21 July 2020
By Elaine Murphy
From the Well is the annual Cork County Council Library & Arts Service short story anthology. Deirdre Kingston’s ‘Catch & Release’ was selected as the winner for 2020 and is now available on podcast along with two other stories from this year’s collection. The move to record the three stories is a new departure in the anthology’s 16-year history.
Author Billy O’Callaghan shortlisted 20 stories before selecting the winning entry with the help of fellow adjudicators Claire Kilroy & Eimear Ryan. Due to Covid19 restrictions, the publication and official launch of Catch & Release and Other Stories will take place in the autumn. In the meantime, Cork County Council Library & Arts Service, in association with the West Cork Literary Festival, has published audio versions online. ‘Catch & Release’ is available as a podcast along with Alexandra Tyndale’s story ‘The Bet’ & ‘The Half Light’ by Miriam Dunne.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley praised the innovative move, saying
“It is wonderful to see the Council’s Library & Arts Service adapting to the needs of the people of County Cork. The introduction of this podcast series will ensure that these fantastic stories reach the wide audience that they deserve.”
Director of West Cork Literary Festival, Eimear O’Herlihy, said
“This anthology is a wonderful addition to our festival line-up every year and whilst it is a pity that Deirdre, Miriam and Alexandra won’t be reading their stories in Bantry Library next week we are delighted to be partnering with Cork County Council to launch their stories online during what would have been the 2020 West Cork Literary Festival.”
Billy O’Callaghan added
“The ‘From the Well’ contest holds a special place among literary prizes in that it receives its entries through one of our most precious assets, the library, and as such taps directly into the very heart of the creative writing community and the selection process is always quite a challenge, given the frequently astonishing breadth of talent toiling away with such quiet determination in every corner of the country. I am pleased and proud to say that this year’s selection maintains and in its finest moments, possibly even surpasses the contest’s highest standards.”
The three podcasts launched by Cork County Council in association with West Cork Literary Festival’s online programme for 2020 are available on the Council’s website corkcoco.ie/en/arts-heritage-irish-language/online-resources
The works will be published in book form later this year as part of Cork County Culture Night.
The winning entry ‘Catch & Release’ is the work of Deirdre Kingston, a writer of short stories and historical fiction. Her writing was published in The Incubator, and her story “Donatio Mortis Causa” was shortlisted for the 2018 From the Well anthology. She was twice selected for the ‘Date with an Agent’ Event at the International Literature Festival Dublin. She lives in Cork with her husband and three children.
Creator of ‘The Half Light’, Miriam Dunne lives on Sherkin Island and is currently working on a novel. Her first book Blessed Art Thou Amongst Women became Waterstone’s book of the month. She has had articles published in the Irish Times and broadcast on RTE’s Sunday Miscellany.
Alexandra Tyndale’s ‘The Bet.’ Alexandra grew up in Wicklow before moves to Dublin, London and Bristol. She is now based in West Cork. She began writing last year and her first short story, ‘In the Clouds’ was published in From the Well in 2019.