Dreaming Ireland

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Dreaming Place is a new ebook by Anna Keleher with illustrations by Anna Keleher and Claire Cote. The two artists made two journeys wild-camping in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark which straddles the Ireland/Northern Ireland border. They talked with lots of local people about the relationship between the land and their dreams. They recorded local musicians, storytellers, potholers, artists. They wanted to find out about both old and new approaches to off-grid living.

They made a series of radio programmes, a mobile listening and recording studio and now this book.

The book includes 25 line drawings by the artists and is a lively, humorous and vivid read.

It is available from Amazon for £2.75 or free on Kindle Unlimited. I highly recommend it for Christmas presents, accompanying a journey to Ireland, or cosy armchair travelling.

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Castle Escapes

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My blogpost on Gerald FitzWalter, a Norman frontiersman in south Wales in late 11th and early 12th centuries, has just been published on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog.

One of Gerald’s many colourful exploits included an escape down a latrine chute during a Welsh attack in 1109 on his castle of Cenarth Bychan. The latrine chute may have resembled the one shown above, and Cenarth Bychan was very likely the castle in Wales now known as Cilgerran.

Gerald is one of the main characters in my recently published novel Conquest I: Daughter of the Last King, and I am writing more about him now in the sequel, Conquest II: The Drowned Court, which will be published by Impress Books next autumn.

[Photo above of Peveril Castle via Wikimedia Commons. By Dave.Dunford]

As Above So Below

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Tracey Warr, Meanda. Photo: Yohann Gozard for Exoplanet Lot.

As Above So Below is an arts and astronomy project at ACA in Allenheads, Northumberland, UK, coinciding with the building of a new community observatory.

Earlier this year I ran a future fiction writing workshop with schoolchildren and installed a ground text around the Armstrong Hydraulic Engine in Allenheads village. My future fiction novella, Meanda, and the outcomes of the children’s workshop will feature in next weekend’s finale exhibition, along with the work of 17 other artists,  28-30 October 2016. Full details:

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Good questions on the writing process

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I am currently on a Blog Tour for my new novel, Conquest: Daughter of the Last King and have been tackling some very good questions from bloggers about researching, writing and publishing processes, as well questions about the novel itself. See some of my answers here:

Trip Fiction, 16 October 2016

The Cosy Reader, 10 October 2016

Wee Reader, 8 October 2016

Portobello Books Blog, 3 October 2016

The Writing Desk, 1 October 2016

 

Photo: Salla Lahtinen.

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Writing with Water

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Ida Larsen making word confluences in the Writing with Water workshop

As part of my current Frontiers in Retreat residency with HIAP on Suomenlinna island, Finland, I ran a two day workshop on Writing with Water with postgraduate students from University of the Arts, Helsinki from the new Ecology and Contemporary Performance MA and from Performance Studies – Christiana Bissett, Ida Larsen, Elina Minn and Jussi Salminen. We considered writers on water including Bachelard, Deakin, Gooley. We discussed the behaviours, characteristics, movements, political, biological, environmental and psychological significances of water. We discussed immersion, the littoral, fear and love for water, dissolution. I presented recent water projects including my water exoplanet novella, Meanda and the River Runs collaboration with Urbonas Studio. We looked at recent work with water by other artists including Tuula Narhinen, Susan Derges, Sarah Kenchington and Bram Arnold. We made experiments outside on the island and in HIAP’s Project Space in order to generate and develop the beginnings of some ideas for texts, images, actions with and about water. One of the workshop participants reports below:

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Jussi Salminen, Flashlight Cave

Jussi Salminen, Work Seeds

I was playing with the idea, that life, as we know it, arrived to planet earth from outer space in the form of water. This water included consciousness. And “Consciousness is continuous … without breach, crack or division. It is nothing jointed; it flows” (William James, The Principles of Psychology). I was searching for altered states of consciousness of water. Where has water been through? I found a man-made cave occupied by water. The human mind developed in water-made caves, so what has a man-made cave done for water? I started to examine water with altered states of consciousness in this man-made cave by voice work (humming into the flooded reverberating space), wall drawings, and by taking a sample with me to study through smell and observation. I would like to take this research further into laboratory work (microscopic testing, electric charge etc.), site-specific work (Plato’s cave for water) and bodywork (telepathy, contact, encounters). The water sample was tinted brown, active, squirming with life, in comparison with the flat, still, odourless water from the tap. And what are we going to do with all this stupid water (tap water)? From the springs I can hear my ancestors calling!

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Elina Minn, Fictional Hydramap in the Writing with Water workshop. Photo: Salla Lahtinen.

Blog Tour: Conquest – Daughter of the Last King

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Pembroke Castle, Wales, where one of the characters in my novel, Gerald FitzWalter foiled Welsh attackers who were besieging the castle. He made an insouciant pretence that he had a limitless supply of food inside the castle, by throwing half-eaten pig carcasses over the walls and leaving a faked letter where the Welsh rebels would find it. That’s a true story about him. He was a wily guy!

Latest blogpost published today in the blogtour for my new novel:

Portobello Books Blog

Earlier stops in the blogtour last week:

The Writing Desk

Jorie Loves A Story

The Mad Woman in the Attic

And others coming up soon with Wee Reader, The Cosy Reader and more. Thanks to the bloggers for hosting me and to my publicist at Impress Books, Natalie Clark, for organising it.

A bit sad that, at the moment, I can’t be in the UK and France (where I have lots of loyal readers!) to celebrate the launch of the book in person. I’m currently on a writing residency on a Finnish island and will be going to Iceland after this (so not so bad!). Looking forward to book launch events soon (more news on that coming later). It’s great, however, to be connecting with bloggers and readers all over the place via this Blog Tour.

The new novel, Conquest: Daughter of the Last King, is set in England and Wales at the turn of the 11th century. It focusses on the tumultuous experiences of a young Welsh noblewoman, Nest ferch Rhys, who is caught up in the struggle between the Welsh and the Normans. She is symbolically significant to both sides and the book aims to evoke her torn affections and loyalties and her efforts to regain control of her own destiny. The book is the first in a trilogy about Nest.

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