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The Next Big Thing

January 9, 2013

The poet and writer http://celesteaugé.com Celeste Augé tagged me in on the online blogging chain, The Next Big Thing. The aim is to spotlight writers that readers might not have encountered to date.

Celeste recently published her first collection of short stories Fireproof and Other Stories. Her poetry has been published by Salmon Poetry and she won the 2011 Cúirt New Writing Prize for fiction. Check out her site by clicking on the link above.

My Next Big Thing

What is the working title of your book?
I had been thinking of using the title of one of the poems. Then I watched the wonderful BBC production of Richard II. The working title is now People this Little World. The phrase comes from one of Richard’s final speeches.

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

From an old drinking-glass; a survivor from my father’s family home.

What genre does your book fall under?
I have to agree with Celeste on this one – my poetry is ‘mine own’, not of any particular genre. I like playing with form, for example. I find its structures force me to zero in on just the right word or image. Of course, there’s always a fight between the initial idea and realisation of it!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
It will be, hopefully, a populous collection, and I could spend hours matching actors to subjects. So here are a few: William Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton (can we use late, great actors?), Joan Hickson, Prunella Scales, and Helen Mirren.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Memory wrought in poetry, gilded with images.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s still a work in progress: scribbled drafts in a leather-covered notebook, transferred from bitty scribbles on scraps of paper. I’m in the final semester of my last year as an undergraduate. Time out for anything other than study is difficult during term-time, but I’m happy to say I got four first drafts written during the Christmas holidays, and ideas/notes for two more.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is a difficult one! I am trying to write about personal and familial experiences, for an anonymous reader. I’d like this project to be inspired by the work of poets like Sinéad Morrissey, Vona Groarke, Michael Longley and Dylan Thomas.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In a roundabout way, it was a non-fiction project from my writing year at NUIG. Having tried a couple of memoir-based pieces, I turned in another direction and wrote about a trip I’d made to the West Bank in 2008. The other written project was a twelve-poem song cycle about women from myth and history – Notes from the Margins. I enjoyed that challenge, and began to dream up another project: returning to memoir – but as poetry, with illustrations. So, inspiration might come from a chance phrase during a conversation with my parents, or from handling an old glass.

What else about your book might pique the readers’ interest?
I want to write poems that resonate with the reader, even though the work is inspired by people and events close to me. It’s all a writer wants: to form the unseen connection; to stir the heart a little.

When and how will it be published?
It’s too early to say. As the old recipe for hare stew says: ‘First, catch your hare.’ I’m still chasing my ‘hares’ around the field. (While secretly hoping that some publisher is watching over the hedge!)

I’d like to tag  Marése  O Sullivan, for The Next Big Thing on Wednesday 16th of January.

Marése is a freelance journalist and writer. At present she is the news editor of the NUIG student newspaper. Read some of her interviews on You can also read about Marése by clicking on the link above.

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  1. Wow…you were busy over Christmas! I did not get to write a thing save my daily rhyme
    and an occasional blog post … Looking forward to reading ‘The Next Big Thing’ from Marése.

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