(more pictures available on the official Bradshaw Books Facebook page)
Hundreds attend the World Book Festival Launch of Some Sort of Beauty, the début short story collection by Cork writer Jamie O’Connell, in Triskel Arts Centre
Event date: 21 April 2012, 8.30pm
Last Saturday, Triskel Arts Centre was thronged with guest for the World Book Festival launch of Some Sort of Beauty, the debut short story collection by Cork writer Jamie O’Connell (Bradshaw Books 2012). With two hundred guests attending the event, not a seat in Christchurch was empty.
The night opened with a wine reception and a performance on the grand piano by Michael Joyce of the Cork School of Music, accompanied by young clarinettist Sophie Creener, who, at sixteen years of age, is already making waves in music circles. Amongst the guests were many recognisable faces from the Cork literary and artistic circles: Patrick Cotter and Jennifer Matthews of the Munster Literature Centre, Liam Ronanye and Eamonn Kirwan of Cork City Libraries, Dr Flavio Boggi and Dr Sabine Kriebel from University College Cork, Councillor Lorraine Kinsgston, Nicki French Davis of Civic Trust House, and Eithne Egan and the team of Cork Midsummer Festival. Writer Greg Baxter, author of The Apartment (Penguin 2012), who read at an earlier World Book Festival event, was in the front row along with Susan Stairs, whose debut novel The Story of Before is being published by Corvus in 2013.
Launching the book on the night was Dr Eibhear Walsh, Senior Lecturer in University College Cork. Speaking in glowing terms about the collection, he praised its ‘frankness, honesty and clarity’, saying that he had found it immensely enjoyable. Reading an extract from ‘Demain’, a story he particularly liked, he spoke of its self-reflective qualities and its celebration of writing: ‘for if the worst possible outcome was that my work remained unread on a disintegrating hard-drive, would it be so very bad if the simple process of writing had given my life meaning?’.
O’Connell read three extracts from Some Sort of Beauty. Most memorable of all was ‘The Believer’, a short story inspired by the death of his Grandfather (to whom the book is dedicated). Having previously spoken to Colette Sheridan (Evening Echo 09 April 2012) about the effect his grandfather had on his life, there was not a dry eye in Christchurch as he read passages about his grandfather’s final night in Mallow Hospital.
The success of the night was immediately apparent as the reading was delayed 30 minutes due to the queue to buy the collection and get it signed by O’Connell. Concluding the launch, festival organiser Ann Luttrell, Literature Manger of the Triskel, spoke of how overwhelmed she was by the turnout, one of the biggest she had seen in recent times. Guests from as far as London, Paris and the USA were in attendance. The book, described as a ‘powerful set of stories’ by The Sunday Independent, is now fast on its way to making a major literary waves in 2012.
The night continued afterwards with canapés and drinks for guests in the Carlsberg room in Bodega till the early hours of the morning. The first of many celebrations of this exciting young artist’s work, without doubt.