Given that it will no doubt stop this wretched old earth from rotating, I thought I’d mention that I’ve resigned from my role as editor of The Honest Ulsterman. I’d like to sincerely thank everyone for their support, especially all the interesting, encouraging people on Twitter and above all to the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry, the very talented Claire Savage and everyone we interviewed and featured. I’m proud of the issues we’ve produced and the success of writers we’ve featured such as Eimear McBride, Rob Doyle, Colin Barrett and Benjamin Myers. It’s a much-needed publication and I hope it long continues.
My only regret is not being able to do what I’d intended to ultimately do with The HU, which was to create a sort of Irish version of BLAST allied to James Simmons’ original vision, if such a monstrosity can be imagined, whilst digitising the original issues. There’ll be notifications soon with details of future plans for the publication and messages to contributors about their outstanding work (which will be passed on to the new editors; that will take a little while so thanks for your patience). Best of luck again to everyone who contributed and supported.
If you haven’t, I strongly recommend checking out and buying Susan Tomaselli’s Gorse journal; she’s been an incredible and under-acknowledged force for good in Irish writing for the past decade and if there’s a hope it lies with the likes of her, as well as Damian Smyth, Sinead Morrissey, Stephen Connelly, Gregory McCartney’s Abridged and so on in the north, and publications such as The Stinging Fly and The Bohemyth in the south. It’s a great time for new Irish writing. Onwards and upwards.
I think it’s important and sadly necessary though to underline the need to support great overlooked literature everywhere. Especially those kicking against the pricks and taking risks in writing, like those in Gorse. The next big thing will not remotely resemble the last big thing so we need to take chances too as readers and publishers and get behind writers who are quietly doing interesting different things. They are very often missed and we can’t afford to do so. This is sadly a time when self-publicists and dilettantes occupy much of the attention and the established channels but there is no reason why it should remain so. We shouldn’t need the next Bolaño, Sebald or Quin to die or indeed the next Eimear McBride to win an award for us to notice. Oh and, in the immortal words of Rebel Inc, ‘Fuck the mainstream.’
News of forthcoming books and things to follow but in the meantime I’m off to see a man about a boat. Slán agaibh.