Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Movie Trailer (fan-made)

This trailer which one of my readers created disappeared from youtube for a time and has just shown up again! So I am posting it again myself. She did a fantastic job. Do check out her trailer for The Hunter's Moon also. Now I am off to a dinner dance for New Year's Eve. I wish you all a great night and a fabulous year. Perhaps our paths will cross in 2009.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reader Art

I love when readers create art from my books. It's such an honour and a thrill. This is an amazing painting that is all about Ruarc, the raven guard in The Summer King. If you click on the pic and enlarge it, you'll be able to see it better. The image perfectly depicts the terrible beauty of the Fir-Fia-Caw; and the spatters of red underscore the sad tale of the Captain's life. He is one of my favourite characters in the series, so I was delighted to see this. Thank you, Nimue Fox!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Okay, enough moaning about the horrors of the publishing industry. Isn't the entire world in a state of deterioration and collapse? We live in the end times and the fall of old empires. But to paraphrase the Lord Krishna as he spoke to Arjuna on the eve of a great battle. "No one's dyin' here. We're all immortal." I credit my present state of equanimity on a recent re-read of a wonderful little book a dear writer friend in New York sent me. It's called The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas. The author wrote his gem of wisdom in one room in San Francisco back in the days of psychedelics and flower power. Here's my favourite line: I offer no resistance to this reality. Great for calming you in the face of universal human madness. Here's a sweetie thing he says in his foreword: I'm not really expecting anyone to take these sentences and expand them again into a feeling of realization. But if one of you whom I never hear about gets a little higher and happier, then I would write all this again a thousand times over. And here's a bit that made me laugh out loud: The thought of these possibilities is so staggering, trying to contain them in writing is so ridiculous, that it is hard for me to move my pen any further. Ach, Mr Golas, you're a pet. I hope you are happy wherever you are, a chara.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cassandra Cries

Irish comedian Dara O'Briain calls nostalgia "heroin for old people" but still I must confess that I yearn for the olden golden days of publishing; before all the houses were bought up by global conglomerates who have no interest in books per se, but only in sales and profit. (And don't get me started on the chain bookstores who simply use books to sell their coffee and donuts.) This is not a moan. It's a fact. Everything has changed, changed utterly and horribly. Back in the 1980s (here we go, into the main vein) I could ring my editor collect from wherever I was in the world and she would always accept the call. There was always time to chat. If I hadn't called her in a while - I am talking different editors here, actually - she would, gasp, ring me! For both of us, there was time for editing, time to discuss the book, time to think about the heart and soul of writing. Yep, in the old days, my publishers actually cared about me as a human being and an artist. Now the whole business is all nerve-wracking deadlines and production schedules, Nielsen ratings and sales and promotions. Will this be a bestseller? If not, it's worthless! What I am trying to say is that there is no cherishing of the author any more. It's all "get the work done and sell for us or piss off." And I'm not talking about the people in the publishing house. I am talking about the great impersonal corporate juggernaut that is driving the publishing house. We are all crushed beneath it - publishing staff and writers and small bookstores and readers.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Culture Ireland & NCTE/ALAN

I was just filling out my report for Cultúr Eireann/Culture Ireland, the government body which gave me a grant to help finance my trip to America, when I realised I forgot to acknowledge them on my website! So here is my go raibh míle maith agaibh for their continuing and amazing support of me and other Irish artists who are invited to travel abroad.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ALAN Panel People

Here I am outside a fabulous restaurant in San Antonio, Texas that is part of a hotel on the riverwalk called La Mansion Del Rio. From L to R is Jason Wells, Publicity Director at Abrams, me, and behind me, Daniel Kirk, author and illustrator, then Lisa Morris-Wilkey, who was the moderator of the fantasy panel I was on, and finally Michael Buckley, author. Daniel, Michael and I did the panel together at ALAN, a conference that takes place right after NCTE. It focuses on Young Adult books only. Up to 500 teachers and librarians attended and bigod, they are dedicated. Up early in the morning to be there for panels starting at 8:00 a.m.! (Side fact: the Irish President was at this restaurant just the week before, according to the very pleasant waiter. Don't know what she ate, but I had a giant scallop starter and Coq au Vin. Yum.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NCTE/ALAN Conference, Texas

The Green Earth Book Award panel was well attended and the other speakers were Sneed Collard, Jean Okimoto, and Jill Wolfson. Prof Ernie Bond of Salisbury U was the moderator. I've also been signing posters and books at the Abrams booth and met a blogger who reads this site (teacher). I'll be signing with Scott Westerfield at the Teenlibris (Benbella Books), my Texan publishers who are based here in San Antonio. (Scott was the editor for the Borders/Benbella book on Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. ) I've got one more panel at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday - ye gods - on Elves, Fairies and Everafters, then I fly out home. It's going to be hectic getting home as all of America will be on the move for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yellow Rose of Texas

Okay, that's the final corrected proofs of The Book of Dreams completed and off to New York by Fedex. Jaze, it's over 500 pages! I will never write such a big book again, I'm murthered. Now I am dashing about, getting ready for NCTE/ALAN in San Antonio, Texas. I am on two panels - one for the Green Earth Book Award winners (NCTE) and another on Elves and Fairies (ALAN). I'll also be signing gorgeous posters and books at the Abrams booth and books at the Benbella booth. Will list dates and times shortly, when I get my itinerary. Hope to see some of you there!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Open Letter to Barack Obama from Alice Walker

Nov. 5, 2008. Dear Brother Obama,
You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about. I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone. I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led. A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world. We are the ones we have been waiting for. In Peace and Joy, Alice Walker (One of my favourite writers.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Oíche Shamhna

But the night is Hallowe'en, lady,

The morn is Hallowday,

Then win me, win me, an ye will

For weel I wat ye may.

(Tam Lin)

Tonight is the Celtic New Year's Eve, a threshold time, when the world of Faerie crosses with this world and all those who live in Faerie, including the dead, walk abroad in our land. Some of you may not know that Hallowe'en is, in fact, based on the ancient pagan feast of Samhain. Readers of the fourth book in my Chronicles of Faerie series - The Book of Dreams - (out next spring for ye in America!) do know that the climactic scene in the book takes place on Hallowe'en.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Léim thart / Jump around

I love to use the Irish language in my books, particularly in The Chronicles of Faerie. I see it as a silver thread stitched through the story, like the elven languages Tolkien invented, except I didn't have to invent mine. (Buíochas le Dia.) Irish-American commedian Des Bishop fell in love with the language and did a hilarious and moving television programme on his efforts to become fluent in it. Check out his website: This is a fan made trailer using Des's recording of Léim thart.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More German Editions

Keep forgetting to announce my great news. Bertalsmann (Random House Germany) have bought two more of the Chronicles of Faerie series, The Summer King and The Light-Bearer's Daughter. They are in the process of being translated, but I'll announce their publication dates as soon as I know.

Monday, October 20, 2008

George Gently TV Trailer

Haven't been blogging lately because I've been working ... on George Gently. Got a little nixer as pre-production assistant to my pal Kathleen who's the Script Supervisor. Brilliant experience for a screen-writer, actually, as you see the script from a completely different viewpoint, i.e. broken up and inside out! And I LOVE this show. This is the new Morse and even better, which is saying a lot, as I was a big Morse fan. Yep, Chief Inspector Gently replaces dear departed Morse as the thinking woman's crumpet. Yum yum. And guess what. It's all shot here in Ireland in north Dublin and my own home county of Wicklow.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pooh Wisdom

Sometimes a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it. (Winnie the Pooh)
Ah, yes, dear bear. This is something a writer often experiences. I LOVE Winnie the Pooh. I have even read him in Latin. Winnie Ille Pu. (I've also got a copy of Maria Poppina.) And here's a cute pic of Pooh Bear at Stonehenge pinched from this site: And what has this post to do with? The book I am writing right now. It's turning out quite different from the Thing I originally had inside me, but I am happy with it. Also it involves a stone circle.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More Su Blackwell

Here is a bed for a fairy queen. I love this artist's work. I mentioned on either this blog or my t'other blog that I was thinking of sending her one of my books, as she makes amazing book-cut paper sculptures. So I did send her a copy of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. Her website again if you haven't already had a look:

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Paulo Coelho in Ireland (Was)

Okay, whether or not the writer of the comments on my post below is indeed bestselling author Paulo Coelho, he is certainly correct when he says the author visited Ireland in 1999. He was invited by film-maker Liam McGrath to do a documentary on the 'moving statues' phenomenon that raged across the country in the impoverished 1980's. (Don't ask. I'm not going there.) Given Coelho's love for the Blessed Virgin, this is not surprising. Given that he was actually here, his strange and disconcerting presentation of Ireland is. Nonetheless I stand here, well, sit here, WITH EGG ON MY FACE. And it just goes to show, one should be careful about what one says on the Web, because you never know who's listening! Now I'm off to dance.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Paulo Coelho in Ireland (Not)

Most people either love him or hate him. I'm ambivalent. Every time I read another one (and I have read just about everything), I begin with "My God, this man is a fraud. How does he get away with it? The writing is WOEFUL!" and then I end up reading the whole thing because there is something there, something that catches me, i.e. an occasional flicker of serious soul stuff. Now I am reading Brida, supposedly set in Ireland, and of course my immediate reaction is "My God, this man is a fraud. How does he get away with it?" Paulo, Paulo, if you are going to set a book in a country that you know nothing about, at least have the decency to visit it or failing that, do a bit of research. Here are a few instant points:
1) there are no snakes or scorpions under any rocks in Ireland and no Irish woman would think there might be
2) if you travel 90 miles from Dublin and then go another 3 hours in a bus, you are most likely drowning in the sea or the ocean
3) no self-respecting witch in Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter) would call herself "Wicca"
4) and while I am on names, Brida O'Fern is the most ridiculous makey-up Irish name I have ever heard. Also is her boyfriend Irish? Because "Lorens" is pretty ludicrous too.
5) your descriptions of so-called Moon and Sun Traditions in Ireland are bizarre and unbelievable, given that you present them as utterly divorced from ancient Irish traditions.
6) as for your descriptions of the Irish landscape - could you not even have GLANCED at a picture of the country, for godsakes?
7) Oh and barges with sailors and pleasure boats on the Liffey - now that's funny.
8) I understand that local dialogue can be difficult but these people don't even sound remotely Irish in word or cadence.
And I'm not even half-way through the book yet ...
So, you've got a story you want to tell and you just throw a dart at the globe and that's where it is set?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Garden Fairy

I'm getting very lazy about blogging these days. Had a great weekend which included the Music Under the Mountains festival in Hollywood, Co. Wicklow (see regular blog) and an outdoor sculpture experience at the Gorse Hill Centre just outside my home town of Bray. See for more information. Meanwhile, here's a fairy I spotted at Gorse Hill.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I am changing the hosting for my website and I could be off the air for a few days. This may or may not affect my blogs. Don't worry, though. All will be sorted shortly!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Movie Trailer (fan-made)

Once again my readers show how talented they are! Here is a magical trailer for The Light-Bearer's Daughter.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Slow Days

Not much to report in the way of work as I am taking it easy after finishing my new book and the copy-edit of The Book of Dreams. Wrote a 3,000 word profile of Susan Juby for the CANSCAIP newsletter called "Funny Girl (Peculiar and Ha Ha)" and now I am finishing up a book review for the Globe & Mail in Canada. Then I am taking a week off to go walkabout, visiting friends and relaxing altogether. Following that, it's back to work - the final draft of my adult book and two film projects. There's NCTE in Texas ahead, also, but that's November.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Book of Dreams Cover

My American publishers just sent me the cover for The Book of Dreams, due out Spring 2009. I think it's FABULOUS. It will be shiny metallic red ink. That completes the four elements for the books: The Hunter's Moon is air (and mist), The Summer King is water, The Light-Bearer's Daughter is earth, and The Book of Dreams is fire. Each book reflects these elements in a general or specific way: the first has fairies appearing in light and mist and involves a flight through the air sequence; the second involves sea fairies and lots of watery themes; the third is all about mountains and under the earth; the fourth definitely involves a fiery climax as well as dragons! And, yes, that's Dana on the front cover but you will also find Gwen, Laurel, Honor, Findabhair and Finvarra and a host of others in the book.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ask a Juby

Hah. Two posts in one day. But this is appropriate. I am busily writing up an interview with Susan Juby for the CANSCAIP journal. CANSCAIP is the unnion we both belong to, i.e. the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers. I'm a big Juby fan, so she is getting what every author dreams of: twenty minutes of well reasoned praise. (I can't remember who said that, however.) Spent over an hour chatting to her on the telephone today. She's in BC and I'm in Ireland and we have 8 hours, the entire Canadian landmass, and the Atlantic Ocean between us.

Done and Dusted!

Yes, it went off to my agents on Friday - my new young adult fantasy novel based on Celtic mythology. Hurrah! Will say more about it in the future. My brain is exhausted. But I am really happy with it. I think it's fabulous.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nearly There

Yes, it's three chapters to go and then a quick read-over for typos and this baby is off to my agents before the week is done! A new young adult fantasy based on Celtic mythology. More will be revealed in the near future. I'm utterly thrilled. But I'll be even more thrilled when I announce that it's gone. Then I write up my interview with Susan Juby - more about that anon, also - and complete the final copy-edit on The Book of Dreams. I won't go near the final draft of my new adult novel until the winter. There's some fun ahead first! Will blog as it happens. God, I'm feeling prolific these days. Also knackered.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pauline Baynes 1922-2008

A great lady and gifted artist has passed beyond the circles of the world. Favoured illustrator of both CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, she was a shining part of my childhood. Sail on, silver bird.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Online Graphic Novel

My friend, author/illustrator Martin Springett has done it again. A fabulous graphic novel which he has posted online. You can catch glimpses of the artwork - as shown here - at If you sign up as a member, you can access all of it. The Wixle Tree is a truly stunning piece of work. The images are magical!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The High King of Dogs

Flying through my new young adult fantasy. I'm on the final polish draft. Writing so fast and for so long my hands are falling off. At three chapters a day I should have this finished by mid-August and off to my agents. It's been a working summer but that's what's called for right now. Play later. Here's a little glimpse into the book. It's not the right time frame but she looks exactly like my hero. The dog's in the book too! There is nothing more noble than an Irish wolfhound, the High King of Dogs. The painting is "Silent Sympathy" by Herbert Dicksee (1894) and I found it on this amazing site:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Book Magic

Damn. I stumbled upon this wonderful image on Stainless Steel Droppings along with all kinds of gorgeous pieces of magical art made out of books, but they are not from a recent blog entry and now I can't find where they are posted. Sigh. Anyway, here's the link. It's only an amazing blog:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Working like a Madwoman

I have good reason not to be blogging as I am writing like a berserkir author in the throes of a book battle. Finished the second draft of my new adult novel at the beginning of the summer and am now heading into the second draft of my new young adult novel. I intend to finish the first over the long months of the wet dark winter, but I intend to finish the second by the end of this summer. I have never worked like this before but there's a fire in my head and it is just spilling out in words.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Armchair Interviews

Well so much for keeping to my word and not blogging. Was it Oscar Wilde who said consistency is a sign of a lack of imagination? Just wanted to blog an amazing review site which I've recently discovered thanks to my US publicist. They have reviewed all three of The Chronicles of Faerie and very nicely indeed. Here it is: Have a look.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

No Time to Blog

Working away like mad. Hope to take a holiday out west in the coming weeks. I'm not that keen on blogging right now. Will probably take a break for the summer - odd word for cold and rainy days - and then return in the deep dark of winter when there is more time for reflection. Have a good one, all you people who live in sunny places!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Prince Caspian

Saw Prince Caspian over the weekend and I have to say I thought it was fabulous. The battle scenes had me biting my nails and my friend squirming in her seat. The acting all round was terrific, much better than in the first film. Trumpkin was particularly good. Though many readers have objected, I didn't mind the little bit of romance between Susan and Prince Caspian, as it made sense given their ages and what we know of Susan's character (the only one who had romantic inclinations in the books, e.g. her betrothal to Rabadash). I'm definitely buying the DVD, unlike The Golden Compass which I wouldn't waste my time watching again.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Boyle Abbey

On the outskirts of Boyle, Gwen came upon the ruins of a medieval monastery. As if lost in a dream, she entered through the gatehouse and rambled around. The site was grand and airy with arches spanning rows of stone pillars and fluted columns. High lancet windows looked out on leafy trees. Overhead shone the blue canopy of sky.

(Chapter 14, The Hunter's Moon)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The House of the Little Branch

At the top of the town, past the clock tower, Gwen found what she was looking for. An antique placard creaked gently in the breeze, over the door of a pub. An Craoibhín. Though she couldn't translate the name, the picture was enough to convince her. It showed the branch of an oak tree dangling with mistletoe.
(Chapter 13, The Hunter's Moon)

The Town of Boyle (not 'Boil')

"It's Boyle you want, isn't it?" said the driver.
"Oh. Yes. Thank you."
Gwen climbed down from the high cab, and wandered aimlessly through the town. Houses, shops, and pubs creeped up and down the road. When she came to a stone bridge, she stopped to gaze at the river below. Long stems of green starwort streamed under the water.
(The Hunter's Moon)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Technology - Wahoo

Okay, on the urgings of Swedish Paddy and my daughter, I have finally invested in a couple of memory keys - Kingston 1 GB USB 2.0 Data Traveller. I just transferred ALL the files of the new book - 2nd Draft, Working File, Old Working File, and Pics (jpegs of the Outer Hebrides and the people I have physically based my characters on) - and migod, it took ALL of 5 seconds. I will not even mention how long it takes to do that using my various disks and their copies. But at the same time I feel I should have the disks as back-up to be sure to be sure. (Hey, writers lose entire ms all the time!) So I'll do that too. I'm still waiting for my laptop to arrive. I went Dell Microsoft again despite threatening to go Apple (another day). Will post a pic of the beauty when she arrives. For just over 500 euro I get a Notebook, Vista, Security, carrying case, and apple-green. It will be like Christmas when it comes. I'm a serious techno-baby, but I do love the stuff once I get used to it. I mean, I was the last person in Ireland holding out against a mobile phone (caved last year) and though I have yet to advance to predictive, I text a lot. My ringtone is cool. Old-fashioned yet reminiscent of the Matrix.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Me and My Shadow

Just back from Dunderry Park and the IATP (Irish Association of Transpersonal Psychology) Symposium. Another bit of bliss as it was both research and enjoyment. We started the weekend with a drumming journey, followed by a talk on the Transpersonal Vision, then a viewing of the film Zeitgeist. I recommend the latter - it's free on google - and though there is a lot wrong with it (inaccuracies, paranoia) it's thought-provoking and eye-opening, also rather terrifying. Second day was yoga, talks on Eco-Psychology, Addiction and the Transpersonal Vision, and Sacred Geometry (the latter by Michael Rice, mad genius visionary). Then trance dancing till all hours of the night. Sunday was down to business, the AGM of the IATP. I signed up as an associate member. Have a look at them: Then it was lunch, a quick trip to Tara, and home. Today Finn and I head off to Sligo to her Dad's fort for a few days. And when I get back: IT'S TIME TO WRITE. Oh, and this pic is me and Shadow, the big wolf-dog at Dunderry.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I wish I could remember that the days I spend foostering around - reading or trawling the Internet or watching videos or doing housework or chatting with friends on the telephone - are times when my brain is lying fallow and my Muse is having a think about what She wants to write next. Too often I am wracked with guilt and panic about not writing, about the book withering away, about me dossing. Always, when I come back from these times, there is fresh life and material to bring to the story. If only I could remember that when I am giving myself a hard time (Irish Catholic guilt no doubt). The last few days I have spent most of my time considering the Lisbon Treaty, reading articles, and leaving comments on sites. I am now a solid NO on behalf of the voiceless people of Europe whose leaders have decided not to give them a vote on what is, in disguise, a reformed EU constitution. Truthfully, I would vote YES if the rest of Europe had a vote; but I do not believe that leaders have the right to drag their people kicking and screaming into what's good for them. They must convince their electorate or wait until they are ready. Anything else is misrule and tyranny. Right after I get back from voting, I will return to the Book.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Texas, Here I Come

Great news. I have just heard that my second panel at the annual conference of the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) in America has been confirmed: "Literature and the Environment." I'll be on that panel with other Green Earth Book Award winners, including the wonderful Jean Davies Okimoto whom I'm really looking forward to seeing again. My first panel on "Elves, Fairies, and Everafters" involves other fantasy writers including the amazing Tamora Pierce. (Can't wait to meet her!) The conference is in November, in San Antonio, Texas. I've never been there so that's really exciting too. I remember the Alamo! Will post all about the conference nearer to the time. I'll be appearing daily at the Abrams booth in the publishers' hall and there may even be free chap books with chapters from The Book of Dreams (out next spring). So if you are in the area, plan to come by and say hello!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


It is always bliss for me when my writing and my life go hand in hand. On Sunday I went to a Sweat Lodge in the Wicklow Mountains held by Carl Big Heart who comes from America. This was my fourth Sweat and the most enjoyable. Though there were about 50 people in the Lodge and it was a hot summery day, I did not feel claustrophic nor overcome by the heat and even went deeper inside, instead of staying near the door as is my wont. Carl Big Heart holds a very sacred and gentle space, using the Native way of humour and story to ease the experience. This was research for one of my characters, Loretta Whitedeer, in People of the Great Journey (Carl spoke of the Great Journey, the Great Story). It was truly wonderful. I even puffed on the Pipe in the last round, without feeling the desire to return to the dreadful habit of smoking. After the Sweat there was a big feast to which everyone contributed - homemade vegetable soup, dahl, salads of every kind, then desserts including pies, cakes, fruit, and even chocolate covered grapes! (Photo from Dutch site,

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Neglecting the blogs. Up to my eyes in deadlines and Finn's Leaving Certificate ordeal. See you on the other side.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Summer King Ballet

Last year I gave permission to a ballet school in New York state called "Dance for Joy" to use the story-line of The Summer King for their year-end recital. Well, look at the photos they sent me yesterday! Oh, I wish I could have been there. Findabhair, who has been doing ballet for years here in Ireland, agreed with me that the performance was obviously fabulous. And may I just add that this is the kind of thing that makes a writer's day!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Can't resist including this little clip by Irish comedian Dylan Moran. A good laugh for every writer and would-be writer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wolfe Tone Square

I'm posting this little image of the Grotto which stands just up the road from me, for two reasons. (1) The month of May is dedicated by Roman Catholics to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary (see the initials on the gate) whose sacred colour is blue. By no coincidence, this month is also special to the Faerie Queen. It is imperative that you do not take the blossoms of the hawthorn into your house during May as it will bring you misfortune. (2) Wolfe Tone Square is where Dana lives in The Light-Bearer's Daughter. It is a very old neighbourhood, one of the first low income housing estates in the Irish Free State (after English rule ended), built around the 1920s-30s. Sometimes you see the residents saying the Rosary in front of the Grotto and sometimes they do a little parade around the square, carrying the statue. Times like that I feel like I am living in Spain. I like it. Even though I no longer practise Catholicism myself, I prefer tradition and community to modern soulless urbanity.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Slowly But Surely

Yes, People of the Great Journey is definitely coming along. I am almost half-way through Chapter 9 of the second draft. For speedy writers, that is dead slow. For slow writers like me, it's not bad going. There are even some sentences I like and some images which I think are fabulous. I will have to put the book aside this week as my editor's final comments on The Book of Dreams are due in. The sooner that book goes to the printer the better. The delay in its publication has been an utter pain - it was due out last spring! - but better late than never. Here's the time schedule ticking away in my head: People of the Great Journey finished this year, The Book of Dreams out in Spring 2009, and my Celtic graphic novel and Young Adult novel (first of a series) well on the road by then. At this rate, I just might become prolific.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Creative Writing Workshops

Finished up my writing workshops at Killruddery House today. It was a great week. I keep forgetting how much I like working with young people until I do it again. The ages varied from 10 to 14 and there was a good mix of country and city, Catholic and Protestant and non-denominational, and also all-boy, all-girl, and mixed-gender schools. Some wore uniforms, some didn't. There was one workshop in the morning, then we broke for lunch - for the adults, homemade sandwiches and lemon or coffee or carrot cake and tea or coffee, while the kids brought their own - then a second workshop in the afternoon. Each class would do an artistic workshop, either music or writing, plus an environmental workshop around the grounds. I always brought my class for a wild run through the giant labyrinth after we did our work. The Pushkin Trust is dedicated to encouraging creativity in young people and also environmental awareness, and they are also big on everyone having FUN. Will blog some more pics on my regular Blog as Killruddery House is so beautiful. Here's a pic of the house from the back. My workshop was held in the Orangerie with the glass dome (at the very left of the house photo) and here's an inside view of where we all sat and talked and imagined and wrote.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Killruddery House

I am teaching writing workshops all this week at Killruddery House, a stately home that - believe it or not - is just around the corner from where I live. (See: When you are on the estate you would not believe that there is a town nearby. It is as if you are out in the countryside, surrounded by mountains and beautiful vistas. The house and gardens are open to the public at different times of the year, but it is the home of Lord and Lady Meath who live there most of the time. I found this pic on the web but I will take more of my own tomorrow. Killruddery is a magical place with a giant maze, fairy amphitheatre, secret groves and hidden ponds. The writing workshops are for students who are bussed in from various Dubin and Wicklow schools. I've blogged about the Pushkin Trust programme before. Last year I was doing workshops in a stately home in Northern Ireland. As well as the writing workshops, there is also a music workshop and an environmental walk. We've had two great days so far as the sun shone and everyone was inspired.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Working Away

No time to blog these days as I am working like the clappers on my new book. Up to Chapter 7 of the second draft. It's slow going and most of it is dreadful, but there are a few bits here and there that are almost acceptable. The early stages are always like this. Pure murder.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Faerie Cake

Stunning confections of marbled cake with layer upon layer upon layer of icing.
(The Hunter's Moon)

As all writers know, you can invent a scene or create a character and sooner or later - sometime, somplace - you may walk into that scene or meet that character in real life. So there I was, at a Green Earth Book Award authors' breakfast in the beautiful historical Poplar Hill Mansion, Maryland, when this vision on a plate was brought out. It is called a Smith Island Cake and it is specially baked in narrow pans. It is also the most scrumptious moist chocolately thing you could ever hope to have melt in your mouth. Gwen would definitely have lost her battle with this one. I sure did.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rowling versus Robber

Most if not all fiction writers are watching the Rowling case with serious trepidation. If she loses, we lose. This is a simple case of copyright theft and someone attempting to make a fortune out of someone else's work. An 'encyclopedia' - and it's certainly debatable that that is what this is - is not a critical commentary. There's no doubt who the real culprit is here and that's the publisher. Lord knows, many of us are familiar with the 'poor little-me little publisher' line used to excuse all kinds of author abuse. This guy saw his chance to make millions and decided to play the odds for a win in court. As for what's-his-name, the one who ran the fan web site, he knows full well it's copyright theft, otherwise he would not have insisted in his contract that the publisher be responsible for all legal costs. It's not a case of big guy versus little guy, as the other side are working so hard to present. It's a case of a thief and a victim.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Green Earth Book Awards 2008

One of the many amazing things about the Green Earth Book Awards - given annually to a picture book, a young adult book, and a non-fiction book - is that they are the first of their kind, i.e. awards celebrating books which encourage environmental stewardship in the young. Here's me at the presentation ceremony held at Salisbury University, Maryland, the co-sponsors of the awards along with the Newton-Marasco foundation established by three fabulous sisters - Laura, Nancy, and Amy Marasco. And here's me with Nancy Marasco, Ernie Bond (Prof of Children's Literature at Salisbury U), Jean Davies Okimoto who won the picture book award with her wonderful Winston of Churchill, and Robert Buchanan of Polar Bears International. (Photos by Joe Okimoto) See more pics over on my Blog.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

American Podcast

Not long back from the States where I picked up my award and had a wonderful time. I'm still jet-lagged and not quite functioning but here is a link to a radio interview I did at Salisbury University which hosted the Green Earth Awards as well as their own children's book festival: You need Quicktime, I think, to hear it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Summer King Movie Trailer (fan-made)

The student film-maker who created this trailer (which I have posted elsewhere on Bookmark) tells me she has changed its link on youtube, so I am posting it again here. Any of you who missed seeing it will be happy to have a look, methinks. It's fantastic!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Green Earth Book Awards 2008

Heading off to the USA to pick up my prize for The Light-Bearer's Daughter. This will be loads of fun as there is a book festival, awards ceremony, author breakfast, school visit, and lots more besides. I am really looking forward to meeting the other prize winners - authors, illustrators, and environmentalists - as well as the organisers, students, and everyone else involved. Salisbury University has a beautiful campus. Will take some pics while I am there. Here's the Green Earth Book Award T-shirt. Love the polar bear! (Does he like my book because the word 'bear' is in the title?) The artwork is by Jeremiah Trammell who illustrated Winston of Churchill (yes, that is Churchill, Manitoba) - "One Bear's Battle Against Global Warming" - written by Jean Davies Okimoto and published by Sasquatch Press. They won the Children's Fiction category. For more information on the awards and the other winners go to:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Life Imitates Art - Magic!

Here's something amazing a writer friend alerted me to: look at what they found deep in a lake in the Haliburton region of Ontario! What we are looking at, of course, is a dolmen, known portal to Faerie. Those of you who have read The Book of Dreams (I don't want to do a spoiler for those who haven't yet) are aware that I ask the question whether or not there is fairy magic in Canada. Well, guess what. Haliburton is not far from Creemore (a major setting in my book. Twilight Zone music.) And here's another stunning surprise. They are pretty certain this is not a glacial erratic yet there is no evidence that it has been constructed by humans. So, who put it there, eh? Here's the link if you want to read more about it:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Makanan Malaysia

Here's a link to Aiyah Nonya's blog: This is a cooking blog by a young Malaysian woman living in Singapore. She shows pictures of what she cooks and bakes and also gives the recipes. I am definitely going to try some of these. Mostly, however, I just like looking at the pictures and salivating, while reading about her efforts along with everyone else's comments. Baik-lah, Aiyah, dan yum! Of course I am popping this post into Bookmark because it is pertinent to my one (so far) realistic novel set in Malaysia. My Blue Country is out of print, but you can get it secondhand in various places (try a search). This also reflects on my new book, People of the Great Journey, as one of the characters is a Malaysian woman. Hmm, maybe she'll whip up a feast for everyone. (See how scenes happen when you are writing a book?)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Performing Poetry

Forgot to blog the poetry gig I did for the launch of dear friend Frank Golden's book In Daily Accord, at the Burren College of Art in County Clare. We had a full house in the theatre/ lecture room and it was a terrific night. Images of Frank's paintings and sketches were projected onto a giant screen behind us as, dressed in black, Frank, I, and poet John Doorty read about a hundred three-line poems, weaving our voices in and out of each other and finally finishing together in a chorus. Throughout the performance, underpinning it like a stream, was a musical piece composed by Andrew Collins. Have to say I loved being on stage and realized that I must - yes, must - get going on my stand-up comedienne career. I'm still writing pieces but need to get my show on the road. Summertime, I'm thinking, when Finn has finished her exams. So here are two pics of that time: a castle tower at the Burren College of Art and me on the beach called Bishop's Quarter. I love the West. Can't wait to move back there.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The High King

I'm always surprised at the degree to which people don't notice that I describe Finvarra, High King of Faerie, as 'dark as the night.' Fairies are all different colours - even more so than human beings - black, white, brown, green, yellow, purple, red etc. I had a few images for my king including a Balinese dancer I saw in a film which inspired the dance scene at the bonfire; but here is my chief image: one of the most beautiful Irishmen ever born, Phil Lynnott. And there beside him in a sparkly vest could be Midir. (But that's NOT Findabhair dancing completely out of step with the music, Jaze.) Now I'm also posting this video because Whiskey in the Jar is THE song everyone sings in the pub on St Patrick's Day when they are all lashed!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rumah Nor

Here's a short film about the Iban and Dayak people's struggle to protect their lands against logging companies in Borneo. Some scenes in my realistic teen novel, My Blue Country, are set in the same area as these longhouses, around Sebu and Bintulu. Indeed, a lot of this looks familiar to me and I think I drank tuak and ate sticky rice in bamboo with these very people! (My book is based on my year-long participation in Canada World Youth/Jeunesse Canada Monde 1972-73.) And I remember dancing to the gongs the way the Tuai Rumah (Headman) dances at the end of the film. I wish these people well. Surely there is no question here as to who is right and who is wrong; but will right prevail? This is also research for my new book as one of my characters, Penny Li Jauh, a Baba-Nonya woman from Malacca, is married to an Iban man. (I've got the whole world in this book.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More Light-Bearer Country

I promised I would post photos of the Sunday hike through the Glendasan Valley, up the back and over the top of Camaderry, then down into Glendalough; all territory Dana would have traversed with her wolf companion before meeting St Kevin in Gleann Dá Loch, the Vale of the Two Lakes. It's wild and ever-changing land with big boulders, scree slopes, bog and bog pools, forests of Scots pine and oak, and the rich green valley of Glendalough. From left to right that's Ben and Maureen on the rocks and then Ger, me, and Mike on the summit of Camaderry.

It wasn't an easy hike for me as I had been up dancing and partying till all hours the night before (you can't hoot with the owls by night and fly with the eagles by day, as we used to say in the Navy). I led from the rear all the way. Here's me apparently alone on the boggy summit of Camaderry. Better still, look at that gorgeous stag up on the ridge. He stood there for ages so we could admire him.

As can only happen in Ireland, we got all four seasons on this hike. It began with early spring at the beginning, green and muddy, then we got a bit of winter as it started to snow in the lee of the mountain (like being in a snow globe, that's me in the little pic). There was a hint of summer at one point as the sun made us all strip off our jumpers, then a taste of autumn in the shade of the forest at the end of the trail, crunching on old brown oak leaves. Ye can't beat Ireland for the weather, I tell ye.

And at last the way got easy as we headed downwards. In the distance, we could see the round tower of the monastic settlement of St Kevin's Glendalough. Crossing our path, not boggles, but two pretty Japanese students who were visiting the site. As Dana reflects in the book, after she returns from visiting the hermit-saint in the past, "Fifteen hundred years later, people still came to Kevin!" (Photos by Ger Blake and Mike McGovern)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bivouac with Kerouac

It's a grey cloud-shrouded day and there's a berry-red cheery turf fire in the grate and me lying on the sofa with a big alpaca-wool wrap around me as I read Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums (always years late to read what everyone else is singing about, but better late than never). I should be posting pictures of the five and a half hour hike over Camaderry's muddily drear then snow-shaken four-seasoned Wicklow mountainback I traversed Sunday (Light-Bearer country) after a wild bonfire-lit and fairy-light lit open-air shack of a mountainy party with hundreds of people and a live band playing reggae and ska as we danced into the small hours of the morning the bloody night before! Swollen feet and sore limbs and aching shoulders trudged those rocky fir-laden slopes and black boggy flats wondering if I could and would endure, but I did enjoy the conversation about the re-introduction of the red kite and the question of God's existence, and the warm coffee in a flask with cheese sandwiches sweetened by Maureen's pecan pie. Then yesterday I was drinking butter tea with Tibetans in a grassy church yard near the Chinese Embassy under the benevolent eye of Our Lady's statue, soaking wet from the lash of rain but happy to be exercising democracy at its best, that is, free assembly and freedom to dissent against injustice and tyranny. So I'm still recovering from all that life-living activity with no energy to sort through everyone's photographs -mine, Ger's, and Mike's. Another day's work. And yes indeed I am being influenced by the rhythms and themes of Mr Kerouac's fine book though his attitude towards women is nothing short of abominable: we be humans too, Jack, seeking enlightenment in the great nothingness and emptiness of this world's samsara!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Music to My Ears

Martin Springett, friend and writer/illustrator/ musician extraordinaire, has added music to his site, including compositions he wrote inspired by two of my books, The Hunter's Moon and The Light-Bearer's Daughter. These were pieces he played, accompanied by his beautiful floutist daughters Miriam and Rebecca, for the Celtic Studies Society at the University of Toronto; when he and I did a gig there in November 2006. (There's a blog about it in the archives.) Then we did it all again a year later, November 2007, at Victoria College, U of T, for the annual CANSCAIP conference at which I was the key-note speaker. (That's in an archive too, I believe.) If you want to have a listen - and also to view Martin's magical artwork - go here: (Photo: Hilary Springett)

Monday, March 03, 2008

WAR on Critics

There’s this bizarre tradition – I’m sure the critics invented it – where writers are not supposed to respond to bad reviews or negative criticism. It’s just ‘not done.’ We’d be seen as tacky or inappropriate or ridiculous or whatever. Maybe we are meant to be above it all? Nonsense. We’re human and we’re being attacked, for godsake. (And if we’re Irish and being attacked, where’s me hurley stick, there’s heads to be broken!) Look, everyone else gets to defend themselves. It's a basic right. I’ve always wanted to start a journal called WAR – Writers Against Reviews. Writers could send in their favourite horrible review and proceed to tear it to shreds with all the creative genius and biting sarcasm they have in their arsenal. Rebuttal with butt. And the less literary and more personal the writer gets about it, the more interesting it would be. Example: Anne Enright, who won the Booker Award for her amazing novel The Gathering, was attacked by an Irish Times critic on the very day of the announcement of her award. She, of course, could not respond to this enemy action with the obvious riposte: "I've just won the Booker. You have published how many award-winning books? What? None? Who, I ask you, is The Winner here and who, The Loser?" And of course writers can never, God forbid, respond to their child critics online on One children’s writer told me he has to sit on his hands to stop himself from writing back, "Oh yeah? Well you suck too, kid, and at least I can spell!" Here’s what I have promised myself. As soon as I turn seventy, I am going to become one of those batty old battle-axes who says exactly what she wants to say, whenever she wants to say it, and hang the consequences. Yeah, I know I'm already edging in that direction, but believe me I hold myself back. Wait till I really get going. Woo-hoo. Fun times ahead.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Perfection of the Morning

The rain is lashing against the window panes. I've a turf fire burning brightly. Ah yes, it's a day for writing.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

For Narnia and the North!

It's out! Through the Wardrobe, edited by Herbie Brennan (a good bud, see my Blog) and featuring 'your favourite authors,' including me, talking about CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Along with being the editor Herbie Brennan, of Faerie Wars fame, has written a piece in this and so has another friend, Canadian writer Susan Juby. I'm looking forward to reading it as soon as my author copies arrive. This is by Benbella Books in cahoots with Borders. You may remember that they did a similar collection on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, called The World of the Golden Compass. I think this cover is much better than the other book's; old-fashioned but perfect. And I much preferred writing the paper for this book, though it is rather personal. Hmm. May regret that, but too late, publish and be damned. Of course what I wrote was more personal this time around because I love CS Lewis, while I only admire Philip Pullman. Also I much prefer Lewis's work and consider it of far greater value, both in story and soul terms. Reading Pullman wouldn't change my life. Reading CS Lewis did.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Japanese Gripe

In keeping with the Japanese theme (see my blog), I am going to gripe here about the way my royalties arrive from Kodansha/Random House, Japan. As far as I can tell, the statements and royalty monies are sent in order of importance of my agent or publisher, i.e. first I get my statement from HarperCollins, Canada (it arrived yesterday), then I have a lonnnnnnnnnng wait - sometimes even to the end of the year! - to get my other statements via my (small) Irish publisher and my (smallish) ex-Canadian agent. It must be pointed out that the statements are actually due in March. This would seem to reflect how Japanese bureaucracies function, i.e. they are hierarchical and elitist to the extreme. The big publisher gets the statements right away while the small publisher and smallish agent get them at the end of the year! What really annoys me is the bizarre truth revealed by a lawyer. Apparently failure to send statements and pay royalties on time is considered a "minor breach" of contract and therefore the contract still holds. Pardon my French, but how the hell can "failure to pay" be a "minor" breach?!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


At lunch last week, I promised Herbie Brennan that I would tell him when I began to 'officially' write People of the Great Journey, as opposed to making notes, blocking out chapters, doing research etc. But just a short while ago, I realized something. I am already writing my book. This is how I write. I am like an acrylic painter. I work in layers. Right now, as I block out the chapters, inserting all the material I have to date and making a few more notes as I go, I am laying down the first layer, the very foundation of the book. The chapters themselves are not solid. When I write more in future layers, future drafts, the chapters will grow in size and birth more chapters. Sometimes I write up to seven or eight drafts before the final polish which goes off to the editor. Then there is yet another draft in response to the editor's remarks and my own cooler view of the manuscript after a time away from it. Because this is the way I write, it was 'easy' (I use that term loosely!) for me to do the major revisions on The Chronicles of Faerie. For me, I was simply writing another - if very intensive - draft.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Here are the books by Haruki Murakami that I have read in the past few weeks:
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (for the second time)
Kafka by the Shore
Sputnik Sweetheart
South of the Border, West of the Sun.
I am addicted to him. The last time I went this mad about an author and had to read everything s/he ever wrote it was Don De Lillo. I remember writing to Dermot Healy (oops, dropped a name there) when I heard he had a copy of De Lillo's The Names which I could NOT find anywhere (this was before computers, etc) and I begged him to loan it to me and to please post it to me and he did. Anyway, I am now going through Murakami's list. One of the things I love about his books is that his main characters are always reading books, in fact they are usually lying around on a sofa reading library books, which is what I am usually doing when I am reading him. The Bray Library has ordered three more of his works for me from Greystones and Carnew, even as I borrowed the last one they had, today: Underground, a non-fiction work about 'the Tokyo gas attack and the Japanese psyche.' He is a master of magic realism. As one critic says, he takes a baseball bat to the inside of your brain. Now my excuse for reading him is that this is research because he is the favourite writer of one of my characters, Suzume, a Japanese student; but of course the real reason I am reading him is that he is a genius.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Heading off to Clare at the end of the week to take part in the launch of Frank Golden's new book of poetry, In Daily Accord. This will be a great launch, more like a New York 'happening' of the 50's-60's: a performance of three voices reading the three-line poems - Frank himself, me (under the name Valerie Whelan as Frank forgot to use my pen-name) and poet, John Doorty. While we are reading - interweaving and inverting the poems - images of Frank's paintings and sketches will be projected onto the walls around us, and there will be music composed by Andrew Collins. I'm really looking forward to this. If Frank is happy with how it goes, he may bring it to the Dublin Fringe Festival. (Watch this space.) The book's cover art is by Scottish painter Hazel Walker, who now lives in Clare.
Venue: The Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Date/Time: Saturday, February 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Maybe we'll see you there?
Here is a sample of one of the epiphanies (as I call them):
My ducks taken by the fox
My tomatoes diseased and dying
Only my potatoes growing like women.
And here's another one:
He says she has to apologize first
For breaking his windows and putting glue in the locks
She could have got off easy but not now.

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's official. Bookmark has made it to the short list for the Irish Blog Awards. In fact, I was surprised to see it has made two short lists, as I didn't realise it was up for Best Blog as well as Best Arts and Culture Blog. The first is sponsored by PutPlace ( and the second is sponsored by Poetry Ireland ( Go see the lists, as there are many fascinating blogs of every kind there: (I spent far too much time perusing them over the weekend when I had a gazillion other things to do, mais je ne regrette rien.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Song of the Banshee

Found this on the Endicott Blog. (They are amazing. Go see: I love Sheila Chandra. The way she weaves her own Celtic-Indian traditions reminds me of what I am trying to do in The Book of Dreams.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Light-Bearer Land

Here are two more pics from the hike last Sunday. Again, this is territory through which Dana wanders on her adventures in the Wicklow Mountains. For those of you who find the hardback of The Light-Bearer's Daughter too expensive (though it is truly gorgeous, all shining and golden), the paperback will be out in the Fall of this year and it glitters too. You know, I think this tree is truly Tolkien. (Photo credit: me)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dealing with the Competition

Turns out I am competing with someone I know for the Irish Blog Awards, Arts and Culture Section. Here he is: He's more generous than me. You get to read some of his work. We're both on the long list. Things are heating up now. I'm figuring out ways he could meet with an accident. So, where's the short list?

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Went hiking in the Wicklow Mountains today, Dana's territory in The Light-Bearer's Daughter. Can you see Mrs Sootie Woodhouse in the forest? Too late, she just scurried under a fallen branch! But surely you can see the sleeping giant, there in the distance behind Lugnaquillia? The light is spilling over the beautiful valley of Glenmalure. A funny aside: as we hiked into the valley, Dave and I were discussing Dawkin's book The God Delusion and I was arguing my usual point about materialism being as restrictive and fundamentalist a position as any right-wing religious stance. Suddenly we came upon this godspell. (Photos: Michael McGovern)