Mike Quille

Mike Quille

Mike Quille is a writer, reviewer and chief editor of Culture Matters.

Land of the Ever Young
Monday, 22 November 2021 12:45

Land of the Ever Young

Published in Fiction

This is the final book in a set of three volumes of working people’s writing from contemporary Ireland. It follows on from a poetry anthology, Children of the Nation and a prose anthology, From the Plough to the Stars, all edited by Jenny Farrell and available here.

The children’s stories in this book are packed with humanity, tenderness, and wisdom. The authors present children and adults who confront wrongs, challenge superstition and injustice, and who often see further than others around them. The heroines and heroes in these stories are always filled with a sense of the common good, highlighting the qualities necessary to make society a fairer, better place, a home for a happy future, a Tír na nÓg, the Land of the Ever Young. Such a place can only materialise in the absence of wars, of profit-driven greed with its contempt for equality, humanity and the environment — a place where instead the common good is the measure of society.

Land of the Ever Young has been beautifully illustrated by the artist Karen Dietrich. Her images comment on and expand the humanist themes contained in the texts and help make them truly memorable for all readers, children and adults alike.

Land of the Ever Young: An Anthology of Working People’s Writing for Children from Contemporary Ireland, edited by Jenny Farrell with illustrations by Karen Dietrich, ISBN 978-1-912710-43-0, 12 Euros/£11 plus p. and p. 

From the Republic of Ireland.....

From the UK..... 

Land of the Ever Young
Monday, 15 November 2021 10:05

Land of the Ever Young

Published in Books

This is the final book in a set of three volumes of working people’s writing from contemporary Ireland. It follows on from a poetry anthology, Children of the Nation and a prose anthology, From the Plough to the Stars, all edited by Jenny Farrell and available here.

The children’s stories in this book are packed with humanity, tenderness, and wisdom. The authors present children and adults who confront wrongs, challenge superstition and injustice, and who often see further than others around them. The heroines and heroes in these stories are always filled with a sense of the common good, highlighting the qualities necessary to make society a fairer, better place, a home for a happy future, a Tír na nÓg, the Land of the Ever Young. Such a place can only materialise in the absence of wars, of profit-driven greed with its contempt for equality, humanity and the environment — a place where instead the common good is the measure of society.

Land of the Ever Young has been beautifully illustrated by the artist Karen Dietrich. Her images comment on and expand the humanist themes contained in the texts and help make them truly memorable for all readers, children and adults alike.

Land of the Ever Young: An Anthology of Working People’s Writing for Children from Contemporary Ireland, edited by Jenny Farrell with illustrations by Karen Dietrich, ISBN 978-1-912710-43-0, 12 Euros/£11 plus p. and p. 

From the Republic of Ireland.....

From the UK..... 

Fire in My Head
Tuesday, 05 October 2021 16:07

Fire in My Head

Published in Fiction

Moya Roddy’s new collection of stories catapult us into the minds and hearts of working-class people who, despite a class system that offers them very little, reveal their own strength and potential through friendship, community and solidarity.

Whether it’s the young mother in Doctor’s Orders fighting to get the right treatment, the joyrider in Going Nowhere who protects his selectively mute half-sister, the single parent being bullied at work in I Also Had My Hour or the elderly woman whose life does an about-turn in They Also Serve Who Only, the characters in these stories spring to life in memorable situations readers can easily identify with.

Written with a lightness of touch and a compassionate warmth that shines through every story, this outstanding collection is original, profound, and a must-read for everyone. 

Fire in My Head, Stories by Moya Roddy, ISBN 978-1-912710-34-8, is 12 euros or £10.

For orders from the Republic of Ireland, use this button...

For orders from the UK, use this button....

Fire in My Head
Tuesday, 05 October 2021 15:59

Fire in My Head

Published in Books

Moya Roddy’s new collection of stories catapult us into the minds and hearts of working-class people who, despite a class system that offers them very little, reveal their own strength and potential through friendship, community and solidarity.

Whether it’s the young mother in Doctor’s Orders fighting to get the right treatment, the joyrider in Going Nowhere who protects his selectively mute half-sister, the single parent being bullied at work in I Also Had My Hour or the elderly woman whose life does an about-turn in They Also Serve Who Only, the characters in these stories spring to life in memorable situations readers can easily identify with.

Written with a lightness of touch and a compassionate warmth that shines through every story, this outstanding collection is original, profound, and a must-read for everyone.

Fire in My Head, Stories by Moya Roddy, ISBN 978-1-912710-34-8, is 12 euros/ £10.

For orders from the Republic of Ireland, use this button...

For orders from the UK, use this button....
Over Eagle Pond
Tuesday, 05 October 2021 10:05

Over Eagle Pond

Published in Poetry

Organised around beautiful and careful observations of the natural world, Over Eagle Pond avoids the temptations of rage and despair that weaken so much Covid poetry, successfully addressing large, global events via the local and the particular. The accompanying drawings by Martin Gollan are reminiscent of Paul Hogarth and are the perfect complement to the poems.

–   Andy Croft

Over Eagle Pond, poems by Chris Searle with drawings by Martin Gollan, ISBN 9-78-1-912710-42-3, £12 inc. p. and p.

Over Eagle Pond
Tuesday, 05 October 2021 09:57

Over Eagle Pond

Published in Books

Organised around beautiful and careful observations of the natural world, Over Eagle Pond avoids the temptations of rage and despair that weaken so much Covid poetry, successfully addressing large, global events via the local and the particular. The accompanying drawings by Martin Gollan are reminiscent of Paul Hogarth and are the perfect complement to the poems.

–   Andy Croft

Over Eagle Pond, poems by Chris Searle with drawings by Martin Gollan, ISBN 9-78-1-912710-42-3, £12 inc. p. and p.

William Blake at the Bridge Hotel
Tuesday, 05 October 2021 09:38

William Blake at the Bridge Hotel

Published in Books

This new poetry anthology is edited and introduced by Paul Summers and illustrated with photographs by Dan Douglas. Ten local poets are presented, diverse in style but unified by their progressive politics and class. Their visions of the city and its people straddle an epoch which has witnessed deindustrialisation and the dismantling of traditional working-class communities, and the transition to a more nuanced, multicultural and complex reality.

The anthology is sponsored by UNISON Newcastle City branch and Newcastle Trades Union Council.

The North East poetry scene remains defiantly at odds with the culture of careerism, show business and narcissism disfiguring so much of contemporary British literary culture. These ten poets represent an alternative tradition of the writer as cultural activist, writing about a people, a place and a proletariat.    

 – Andy Croft, poet and publisher

We welcome and support this new anthology of poetry, rooted in the everyday experience of some of our finest creative writers, thoroughly engaged with local history and with current social and political issues, and authentically reflecting many of the problems and difficult situations as well as the joys and satisfactions of working people on Tyneside.

 – Martin Levy, President, Newcastle Trades Union Council

William Blake at the Bridge Hotel: Ten Newcastle Poets, ISBN 978-1-912710-23-2, £10 inc. p. and p.

Bread and Roses Poetry Award 2021: The winners!
Monday, 12 July 2021 08:36

Bread and Roses Poetry Award 2021: The winners!

Published in Poetry

The judges, Andy Croft of Smokestack Books and Mary Sayer from Unite, have picked the following five winners for 2021:

Have Mercy on the Multi-Drop Man by Eamonn Harvey

They Want All Our Teeth to be Theirs by Martin Hayes

The Apple Tree by Alan Sleater

Spray Carnations by Steven Taylor

So Long Mariana by Alan Weadick

Congratulations to the five winners and thanks to all those who entered. The Bread and Roses anthology containing a selection of entries will be available to buy later in the year. If you wish to order copies in advance please contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here are the judges' comments on this year's entries:

It is hard to write about the injustices of contemporary society without slipping into easy denunciations, second-hand phrases and borrowed anger. The best political poetry should also be painful to read, interrogating itself and challenging what the reader thinks they know or believe to be true.

The entries to this year’s Bread and Roses competition certainly share a sense of impatient rage and revulsion at the way the world works; but they are also distinguished by intellectual ambition, literary technique and political resilience. And they say what needs to be said about the subjects that matter most – inequality, work, unemployment, solidarity, struggle, homelessness, racism, illegal wars, environmental disaster.

Andy Croft, Smokestack Books

At a time when the working class struggles to make itself heard in the arts, which are in danger of becoming the preserve of the entitled - we need to raise our voices louder than ever.

When some of us feel as if a protective layer of our emotions has been torn off by the powers that be - it has been particularly heartening to read these resonant outpourings from our comrades. A whole range of emotions live in these beautiful and brave poems: passion, reflection, tender nostalgia and hope – through to urgent and justifiable outrage. Always inspiring and often very funny and comforting. Just the title alone of one my favourite of these poems does it for me: 'Have Mercy on the Multi-drop Man'. Brilliant!

 - Mary Sayer, Unite

Here is one of the winning poems, the others will be published online shortly:

So Long, Mariana
(A Farewell to Employee No. 322952 from Employee No. 323647)

by Alan Weadick

Such a huge sigh, Mariana, containing, I hope,
only a fraction of what we'll both

still have left over after this out of office hours
work that flows from us in salt and water

as we cut a swath through the dust
of dead messages, contemplating beds

of sharpened pencils in the era of eyes
that never blink, trying not to sink

into the special pit reserved
for rapidly cooling corporate benevolence.

Which, I am given to understand,
likes us fine and makes us the subject

of many an after –dinner speaker,
the same Babel all over, Mariana,

out in the nursing homes of the privately
wicked, those who claim to be on your side

while on their way to the revolving door
to snuggle up with their lump sums.

So sigh some more, Mariana,
as often and deeply as it takes

to make your first song
(I can't tell you how many; I'm still sighing

my way through a dozen wet cardboard walls).
But those who have ears will hear it

true and unmistakable as the hand writing
in light that must have made you up

(there is no other explanation for you, Mariana)
with just such a mission in mind

after each Brazilian night to come
with its far from neutral face

has done its worst to erase
whatever it is about you, Mariana,

and what you've left behind
that can't be binned or sold.

Apricot Sun
Monday, 12 July 2021 08:09

Apricot Sun

Published in Poetry

Trisha Heaney’s poems are  sincere, authentic and true. Her polemical pieces show no pity for the pitiless, combining outrage and insight, but the political is often potently personal, whether the focus is on the communitarian solidarity experienced growing up on a Glasgow housing scheme, or on the sense of belonging she discovered as a teacher in poverty-stricken Sudan. 

Sharp of eye and tongue, Trisha Heaney listens with her heart. Though much here is dark and dismaying, hope is never quite given up and this splendid poet’s Apricot Sun glows with warmth and illumination. Empathy, compassion and love are expressed with technical elan, imaginative verve and a natural storyteller’s talent for compelling communication, making this an uplifting and notable debut.
                                                                      — Donny O’Rourke

Apricot Sun, by Trisha Heaney, ISBN 978-1-912710-26-3, 88pps., price £10 inc. p. and p.

Apricot Sun
Monday, 12 July 2021 07:49

Apricot Sun

Published in Books

Trisha Heaney’s poems are  sincere, authentic and true. Her polemical pieces show no pity for the pitiless, combining outrage and insight, but the political is often potently personal, whether the focus is on the communitarian solidarity experienced growing up on a Glasgow housing scheme, or on the sense of belonging she discovered as a teacher in poverty-stricken Sudan. 

Sharp of eye and tongue, Trisha Heaney listens with her heart. Though much here is dark and dismaying, hope is never quite given up and this splendid poet’s Apricot Sun glows with warmth and illumination. Empathy, compassion and love are expressed with technical elan, imaginative verve and a natural storyteller’s talent for compelling communication, making this an uplifting and notable debut.
                                                                      — Donny O’Rourke

Apricot Sun, by Trisha Heaney, ISBN 978-1-912710-26-3, 88pps., price £10 inc. p. and p.

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