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Lost Landmarks : A Collection of Cavan Voices

A collection of stories on the childhood landscapes of Cavan, by Older People's Council Older People's Council (Author), Olga Maughan (Author), Ann O'Donoghue (Author), Mary Farrell (Author), Brian McDermott (Author), Bob Gilbert (Author), Eugene Smith (Author) Now available for purchase on Amazon Kindle Edition. Introductory price £0.77 This collection will be launched on zoom on Saturday 28 November 2020 at 6pm. Please email Anthony J Quinn, writer if you would to be invited to the zoom launch: anthonyjquinnwriter@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
This collection will be launched on zoom on Saturday 28 November 2020 at 6pm. 
Please email Anthony J Quinn, writer if you would to be invited to the zoom launch:
 
anthonyjquinnwriter@gmail.com
 

 

 

Lost Landmarks: A Collection of Cavan Voices by [Older People's Council Older People's Council, Olga Maughan, Ann O'Donoghue, Mary  Farrell, Brian McDermott, Bob  Gilbert, Eugene Smith]

 

Authors bring relief for these strange, unsettling times in new collection of Cavan stories

 

The stories I have brought together in Lost Landmarks were written by the members of Cavan’s Older People’s Council. During the typing and editing of the collection earlier this year, in the middle of the first Coronavirus lockdown, I remembered with a sense of pleasure but also a sense of loss the world outside my cocoon, and the wonderful journeys I undertook last year between my home in Tyrone and the towns and villages of Cavan, where I was writer-in-residence, a post supported and funded by the Cavan Arts Office.

 

I remembered the crowded rooms I entered, listening to writers up and down the county, in ancient church halls, in shiny new libraries, in a Bailieborough bar that only opens a few times a year, in theatres, hotel conference rooms, in a restored picture house and a terrace house. Women, men and children were busy writing and speaking, making meaning out of their landscapes and relating to one and other. People who had come from all over Ireland, the UK and the world, washed up by the tides of history and migration, to find their home in Cavan.

 

I’ve heard stories from the deeply rural parishes of the Border counties, as well as from the Philippines, Nigeria, Holland and all over the UK. All sorts of spaces opened up for me. I shared stories, poems and reminiscences, and learned that landscape is the warm flame burning behind the thoughts of Cavan people.

 

The writing in Lost Landmarks evokes nostalgia and loss, but also tickles the funny bone, as in Brian McDermott’s description of an elderly neighbour almost breaking into a dance after he gives his feet their annual wash in a bog-hole. Their stories are full of surprises, and rich in colour, details and the textures of place. They deal in landscapes and characters that have been absorbed into those landscapes, filled with a sense of belonging and the quirky undertows of rural Irish life. Mary Farrell movingly recounts the fate of an old neighbour who preferred to sleep in a tar barrel rather than move into a brand new home, while Bob Gilbert humorously describes a strange Scotsman moving into a dilapidated famine cottage with a Red Indian motorbike.

 

Some of the stories convey a sense of a world already living on borrowed time such as Olga Maughan’s Cavan Hunting Season, and Ann O’Donoghue’s Eating Sour Apples. Even the settings in their accounts feel borrowed, on the cusp of fading away completely. These are childhood landscapes saturated with anecdotes and vivid characters, tapping into the strangeness of rural life and producing original stories such as Eugene Smith’s account of the Wild O’Byrnes. Folklore seeps up through the accounts of impoverished bachelors cooking potatoes in old tins of fruit, deathbed sofas stuffed with loaded weapons, and Halloween pranks involving moving coffins.

 

However, it is children, as much as the landscapes of Cavan that are the subject of this collection. The narrators of many of the stories are the childhood voices of the writers, voices that fit in and belong to the drumlin countryside as much as the hills, rivers and trees. They are about children exploring and taking risks, children growing up and learning about guilt and loss, children discovering their power in the landscape and over others, and the gifts their settings bestow upon them.

 

Landscapes, especially the rural and urban ones of Cavan do not forget quickly, and the writers of this anthology have expertly captured the traces of their lives and histories through their recollections of childhood. These stories are a powerful antidote to our internet obsessed age that lures us into an eternal present and strips our landscapes of meanings and memories.

 

So, I recommend this book to you. Read it and make new connections with Cavan, as it is now and used to be. Let its settings and people surprise you and help you work out where and how you belong.

 

We’ll be doing a virtual launch of the book on Zoom on Saturday November 28. I’ll also be launching my latest novel, Turncoat, a metaphysical detective novel set during the Troubles. Labyrinths abound in metaphysical fiction, and for my sins, I chose Lough Derg's spiralling prayer paths. The book is set mostly on Station Island, and although it's written in the style of an intense psychological thriller, it's also meant to be a pilgrimage through conscience and memory. With most bookshops closed because of the pandemic, I’ll be relying on online sales through Amazon and other retailers.

 

BIO:

 

Anthony J Quinn’s nine novels have received critical acclaim from The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Financial Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Express, The Literary Review, Der Spiegel, The Irish Times, the Irish Independent and other newspapers. His debut novel Disappeared was a Daily Mail Crime Novel of the Year and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best books of the year. His work has also been shortlisted for the Strand Literary Award in the US, as picked by the book critics of the San Francisco Chronicle, The LA Times, The Washington Post and other US newspapers.

 

 

A collection of stories on the childhood landscapes of Cavan, by Older People's Council Older People's Council (Author), Olga Maughan (Author), Ann O'Donoghue (Author), Mary Farrell (Author), Brian McDermott (Author), Bob Gilbert (Author), Eugene Smith (Author)

 

Now available for purchase on Amazon Kindle Edition. Introductory price £0.77

 

 

 

Published

23 Nov 2020

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