Belfast Telegraph

Review: Revealing look into author's workings for One City One Book

BY Michael Conaghan

A summit between Belfast's poetry and prose laureates was in prospect at Finaghy Library.

It was part of the continuing celebration of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland sponsored One City One Book, which this year is David Park's luminous novel The Poets Wives.

In the event, a slight restructuring was required because of Sinead Morrissey running a little late, bringing out the teacher in David Parks: "You're in detention."

But beneath the self-deprecation and modesty David Parks is building a powerful case for the novel both through his communication skills and especially his readings.

The extract from the second part of the novel, featuring the wife of the poet Osip Mandelstam, echoing powerfully, even on a balmy early summer night in Belfast.

Morrissey asked him about the text being "self consciously feminist", which led to a general discussion about the cost of the literary life on others.

The odd fascinating detail of his writing life slipped out, namely the fact that he works to music, and that he also tidies the study where he writes prior to starting a new project, "but I'm not superstitious" he quipped.

Aided by Morrissey's subtle probing and a wide range of questions from the audience, we got a real sense of an author discovering new things about his work.

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