of how she is planning to celebrate today, or you can read some reviews of the book itself on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

About New Beginnings
Sam Hendry is not looking forward to starting at her new school. Things go from bad to worse as the day of truth arrives and all of her fears come true... and then some.

When Sam meets a different group of people who immediately accept her as a friend, she begins to feel more positive.

With her new friends and interests, will Sam finally feel able to face the bully who taunts her, and to summon up the courage to perform on stage?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Moving Desk

Being such a celebratory week we decided that apart from the cling, cling of glasses, some momentous change/shift was now required.  You might already know that usually when I write I do so at the place pictured below. 

It is a place which has served me well, apart from when other people, family and friends, decide they want to use the area as well.  So based on the news of the week, and the fact that a more secluded area may now be required for my writing (and hopefully lots of it), myself and hubby popped off to Woodies to get a desk and a few shelves with the view of creating a purpose built office for a budding writer, little old me.

The location was already decided upon, a corner of an upstairs attic room in the old part of our house, by old I mean 200 plus years old.  The room is a very special room, and I have done a post on it before HERE giving some of the history behind it along with before and after renovation shots. 

Anyhow, here is the new dedicated spot where hopefully many wonderful novels and short stories will be created:)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thought for the Weekend - Sean O'Casey

I'm posting this week's thought for the weekend a little early.  Well it is a kind of special quote, not just because I love Sean O' Casey's work, but because the words are deep, meaningful, and does what all good writing should do - it makes you think.

"Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity."

- Sean O'Casey -

(Btw - thanks to @MoloneyKing on Twitter who put up the quote last week - if you are not following, well darn blast you should do!)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dreams Can Come True - BIG NEWS!!!

Hi everyone,

Firstly, before I tell you all the news, I want just to say that even though I'm writing this post, I still can't quite believe it myself!

Regular visitors to this blog will know about my Novel Madness/ Writing Journey, some might even remember a post I wrote a while back under the 'When You Were Small' label, all about little girl dreams.  If you did, then you will know that my dream was to one day write a book, see it sitting on a shelf in a book shop looking all interesting, and obviously with my name on it.  Well folks that dream is just about to be turned into a reality. 

I am over the moon to let you know that I have been given a 2 book deal with Hachette Publishing.  I will be working with their lovely editor, Ciara Doorley, and my debut novel 'Red Ribbons', will be in book shops from October 2012 - yes I know - hard to believe, but it's true, honestly, it is really happening.

I can't express how excited and delighted I am with the news, I'm feeling a little lost for words at the moment (not like me!), but I just wanted to send out a very big thank you to everyone who has followed me either here on the blog or @LouiseMPhillips on Twitter, and here's hoping that in 2012, many more dreams will come true. x

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bridport Competition 2012 is now open for entries!

2011 Anthology

The Bridport Prize 2012 

(NEW CLOSING DATE: 31st May 2012)

The Bridport Prize is the richest open writing competition in the English language - with £5000 first prize for a short story (of up to 5000 words); and £5000 first prize for a poem (of up to 42 lines). The category of Flash Fiction attracts £1,000 to be won for the best short, short story of under 250 words.

The Bridport is also known as a tremendous literary stepping-stone - the first step in the careers of writers such as: Kate Atkinson, Tobias Hill, Carol Ann Duffy and Helen Dunmore.

Anyone can enter - so long as the work is previously unpublished. It costs £8 per story, £7 per poem or £6 per flash fiction and the NEW closing date is 31st May 2012

Each year the prize is judged by well known writers - this year we are delighted to announce that Gwyneth Lewis will be judging the poetry, and Patrick Gale, the short stories and flash fiction

The 2011 anthology of winning entries is available for just £12 or £15 overseas (including postage and packing). The 2010 and 2009 anthologies are available in limited numbers for £7 and £5 (£10 and £8 overseas)

Enter online at: www.bridportprize.org.uk

Or download an entry form: www.bridportprize.org.uk/entryform.pdf

Or email for a pdf entry form: frances@bridportprize.org.uk

Or send an SAE for an entry form to be posted to you

The Bridport Prize
PO Box 6910

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Saying Goodbye to 2011

The last day of 2011 started early for me.  Up at 6.30, shower, got a few odd jobs done, you know the kind of stuff, emptying the dishwasher from the night before, feeding the dog.  I had a vital task ahead of me though, so once all my little household duties were done, I set about typing up my list of questions for someone very important.

Now when I say very important, I mean this on a number of levels.  Firstly, the person I was going to interview was prepared to help me with research for my novel, secondly, he was a Detective Inspector, and thirdly, he was an old friend of mine. I knew my Detective Inspector from way back, when we were both teenagers and thought we had the answers to the world's problems.

Anyhow it was brilliant to meet him again, yes we had bumped into each other on occasions over the years but more bumping into each other at shopping centres or the like.  I had 8 pages of questions waiting for him, with spaces in between, so not too bad really.  About half way through the interview though, I knew something was wrong.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it at first, the queasy feeling rising in my tummy.  Was it because we were talking about autopsies? Body parts? Or was it something much more sinister?

I soon came to realise, that it WAS about something much more sinister - the coleslaw which I had had on my sandwich prior to him arriving wasn't going down well.  Despite looking forward to this interview for days, I had to abandon my wonderful Detective Inspector and rush upstairs.  Luckily hubby was there to put on an extra cuppa while little old me faded peacefully away in the bathroom.

Long story short, the interview was abandoned as I got sicker and sicker, and things went even more downhill from there.  Eventually I became so ill that when I rang A & E, they told me to go straight in. 

So hubby and I arrived at St James Hospital about 10.30 last night, and after going through my symptoms, I was admitted immediately and put into isolation.

Now, I am not one to enjoy spending long periods in A&E, especially on New Year's Eve, but being taken in so quickly, didn't fill my heart with a lot of joy either.  If I was getting such speedy attention, chances were, something could be seriously wrong.

The doctor treating me was from Nigeria.  He had very good english, but was a little serious and hard to get to know at first.  In the periods while he wasn't in the room, hubby and I googled my condition, and when the less serious reasons for its occurrence were eliminated, we both became more worried. 

It was one of those period when life just gets suspended.  You think what if all of this is sudddenly taken away?  Sorry to be getting so deep here, but I thought about Nuala O Faolain, and how she became ill in New York, and her extremely moving interview with Marianne Finnucane before she died.  I guess during those moments in isolation both hubby and I were thinking a little differently to the rest of the world, because suddenly I looked at the time, and realised it was 12.02 and we had both missed midnight.  I turned to him, saying a mild Happy New Year, and being the worried hubby that he was, he gave me a huge hug. 

Then we waited and waited for the results of further blood tests, while ringing everyone to tell them not to worry.  When the tests came back and our doctor gave us the verdict, we were both very relieved.  The coleslaw from early morning had given me a severe dose of food poisoning, so much so that I had burst blood vessels internally, which was why I was losing so much blood.  I had been put on a drip earlier, which the doctor explained I needed, as they had to bypass my stomach, because anything going through my it would have encouraged my body on its task of getting everything on the inside, out.

The reason I'm telling you all this is because over the next 5 hours we got talking to the doctor, whom in my opinion brought me back from the brink.(I know drama queen!)  We heard all about the poverty in his village, the funny stories he had about training in Irish hospitals, the lovely and not so lovely people he met along the way.  He spoke about the corruption in Ireland, and how if his homeland had our level of corruption, the place and his people into which he was born, would be very happy.

He told us how many of the people in his village live until their 80's or 90's, how despite lots of bad things and unfairness, they are a happy people, how remote the village he grew up in was, how at night the adults sat around the fire and told each other stories, how excited he was the first time he saw a frizzy telly, and I remembered how excited I was too so many years back.   He told me I was very lucky, my body did exactly what it was supposed to do, and that soon I would be well.

When I was leaving I passed by other people in A&E, less fortunate than I had been, me having the luxury of being put in isolation.  I saw the drunks, the lost, a blond girl in her twenties with black eyes like someone had just painted them with the darkest mascara.  It was a strange eerie feeling walking through, and I thought about how many of us in western society don't realise how lucky we are, how we mess up, like many in A&E last night.  I thought about the doctors and nurses on duty, the guards in and out of A&E trying to keep things calm on a very uncalm night.  But I also thought about my friend the doctor, and his people telling stories around campfires, and how the world over we as humans love to hear, tell, and read stories.

I hope 2012 will be full of wonderful stories. I look forward to reading and hearing them, now that all my google searches have ended on such good news.

Have a wonderful 2012 everyone, and thanks for being part of making 2011 so great.
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