In The HistWriter March 2022 I feature writing about Ukraine and mark International Women’s Day.
This month I’m agonising over the blurb for my forthcoming novel City of Famine. I share a few observations on the Bellotto exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. Today, 10th December, it’s the 206th anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace (the ‘mother of computer programming’) so I revisit my short story The Analytical Assurance Company (link). And I review Black Dragonfly, Jean Pasley’s fictionalised biography of Lafcadio Hearn.
For Remembrance Day, a story about the Eastern Front: set in Mesopotamia, now Iraq, where the Garden of Eden became a theatre of war. https://wp.me/P2aHMc-g4
Having set up a writers’ forum for my local writing group here on this website, I am now besieged with spam registration requests, which I nuke every day on a wholesale basis. It’s irritating but the spam names do make me laugh sometimes!
I might write a Halloween short story about ‘Napoleon Schippers’, ‘Magdalena Gaskin’, and ‘Chau Krome’: just a few of the hapless employees of ‘Butikbagus.com’, who go on to become the victims of extremely detailed, throat-slitting and eyeball-popping murders.
This month I reflect on a small writing workshop I’m holding with my local writing group and introduce two writers you may not have heard of:
Cheryl Underhill, a childhood friend, who has compiled her parents’ WW2 correspondence into a fascinating book ‘The Box of Beautiful Letters’ and Rose Cullen, a fellow member of the Irish chapter of the Historical Novel Society, whose debut novel ‘The Lucky Country’ is an epic tale of an Irish family’s emigration to Australia in the 1950s.
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When I wrote Peace Walls in 2012 I did not foresee peace in Northern Ireland unravelling and hoped that time would bring healing.
Free to read on my website (link), it’s a time shift short story set in Northern Ireland about a fictional sectarian murder and the long term consequences for the people who knew the victim.
The research for this was painful at times, in particular reading ‘Bear in Mind These Dead’ by Susan McKay (link), which is a factual account of some of the victims of the Troubles. The Historical Enquiries Team video on YouTube (link) was also an inspiration, as was Alan M Wilson’s ‘Policing Ireland’s Twisted History’(link).
In 2021 we need more than ever to uphold the ideal of peace. Politicians must get to work. The current difficulties in implementing Brexit have to be solved by negotiation. Walls should not be needed. Let’s reconcile histories and old divisions and work on what we all have in common, for the sake of our young people and their future.
The April issue of The HistWriter newsletter comes to you from Wexford in Ireland.
This month I look at Wexford’s links to the first invasion of Ireland by the English, and review a trio of novels by Irish historical writers. Susan Lanigan, Patricia O’Reilly and Derville Murphy are all fellow members of the Irish branch of the Historical Novel Society, with whom I’ve ‘found my tribe’.
The FREE newsletter ‘The HistWriter’ is available to subscribers to my blog.
Book news and reviews; historical snippets from the 19th century, often with a medical theme.
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