The news from Kiltumper. It is April and three of us here are turning a year older. The son will be 17 on April 1st and the daughter 21 on the 16th. Me, well, let's just say I've started to lie about my age.
Meanwhile, readers have been asking for more blogging and so here I am upstairs in the cottage in an April evening trying to gather in all the news and send it out there. We've been busy. Niall's newest novel 'John' has been published in the US and Canada and is in bookshops now. News of it's success is slowly filtering in. The Montreal Gazette reviewer writes, "Themes of love, faith, redemption and survival inform his (Williams) smoothly lyrical, powerfully dramatic prose in John", and ends his review with "If Hollywood producer Cecil B. DeMille of the Ten Commandments were alive today, he'd be angling for the film rights." Niall has just finished a six month appointment in Co Sligo as the writer in residence. In Yeats Country he was inspired and is a quarter of the way through a new novel. He tells me it's 'an Irish novel' and that's all we have for now. Meanwhile, John will be published on this side of the Atlantic in September, while Boy in the World was reissued in small format paper in the UK and Ireland in February. It's companion, Boy and Man will be published in June. As well as the next novel he is concurrently writing a non fiction book called A Writing Year, and some short stories. Niall is giving several workshops this summer (including two here in Kiltumper, one in Listowel Writers' Week and one in Kenmare). See website for more details: http://www.niallwilliams.com/ He has been invited to the first ever international writers' festival in Jerusalem in May. In July, Monmouth University in New Jersey are staging Niall's play, The Way You Look Tonight. It runs for two weeks. And he has agreed to mentor the MFA students in Creative Writing from Pittsburg's Carlow University for two weeks in June when they come to Co Carlow as part of their studies. How does he do it? And cut the lawn as well!
Designing daughter has secured herself two internships this summer in NYC with top fashion designers. She'll finish up at New York Fashion Week in September and return home to begin her final year at Dublin's National College of Art and Design. Our son, in fifth year, has one year to go at the secondary school he attends where he studies, Latin, French, Irish, Music, English, History, Geography, and Math. And, he studies Greek on the side with one of the wonderful old monks.
As for myself, I continue to write weekly articles for The Clare People on gardening and books and health. And, I have high hopes for a children's story I wrote called Tom's Cat. It's about a cat with no name. Fingers crossed the cat finds not only a name but a publisher! And as ever, I am preoccupied with gardening. The other day I was ordering plants on line at Tully Nurseries http://www.tullynurseries.ie/ -- a delphinium here and kniphofia there and three multi stem silver birch for a garden I'm designing in Ennis and I thought, 'now this is what I want to do', spend other people's money for a change and make something beautiful for them'.
With April greening, we now await the next sure sign of Spring... the singing of the cuckoo. She's due in any day now. She'll be flying in over Commodore's Crossroads and down the hill past Mary Breen and the Downes and up the hill past Hehirs' new house, and finally she'll settle on one of the high branches of the sycamore or ash trees. It'll be afternoon and the sun will be shining and our spirits will lift as we go full speed ahead into a new season....