Monday, 7 December 2020

Book Launch

My new collection of poetry, The Skylark’s Call, published by Dempsey & Windle, will be launched on Wednesday 9 December at 7.30pm via Zoom. The launch will feature readings from my special guests, Moyra Donaldson, Kevin Higgins and Damian Smyth. There will also be readings from Maureen Hill, John Knowles and Mary Montague from the Queen’s Writers’ Group. I’m delighted that so many outstanding poets will be contributing. Over 80 people have signed up for the launch and some of these will be joining in from long distance, including my cousin from New Zealand. With such an exciting and varied programme, I’m sure it will be a great evening.

Moyra Donaldson is a writer and creative writing facilitator from Co Down. She has published nine collections of poetry, including a limited edition publication of artwork and poems, Blood Horses, in collaboration with artist Paddy Lennon. Her most recent collection is Carnivorous, Doire Press, 2019. A new collection, Bone House, is forthcoming from Doire Press in 2021.

Kevin Higgins is a Galway-based poet and essayist. He has been described by The Stinging Fly magazine as 'likely the most read living poet in Ireland'. His new book, The Colour Yellow & The Number 19 – Negative Thoughts That Helped One Man Mostly Retain His Sanity During 2020, has just been published by Nuascéalta. His sixth full collection of poems Ecstatic will be published by Salmon in June 2021.

Damian Smyth's collections are Downpatrick Races (2000), The Down Recorder (2004), Lamentations (2010), Market Street (2010), Mesopotamia (Templar 2014) and English Street (Templar 2018). Irish Street is due in 2021. He is Head of Literature and Drama with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Maureen Hill is a retired teacher who spent most of her professional life in Northern Ireland, apart from a year in Madrid, teaching English as a foreign language. Her work has been published in various literary magazines including Abridged, Crannog, The French Literary Review, Magma and The Stinging Fly.

John Knowles is a librarian at Queen’s University, Belfast. He has published poems in a number of literary journals, including Envoi, Poetry Ireland Review, Oxford Poetry, Rialto and the Shop.

Mary Montague is a biologist with a PhD in ornithology. Her poetry collections are Tribe (Dedalus 2008) and Black Wolf on a White Plain (Summer Palace 2001). Her poems are in a number of anthologies, most recently Her Other Language (ed. Ruth Carr & Natasha Cuddington; Arlen Press 2020), and have been translated into French, Italian and Russian. She contributes to The Guardian’s Country Diary. 

The Skylark’s Call is priced at £10 and can be bought online from and from  And if you buy the book through my website, I’d be delighted to sign it for you. For every copy of my book that is sold, £1 will be donated to Cancer Focus Northern Ireland. In these difficult times, it’s important that we continue to give support to those suffering from cancer.

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