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Rattlebag, Looking West – 31 Oct

31st October 2016 @ 19:30 - 21:00 UTC


Our eclectic Rattlebag forum returns with the novelist Jess Kidd, poet Kimberly Campanello and academic Clare Walker Gore. Kidd’s brilliantly original debut novel Himself is a gothic detective story set in 1970s Mayo with a cast of ghosts. Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother’s disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago.

… “I love this book. It’s a magic realist murder mystery set in rural Ireland, in which the dead play as important a part as the living. It’s one of those books that has you smiling as you read, and that you plan to read again very soon.”. Louis de Bernières, bestselling author of Corelli’s Mandolin on Himself

Dr Campanello is an Irish-American poet who has produced fine work in Strange Country (Dreadful Press, 2015) which inhabits the complexity of the sheela-na-gigs – ancient stone carvings of female figures that prominently display the vulva, which are found on churches, castles and town walls across Ireland and some of Britain. Campanello will read from Strange Country and present her sonically rich project about the St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, MOTHERBABYHOME (zimZalla Avant Objects, forthcoming in 2016).

Dr Clare Walker Gore of the University of Cambridge discusses The Life of Arthur Macmurrough Kavanagh and what this fascinating biography contributes to our understanding of disabled people in the 19th century. Born at Borris House in County Carlow without hands and feet, he was an adventurous traveller and a Member of Parliament, a tiger-hunting landowner whose attempts to resist the rising tide of Irish nationalism were ultimately defeated, and whose amazing career has been largely forgotten. But how did his first biographer meet the challenge of writing his life?

Our three panelists will be in conversation with Gavin Clarke.

Jess Kidd Dr Jess Kidd
Jess Kidd has a PhD in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s University in Strawberry Hill and currently teaches Creative Writing to adult learners and undergraduates. Before that she was a support worker specialising in acquired brain injury. She grew up as a part of a large family from Mayo and now lives in London with her daughter. Himself is Jess’ first novel and she is now completing her second, a contemporary crime novel called Hoarder and a collection of short stories.

Kimberly Campanello Dr Kimberly Campanello
Kimberly Campanello was born in Elkhart, Indiana, and is a dual American and Irish citizen. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at York St John University. Her poetry publications include Spinning Cities (Wurm Press, 2011), Consent (Doire Press, 2013), and Imagines (New Dublin Press, 2015). In October 2015, The Dreadful Press published Strange Country, Campanello’s full-length collection on the sheela-na-gig stone carvings. ZimZalla will publish MOTHERBABYHOME, a book of conceptual and visual poetry in 2016.

Clare Walker GoreDr Clare Walker Gore
Early career researcher working on disability in Victorian literature especially novels by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope and George Eliot, and the biographies of the period. Particular interests in disability history and women’s writing. PhD from Selwyn College, Cambridge, Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge from October 2016.

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31st October 2016
19:30 - 21:00 UTC
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Irish Literary Society


The Bloomsbury Hotel
The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street
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