Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Catherine Dunne and Nuala Ní Chonchúir will be on Arena on RTÉ Radio 1 tonight to discuss the Italo-Irish Literature Exchange English language anthology, Lost Between (New Island). Tune in here or listen to the podcast from tomorrow.

The Irish Times featured Catherine and Federica Sgaggio's forward to Lost Between yesterday. You can read it here.

There is an Italian language anthology, a companion volume, forthcoming in November from Guanda in Italy.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


You are cordially invited to the launch of Lost Between: Writings on Displacement on Thursday the 16th of July at 6.30pm in the Irish Writers' Centre.

A description of the anthology from the New Island website:

'Lost Between features a host of established and emerging writers from the immense literary landscapes of both Ireland and Italy. From a father and son emigrating from Famine-stricken Ireland in search of a better life, to a donor looking for meaning in a lost relationship with his son, to Belfast in the turbulent year of 1976, the stories and poems featured in this anthology touch on the sense of displacement that stems from migration, detachment and rapidly shifting social identities. The individual works stand proudly by themselves to leave a lasting impression, and when read together they emerge to form a diverse, soulful and evocative collection that will charm and inspire.'

From the Foreword by Catherine Dunne and Federica Sgaggio:

‘All writing is an act of translation – the translation of experience into words, into image and metaphor. The fifteen writers whose work forms this anthology take displacement as their theme and their writing is a rich mix of poetry and prose, their approaches as diverse as the writers themselves.’

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


We have been quiet but productive. Here is the cover for our Italo-Irish anthology, Lost Between, launching in July 2015. With thanks to New Island.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Collective Sound Reading Performance - Sant' Agata dei Goti

Here are the Irish writers, and many Italian writers, taking part in an experimental sound performance in Sant' Agata dei Goti, Italy in June 2014, at Palazzo Rainore Mustilli. We all read what we wanted until we were brought to a spectacular close by the wonderful Seán Hardie. Good times :)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


The Italo-Irish Literature Exchange made national Italian TV last night... including our spontaneous improvised group jam. We're about 18 mins in. Link here.


Aula magna del complesso di Santa Caterina in the University, Bologna
Our day 7 blogger is Noel Monahan

Monday 9th June - evening event & Tuesday 7th June, morning and home

Mia, Afric, Valerie and Noel at Via de Poeti, Bologna
Sounds of Words/I Suoni della Parola is the final event of the Italo- Irish Literature Exchange 2014. It is hot and the evening sun is relentless. Instinctively, we head for the water-hole outside the Aula Magna, Rita pours cool glasses of water for us and we are informed Bologna University is the oldest in the world. The hall inside reeks of final examinations going all the way back to the twelfth century.

Refreshments before the reading, Afric tucks in
The programme for this evening is presented differently. On every chair you find a paper-wallet full of information relating to the Irish and Italian writers and poets. I am taken by its presentation, the detail right down to green ribbon. By now we are familiar with the proceedings, the translations are ready to go, the running order is set, Tanya, the interpreter leans over and the sounds of words ring out in Italian, English, Irish and Roman dialect.

Writers Silvia Secco, Afric McGlinchey, Gino Scatasta, Alessandro Dall'Olio and William Wall
Questions and answers at the end of the readings lead to a lively exchange of ideas on education and the role of the poet. Back at 77, the Italian Writers’ watering-hole, we drink beer, wine, nibble on cheese, bread, prosciutto … They are a lively bunch and there is real integration. We should stay in contact with 77.
Liz Kirwan and Valerie Bistany
Not only do we talk about DISPLACEMENT, we live it. We get lost on the way back to the Ospitalita. Tuesday we return home. Last minute shopping and we head to the airport. Back in Dublin, I run off with someone’s ham, wine .. and think it’s the after-shave I bought for the boys. What was that theme again? DISPLACEMENT.

Our interpreter Tanya, with all of us and Grupo 77, the Italian wrtiers we read with, outside 77 Wine Bar
Since this is the final report on the trip I feel I should comment on the generosity of spirit of all. We hardly knew each other at the beginning. I certainly feel I was enriched by the experience. Our thanks to Valerie and The Irish Writers’ Centre for making it all happen. When will we meet up?

Monday, 9 June 2014


Our Day 6 blogger is Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Monday 9th June

The day started with us leaving lovely Lugo and three of our party taking the wrong train and ending up in a town called Wethorse - in Italian, 'Bagnocavallo'. Luckily, the side-tour to Bagnacavallo took all of 10 minutes and the trio (yes, I confess, I was one of them) were safely on the Bologna train before long.

Nuala and Valerie, trying to make pasta sensuously
We just had time to drop our bags at our final accommodation for the trip, the Collegio San Tommaso, before we were collected by Rita Mattioli, who walked us through beautiful Bologna (with a stop-off at a market for cheese, cherries and peaches) to her home.

The adorable Rita
There she made her family bolognese (minced pork and beef, sausage, wine, onions, celery, carrot, garlic, rock salt, pepper) and fed us organic red wine. Rita left the bolognese cooking in its clay pot, quoting Neapolitan poet Eduardo de Filippo: 'Now we have to leave the ragu alone, he has to think.' She then taught us how to make tortelloni and tagliatelle, and had us dancing to sultry music while we made our own pasta dough. Rita urged Afric to make her 'soul take fire' as she kneaded the dough. We laughed and danced and made passable pasta.

Rita makes magic with tagliatelle
Our tortelloni, which we stuffed with ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and parsley, looked a little sad but they tasted fine when we sat in Rita's beautiful dining room afterwards to eat lunch, sip organic prosecco and gorge on cherry cobbler and homemade ice-cream. Life is hard in bella Bologna :)

Our funny looking tortelloni
Hungry writers waiting for lunch
The day was book-ended with stray writers: we got lost in Bologna that night after our event, but I will leave it to Noel Monahan to recount that particular adventure.