We had the most amazing time at the Dromineer Literary Festival and here is the evidence – wonderful conversations with Martina Evans, Martin Malone and Eleanor Hooker (poet and chair of the Festival) in the extraordinary setting of Lough Derg. It’s an extra long episode, but worth every lovely minute of it.
Martina Evans is an Irish poet, novelist and teacher. She grew up in a country pub, shop and petrol station in County Cork. She is the author of ten books of prose and poetry. Her first novel, Midnight Feast, won a Betty Trask Award in 1995 and her third novel, No Drinking No Dancing No Doctors (Bloomsbury, 2000), won an Arts Council England Award in 1999. Martina’s fourth poetry collection, Facing the Public was published by Anvil Press in September 2009 and has won bursary awards from both the Irish Arts Council (An Chomhairle Eiraíon) and Arts Council England. Facing the Public was a TLS Book of the Year in 2009 and won the Premio Ciampi International Prize for Poetry in 2011. Petrol, a prose poem won a Grants for the Arts Award in 2010 and was published by Anvil Press in 2012. A revised edition of Midnight Feast and Through The Glass Mountain, a new prose poem, were published by Bloom Books in June 2013. Burnfort, Las Vegas( Anvil Press 2014) was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2015. Mountainy Men, a new narrative poem, is the recipient of a Grants for the Arts Award in 2015. Watch, a pamphlet was published by Rack Press in January 2016 and The Windows of Graceland, New & Selected Poems published by Carcanet in May 2016.
Born in County Durham, Martin Malone now lives in Scotland. He has published two poetry collections: The Waiting Hillside (Templar, 2011) and Cur (Shoestring, 2015). He is an Honorary Research Fellow in Creative Writing at Aberdeen University, and he studied for a Ph.D at Sheffield University. He also edits The Interpreter’s House poetry journal. A chapbook, Prodigals was published by The Black Light Engine Room in January 2016. Martin is currently working on two collections pertaining to his doctorate in Great War poetry: Ghosts of the Vortex Ghosts and the prose poem sequence, The Unreturning. Poems from these and his other work have been published in a variety of poetry journals; such as Stand, Poetry Ireland Review, Acumen, Agenda, Poetry Salzburg Review, Magma, The Moth, the SHOp and The Frogmore Papers. He reviews for The Interpeter’s House, Stand, Causeway/Cabhsair and Poetry Ireland Review.
Eleanor Hooker is a poet and writer, and a helm and Press Officer for the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat in North Tipperary, where she lives with her husband. Her second poetry collection, A Tug of Blue was published by Dedalus Press in 2016. In 2013 her debut, The Shadow Owner’s Companion was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award for Best First Irish collection from 2012. Her poetry has been published in Ireland and internationally in the UK, USA, Germany, Poland, Romania, India and Hungary, and in literary journals including: Poetry (Chicago), PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Agenda, The Stinging Fly, The SHOp, The Moth, The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, Crannóg, Poem: International English Language Quarterly, Cyphers. She has an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin. In 2011 she was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. In 2016 she was included as one of Poetry Ireland Review’s ‘Rising Generation’ of Irish poets. Eleanor is also a founding member and Programme Curator for the Dromineer Literary Festival.
From its first event in 2004, the Dromineer Literary Festival has grown into a much loved event on the Autumn literary calendar. The festival now has an international reputation, with entries for the 2017 writing competitions from Ireland, UK, France, Canada, USA, South America and Hong Kong. A key philosophy of the Dromineer Literary Festival is to celebrate the creativity of emerging writers.