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Looking At The Stars, Edited by Kerrie O’Brien

Writing.ie | Magazine | Anthology

In May 2016 I started talking to a homeless girl who was sitting on Grafton Street reading a book. I asked her if she had somewhere to sleep that night and she told be that she sleeps in a tent which she hides in various places around Dublin as the hostels are too dangerous. At the end of the conversation it turned out that her name was also Kerrie and for me that was kind of the final straw.

For a long time I had been watching the growing numbers of people begging and sleeping rough in Dublin and growing more disillusioned with my government and city. I decided to put a call out on social media to see if anyone wanted to do a fundraising event or perhaps a book to raise money for the current homeless crisis in Dublin. The response was phenomenal and six months later the book is finally here. Looking At The Stars is a limited edition anthology of Irish writing  edited by myself and Alice Kinsella. It aims to raise €15,000 for the Rough Sleeper Team of Dublin Simon Community. 1000 copies have been printed and the full €15 from each book will go directly to the Dublin Simon Community.

This book is a testament to the incredible supportive literary community that exists in Ireland. We didn’t have to ask anyone for funding – they came to us and offered financial support. Looking At The Stars has been fully funded by The Munster Literature Centre, The Irish Writers’ Centre, Poetry Ireland, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature along with writers Mary O’Donnell and Nessa O’Mahony. Without hesitation Louisa Earls from Books Upstairs, Maria Dickenson from Dubray Books and Bob Johnson from The Gutter Bookshop all offered to sell the anthology without a profit making it possible for 100% of the money to go to the Dublin Simon Community. Grainne Clear from Little Island immediately offered to do the typesetting for free and the authors generously offered their work.
kerrie-o-brienI had no idea that we would receive such and incredible outpouring of support for this project and I would like to point out that it is our underfunded Irish literary organisations, independent bookshops and writers that allowed this idea to become a reality instead of our government. The Irish government are not only ignoring the current homeless crisis but they are ignoring the value and crucial importance of the literary organisations which not only encourage and support living Irish writers but ensure that there will be a next generation of Irish writers. I say this at a time when €10 million is being put towards a Ulysses Centre on Stephen’s Green to simply promote tourism off the backs of dead Irish writers when what we should be doing is supporting our living writers.
Looking At The Stars is a mixture of prose, poetry and non-fiction exploring the realities of homelessness. Many contributors offered new exclusive pieces of work such as Colin Barrett, Donal Ryan, Belinda McKeon, Sarah Bannan, Claire Hennessy, Sam Blake and Nuala O’ Connor. Some have included extracts for forthcoming work among them Benjamin Black, Dave Rudden, Sebastian Barry and Joseph O’Connor. We have also included writing from those currently in the services of the Dublin Simon Community along with those who have worked with the homeless including Senator Lynn Ruane and Martina Bergin, the head of the Rough Sleeper Team for Dublin Simon.
Looking At The Stars is almost sold out but is stocked in Dubray Books , Books Upstairs and the Gutter Bookshop (where you can order online and on the phone), and also online via The Stinging Fly -make a difference to those currently homeless in Dublin and pick up your copy.
(c) Kerrie O’Brien
About Looking At The Stars

Looking At The Stars is a limited edition anthology of Irish writing edited by Kerrie O’ Brien and Alice Kinsella to raise money for the Rough Sleepers Team of the Dublin Simon Community.

It features a mixture of poetry, prose and non-fiction from a host of incredible Irish writers but, most importantly, it will also feature writing from those currently in the services of the Dublin Simon Community.

1000 copies of the anthology will be printed. They will cost €15 each and as the full €15 will go directly to the Dublin Simon Community our goal is to raise €15,000.

This project has been funded entirely by The Munster Literature Centre, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Poetry Ireland and The Irish Writers’ Centre.

FEATURING: Sarah Bannan, Colin Barrett, Kevin Barry, Sebastian Barry, Martina Bergin, Benjamin Black, Sam Blake, Dermot Bolger, Daragh Bradish, Arthur Broomfield, Angela Carr, Ingrid Casey, Jane Casey, Paul Casey, Sarah Clancy, Patrick Cotter, Madeleine D’Arcy, Gerald Dawe, Theo Dorgan, Paul Durcan, Anne Enright, Elaine Feeney, Tara Flynn, Anthony Glavin, Sinéad Gleeson, Vona Groarke, Elayne Harrington, Claire Hennessy, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Sean Hughes, John Kelly, Victoria Kennefick, Andre K’Por, Nick Laird, Christopher McCaffrey, Jaki McCarrick, Thomas McCarthy, Afric McGlinchey, Eamon McGuinness, Belinda McKeon, Danielle McLaughlin, Jennifer Matthews, Paul Muldoon, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Jean O’ Brien, Joseph O’ Connor, Nuala O’ Connor, Mary O’ Donnell, Nessa O’ Mahony, Mary O’ Malley, Rick O’ Shea, Paul Perry, Nell Regan, Sally Rooney, Lynn Ruane, Dave Rudden, Donal Ryan, Stephen James Smith and Gerard Smyth.

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