We doubled our audience since the first event and we were thrilled to bits. Nearly everyone who came the last time came back and many brought their friends. There was an air of excited expectation. With the rising hubbub, I worried that Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, whose turn it was to be MC for the evening, would have trouble getting things started but in a flash, he had the crowd tamed and ready to listen to the fantastic readers we had lined up.
First up, Maureen Boyle read an extract of her poem Incunabula from her recently published book, The Work of a Winter.
Click here to read a review of Maureen's Book in Lagan Online.
Mairead Breen is new to reading her writing in public. When she asked me not to video her reading, I assumed she was nervous, but it turned out that her character was based on a real person, though unnamed and hard enough to identify, Mairead wanted to exercise caution. We respected her wishes. She read her piece, Cool Customer beautifully and it was evident that the audience enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing more from this writer
Karen Mooney was back again with a lovely poem about her brother road-racing. You could sense the audience share Karen's emotion as she worried about her brothers' safety in her poem, I Didn’t Feel the Wasp Sting.
Another returnee, Christopher Moore gave us a skilful and delightful peek into the mind of a poetic genius with his piece Yeats.
All the way from Gweedore, County Donegal, Máire Dinny Wren read Scáile Dheirdre, the lilt and rhythm of the Irish language brought me back to my Gaeltacht days as a teen. I wish I'd keep practising the language - perhaps it's not too late.
Then I read Beheaded, a piece inspired by my trip to the Armagh County Musem which I blogged about a few months back.
After the break, Jude Alexzander toyed with our emotions in a brilliantly crafted story called Hope.
Elaine Toal, a new local talent kept us on the edge of our seats with, Revisiting. A lovely reading and I'm hoping to see more from Elaine.
All the way from Hungary, Csilla Toldy told the heartbreaking story, The Joke.
Malachi Kelly's story reminded us how far we have come in his heart-stopping reading of One More.
And finally, we had Peter Hollywood's beautifully crafted and emotive After the conflict with it's honest and wry commentary about where we live today.
From the above video footage, I think you'll agree that each and every reader had the audience enthralled. You could hear a pin drop in a room packed to the gills, where every table held cups and saucers, or glasses or plates and cutlery and yet silence fell and held its ground for each reading.
It was simply a special evening and a great gathering of readers and listeners.
Our next event is Flash Fiction in the Orchard, as part of the Armagh Food and Cider Festival.
20th September 2018 at 7pm at the Armagh Cider Company.
This time there's a small cover charge that includes snacks and cider tasting and tickets are available here.
Submissions are now open for this event until 20th August 2018. Please email your 200 – 750-word submission within the body of your email (no attachments please) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If it's anything like that first two events, it promises to be a great night out.
Hopefully see you there.