Roisin Meaney with writers from the Le Cheile creative writing class, Tim O'Connor, Noirin De Barra, Gillian McNamara, Joanne Walsh, Maria Russell and Julianne Hennelly
LEADING Limerick writers Donal Ryan and Roisin Meaney have given their backing to a new anthology of creative writing.
Members of the Limerick Mental Health Association’s peer support project, Le Cheile have put together an anthology reflecting all sides of local life, from childhood experiences, everyday life, and memories of relatives sadly gone.
It was unveiled in the City Library on Thursday night, and copies of the 20 page collection of short stories are freely available to collect from the service’s headquarters at Sexton Street.
Launching the book, Ms Meaney said: “I loved the variety and honesty of them [the stories] and all the different voices. I found myself wondering, as I read where the writing had actually happened, if you were writing at home, or in class or at night after your family had gone to bed, and you had a bit of peace, or maybe in the classroom on a sunny afternoon as life went on outside the window.”
She praised the writers for their bravery in committing their thoughts to paper.
“I’m guessing you might have felt some embarrassment or even shame, because of the way mental illness is still stigmatised in some quarters by some people, despite the best efforts of so many others – but you took those steps, you overcame that fear, you made the journey that brought you here this evening, and here you are. And here is this, a testament to your dedication and determination.”
Mr Ryan wrote an introduction to the collection, where he stated: “It’s writing like this that always reminds me of the pure joy of reading, and the healing and unifying power of storytelling. Stories have immense power to create empathy, to remind us of our shared humanity, to signal to others that we’re walking the same road, that we know how it feels, that we struggle too.”
Claire Flynn, the manager of the Limerick Mental Health Association, said: “I'm always very humbled by the talents which come through the doors of Le Cheile, through our art group, through other endeavours like music, people find a way to express themselves.” To get hold of a copy of the free collection, telephone Le Cheile at 061-446786, while it can be read in the City Library.