Talking 'Galway Stories' With Readers Across the Globe

The following is a transcript taken from the LIVE members' chat hosted here at on Wednesday, May 8th, with Connemara-based author, poet, and publisher (and fellow Wild Geese member) John Walsh, right.  Some editing has been applied for clarity.

The Wild Geese:  Okay, we'll get underway. Want to welcome our special guest for tonight, John Walsh. John is a Connemara-based author, poet, and publisher, and he's been gracious enough to give us about 30-40 minutes of his time tonight. Welcome, John!

John Walsh:  Thank you Wild Geese for inviting me to take part and for the promotion you've done on our behalf. My partner Lisa Frank, editor of "Galway Stories," is right here beside me to answer any questions also.

Rose Maurer: Greetings from South Africa!

John Walsh:  Hi Rose!

Jane Sherry Gardner:  And from Massachusetts.

The Wild Geese:  We'll probably have a few more members straggle in over the next few minutes, but anyone who has a question is welcome to "fire away." Do be advised there is a character limit on the questions / answers, so John may have to break some answers into two pieces.

Gerry Regan:  Failte, John, and everyone here, clearly inspired by love of literature.

John Walsh:  Hi, Gerry.

Gerry Regan:  Let me start from the back, if I might be confusing -- John, what's next for Doire Press -- how about Aran Stories, or the like?  Or is "Galway Stories" a one-off, since you guys live and breathe the city's culture?

John Walsh:  We're launching a poetry collection by a Yank named Kimberly Campanello in Dublin, where she now lives on the 16th of May. Then on the 17th we're launching another poetry book by Jo Hemmant here in Galway. Both great if you like poetry. Another short story collection by a local gal, Aileen Armstrong in September.

John Walsh:  Galway Stories took two years, so we'll probably take a break before considering another anthology. But how about South Africa Stories or Massachusettes Stories?

Rose Maurer:  Tis Irish poetry and stories I'm after, John!

John Walsh:  Hi Rose -- we started off with poetry collections and graduated into short fiction. So both are important to us.

Jim Curley:  Is the e-reader business big in Ireland, and do you target that audience?

John Walsh:  Hi Jim -- eReader is doing well here, though a bit slower here to take hold than in the States. We do have many titles up, though, on Kindle, including my own collection 'Border Lines.'

Rose Maurer:  I have strongly resisted buying a Kindle - I need the smell and feel of paper!

John Walsh:  Hi Rose -- we're not advocating Kindle, but we can't ignore it either.

Jane Sherry Gardner:  My question is "what do you think is particularly abundant in the Irish character that facilitates writing ability and storytelling"?

John Walsh:  Jane -- I would say there is such a litany of great writers who have gone before and so today we almost feel that it's our birthright to write. It gives us more confidence and faith in ourselves.

Jim Curley:  John, is Nook (Barnes & Nobles) a player in the Irish market?

Rose Maurer:  Where are your books available, John?

John Walsh:  Hi Rose -- all books are available on

Rose Maurer:  Great, John!

Bit Devine:  I am with Rose...need to have a book heavy in hand, the feel of turning pages...

Jane Sherry Gardner:  I love my Kindle .. and also read ebooks on IPad .. more comfortable .. no distraction.

Bit Devine:  Thanks, John... have to say that in looking over "Galway Stories," that is a fine catch of folks ya have along for the weaving of stories.

John Walsh:  Thanks, Bit. This is Lisa now. It was a lot of work and patience getting the writers, but I enjoyed it. ... (It) is a dream come true and we're happy it's doing so well.

Ryan O'Rourke:  John ... I'm just wondering how you made your way to Connemara after growing up in Derry. Long story, I'm sure, but condense it for us.

John Walsh:  Hi Ryan -- I came here in '95 to do an MA at Galway University and I fell in love with Connemara and decided that this is where I want to be. Even with the gale force winds we have at the moment.

Rose Maurer:  Great, John -- my MA degrees are in psychology and law, so I have a Noddy Badge now! . . . I listened to you reading one of your poems, John, and it sounded more like narrative poetry -- is this an exception?

John Walsh:  Hi Rose -- I went through a narrative phase very much influenced by Billy Collins, and I did a lot of performance poetry also. I run a performance poetry gig in Galway called North Beach Nights, so part of my leaning is in that direction. Well spotted.

Jim Curley:  John or Lisa, is there a sensibility or way of looking at things that is unique to Galway or to the West in general that would not be present, say, a book called Dublin Stories?

John Walsh:  Hi Jim -- the Galway experience is totally different than Dublin. More Irish, more wild, more imagination. Chime in Ryan and Kelly on this.

Ryan O'Rourke:  Absolutely bang-on with that assessment of the West-vs-Dublin, John.

Bit Devine:  Jim, I would think that 'Dublin Stories' would have a far different tone and fibre.

Jane Sherry Gardner:  I agree, Bit .. Connacht folks are a very deep sort.

Kelly O'Rourke:  Lisa -- the book has a great range of voices. Something for everyone to enjoy!

John Walsh:  Thanks, Kelly. Am glad you're enjoying it. A favourite voice so far?

Kelly O'Rourke:  Surprisingly, with my usually conservative taste, I seem drawn to the weird and wild in this case: Gough and Montague!

John Walsh:  Kelly, you ARE weird! But wonderful!

Kelly O'Rourke:  HA!

Gerry Regan:  Lisa, John, would you guys call Galway a 'sexy' or sensuous city, in a way that Paris might be? Haven't gotten a chance to read "Galway Stories" yet, so not sure how many of the stories broach romance or even eroticism. We all know the joke about the Irish sex manual -- full of blank pages.

John Walsh:  Gerry -- there is a lot of relationship stuff in "Galway Stories", which, of course, always ends up in sex or no sex. To answer your questions, I think we should let you come here and answer that for yourself. Book those tickets!

Jim Curley:  I know that Gaeltacht areas are nearby. John, do you do any publishing in Irish?

John Walsh:  Jim -- there is a long established local publisher that does. We're not too well up on the Irish language.

Bit Devine:  Lisa or John, Out of all the storytellers in the region, how did you luck upon the writers you chose . . . like Nuala?

John Walsh:  Bit -- Lisa here. I wanted to get the most 'Galway' writers and so I brainstormed and asked for advice. The collection includes many well-known and established writers, local favourites and a few up and comers. Lots of different voices, just ask Kelly.

Gerry Regan:  BTW, here's an excerpt from John's short story in the compendium, titled "This Could Be Heaven."

Rose Maurer:  Thank you Ger, and John for sharing with us.

Gerry Regan:  Go raibh maith agaibh to John and Lisa and Doire Press.

Rose Maurer:  Coinnigh go maith.

The Wild Geese:  Thanks to EVERYONE who joined in for this most enjoyable live chat. We'll do it again soon, so be on the lookout for announcements.

Jane Sherry Gardner:  Slan go foill agus beannachtai!

Ryan O'Rourke:  Slán!

Jim Curley:  Thanks, John and Lisa, and the rest of our flock.

Gerry Regan:  And let's bend an elbow in Manhattan some time soon! :-)

Bit Devine:  Slan beo...go raibh mil maith agat to John & Lisa. . . . I'll stands ye a pint the next time I am in area.

Rose Maurer:  Sala kahle (isiZulu) from SA.

John Walsh:  Thanks everyone for the great questions, especially The Wild Geese for the invites. Kelly, put the kettle on (not tonight in tese wnds) and hugs to the ponies.

Gerry Regan:  Slán from NY!

John Walsh:  Slán Gerry!

Gerry Regan:  Anyone wanting to buy "Galway Stories" can do so here.

Related Reading:

Q&A with "Galway Stories" Editor, Lisa Frank

"Galway Stories" Featured at Cuirt International Festival of Litera...

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Tags: Books, Galway, Journal, Literature, Massachusetts, New York, Poetry, South Africa, Today, events, More…publishing


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