‘In My Own Write’ is a book of poetry and prose which arose out of creative writing & photography workshops as part of the ‘From Oriel To Brexit’ project that I coordinate. The project is based in Co Louth/South Armagh and is funded under the EU Peace IV Programme as awarded by the Co Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership.
The aim of the workshops was to encourage participants to artistically express their thoughts, feelings, views and observations on the themes of home, place, identity, borders and boundaries – whether geographical, social, emotional, or psychological.
The workshops were held simultaneously in Tí Chulainn Heritage Centre, Mullaghbawn and in the Creative Spark, Dundalk. I tutored a series of creative writing workshops and then Zoë O’Reilly, a photographic ethnographer, joined us to show to the participants how they could take photos that would in some way reflect the writings they had produced. The result is the book, ‘In My Own Write’.
The title – and the front cover of the book - comes from the title of a poem written by one of the participants in the workshops, Angie Corr. The book also contains writing from; Caóilfíonn Murphy-O’Hanlon, Caroline Byrne, Colleen Savage, Donna Lawless, Fiona Johnson, Inesa Svaikauskaite, Jean Marshall, Kate Kieran, Kathleen Tuite, Maria Nic Fhearchair, Roisin McEntegart, Úna Curley, and Wendy McKeown.
A filmed recording of some of the participants reading from their work was later recorded in the studios of the Ulster Screen Academy at Ulster University, Belfast.
Unfortunately the book is not for sale; only 100 copies were printed. Anglo Printers, based in Drogheda, did an amazing job with the print, as did Gerry Morrison with the layout of the book. Copies will, however, be made available in Dundalk and Newry libraries and in the coming weeks an online version of the book, and the filmed recordings, will be made available.
The idea of the facemasks was, not only to publicise the book, but to show that, despite lockdowns and restrictions under Covid-19, life continued and something beautiful was produced.
As Zoë and I say in our introduction to the book:
“We wish to thank all those who engaged so openly and readily in the workshops and who produced such quality material in such a short space of time. Space restricts us to providing only a glimpse of the range of creative and imaginative material that arose out of the workshops and it is impossible to reproduce here the laughter, hopes, and pain shared over the course of those workshops. Our thanks to all who made it such an enjoyable experience.”
My personal thanks to Zoë, who it is always a pleasure to work with.
My thanks too, to Mary at Tí Chulainn and Sarah at the Creative Spark, both of whom made our time there so pleasant.