I’m delighted to be featured in this short story and poetry collection compiled by Cork City Libraries and officially launched this afternoon. I had a kind librarian take this pic for me on 17th January when I collected my contributor’s copy. Regretfully I can’t make it today due to illness and recovery, but I will be there in spirit.
I want to talk a bit about my short story, “The Defamation Suit”. It’s an allegorical-style story that combines strong Biblical symbolism, semi-apocalyptic imagery and dreamlike sequences, all entwined with the grim reality of the toxic Catholic hangover that is the 2009 Defamation Act. This is currently under review in our Houses of Parliament and it honestly can’t be reformed soon enough.
“The Defamation Suit”, while highly stylised and allegorised, is at root autobiographical. It is an emotional processing and response to receiving a vexatious SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) early in 2020. It seeks to interweaves the decades of our history, of being colonised then re-colonising ourselves, the culture of shame, ultramontane power and silence, and how the old ghosts still rattle their chains through our brutal history of defamation violence. It depicts the sued person as the brutalised figure of a woman and brings up the horrible co-conspiracy of silence and internalised misogyny. I know this is a long-ass summary of a 2000-word story, but I honestly believe that it’s the most important piece I’ve ever written. It is activist literature, and for that I am proud of it. I hope it moves the needle.
I’ve read some of the other pieces and particularly enjoyed short stories and excerpts by Michelle Dunne, Mel O’Doherty and Cathy Sweeney, but there are many more excellent tales to enjoy.
Please if you have reason to pass your local library in Cork, have a look – or it can be bought in Waterstones and other local bookshops. I will add links as soon as available.