We are proud to be partnering with Doire Press in getting a complimentary copy of "Galway Stories" into the hands of five members of The Wild Geese. "Galway Stories," Doire's newest book (released last month), was the focal point of the recent Literary Walk at The Cúirt International Festival of Literature. 20 writers with strong Galway ties submitted short stories for this volume, each tale being based in Galway City or County Galway. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Frank, the co-director and editor of the Connemara-based publisher.
The Wild Geese: Tell us about this new book -- the inspiration behind it, how you selected the authors, and what you hope readers glean from it.
Lisa Frank: "Galway Stories" is my way of not only celebrating such an amazing, vibrant and special city, but also its vast wealth of writing talent, which I feel is evident in this collection, as the styles of the writers and the themes of the stories are so varied. The basic concept for "Galway Stories" has stayed the same right from the beginning: to have the reader get to know the neighbourhoods of Galway via reading the stories. Some stories do this via specific description, while others convey the spirit of the neighbourhood and the people who live there.
When I first came up with the idea of "Galway Stories," I brainstormed a list of local writers, some of whom I knew and some of whom I didn't. I wanted the collection to include all of Galway's best writers. All the writers I approached were all very generous and supportive of the collection, which I think is a testament to their affection for Galway. Over the next two years, the list grew, eventually including a few writers who used to live in Galway but have since moved, including Julian Gough and Mary Costello. The only writer included who did not live in Galway is Kevin Barry. But he did spend some time here as is evident by his story.
My hope is that the reader gets to know and love Galway as much as I do!
The Wild Geese: I hear from people all the time who have visited Ireland and describe Galway as their favourite place. Galway has an interesting blend of traditional culture and modern quirkiness, and the way you have arranged "Galway Stories" is almost like a guidebook for non-guidebook people -- somewhat like a companion to a tourist's guidebook. How do you think this book portrays Galway City and County Galway for people who have yet to visit?
Frank: I have to laugh a bit of your description of 'Galway Stories' as "a guidebook for non-guidebook people", as I am certainly not a guidebook person.
The idea for 'Galway Stories came to me after I returned from a trip to Paris, where I had read a similar collection called "Paris Tales," which included stories -- both classic and contemporary -- photos, and a map. I thought it was a great idea, especially for tourists who hate guide books, and so I decided to expand on it and include background information and listings of pubs and such. The stories in this collection also include stories set in the county and are all contemporary.
The idea of mixing literature and tourism seemed like such a natural idea, especially as Ireland is known for its literature. I am a perfect example of this, as my first trip to Ireland was when I came to do a summer writing course, and because I chose to come to Ireland specifically because of its literature.
I think Des Kenny of the infamous Kenny's Bookstore said it best on his endorsement on the back of the book: "It ('Galway Stories') is, in effect, the alternative guide to this beloved city and county of ours, filling in the gaps left out by the official guides, giving a real sense of what makes it the magical place it is to live in."
The Wild Geese: 'Galway Stories features the work of 20 authors -- almost all of them with strong ties to Galway. Can you recommend other books by a few of these authors for further reading?
Frank: Many of the writers included in this book have collections out of their own, all of which I would highly recommend. For the sake of brevity, I'll just list books that have been published in the last year:
Celeste Auge - "Fireproof and Other Stories"
Kevin Barry - "Dark Lies the Island"
Mary Costello - "The China Factory"
James Martyn Joyce - "What's Not Said"
Mike McCormack - "Forensic Songs"
Alan McMonagle - "Psychotic Episodes"
Nuala Ni Chonchuir - "Mother America"
John Walsh - "Border Lines"