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Josie O’Connor

Location: Ireland


I love using words to pin point the wonder that is human existence. I write mainly non fiction prose and poetry and enjoy delving deep into my imagination to write fiction. I have been published in a few local publications and hope to have a book or two of my own published one day. I live in the West of Ireland with a couple of humans and cats.

Current project

I have a collection of short non fiction and fiction pieces that I have written over the past few years. This collection has been written from my home in the west of Ireland, it celebrates the everyday quirks of slow moving rural life dotted with rain and books. I regularly submit to competitions and open submission calls in the hope of securing publication of my collection. Authors I have been enjoying reading lately are Claire Louise Bennet, Olga Tzorczuk, Hilary Mantle and Rupert Thompson – to name but a few. I admire authors who can craft words together so uniquely to describe collective human experiences that you are left feeling – simply, not so alone in the world. I aim to achieve that effect in my writing.

Writing sample

Excerpt from an article written for ‘The Strange Times’ –
an independent zine published in County Clare during lockdown 2020.

Poaching an egg is a blissful activity – watching it’s translucent tail swimming like a koi fish, lit up by early morning light. When you think the egg is about ready, wait another twenty seconds. Yes, reclaim the twenty second rule – use it to measure the length of time your milk takes to settle in the coffee, the length of time you have to twiddle the sink hole to get the washing up debris swirling again, the length of time it’s legitimately allowed for you to gaze out the window into nothingness until you have to shake yourself away from the void.

I’m basking in suspended time, safe and nurtured. I’m following the slow and elusive train of thoughts that would have otherwise evaporated by the 9am rush to school. I’m reducing my dressing gown to rags with all its wear. I’m chatting to the neighbours, letting them know that I’m stranger than they thought. I’m dousing everything in cinnamon hoping to come up with a new recipe. It doesn’t always work.

Excerpt from a fictional prose piece called ‘Craobhán’
published in ‘Walk With Me, An Anthology of Writing from County Clare..’
by the North West Clare Writers’ Circle in 2020.
My role in the Writers’ Circle was to manage the online campaign that fund-raised for the books publication and dealt with pre-orders.

Whitestrand March 1850

On rare days the surface of the sea is still. Days like this are hushed, and the wind plays symphonies of whipping grass for anyone who might sit awhile to listen. There is a quietness in the stones themselves, secretively retaining the history and mysteries of the sea. It was on such a day that Séamie O’Connell wandered around the rock pools, watching the delicate fronds of seaweed swaying in the incoming tide. He pulled the occasional cone shaped limpet and tiny curling periwinkle from the wetting rocks. With his pocket knife, he cut some of the silky soft sea lettuce, which lost its luminous green shade as soon as it was out of water. He knew he was being watched but had long ago stopped caring about the whispers and judging glances from those who didn’t care to eat what the sea offered.
The last thing Séamie directed his attention to was a good rock. Everything he gathered was to be carried home in his cléibhín – it sat comfortable enough on him, the bag had moulded to his frame over the years – the frayed rope straps stretched wide across his broad shoulders and drooped into the hollow of his lower back. Séamie was much taller than his mother and he had taken over the task as he could carry much more than she could, and he was quicker too – his mother liked to dawdle and to admire the winking shells the tide washed in. He didn’t like her staying out too long, what with all the rogues and chancers about. She was still a beauty – not many women over forty were, around those parts. They often looked haggard and haunted by then, older beyond their years. Dead by fifty. He had heard the men talking about her, at the crossroad leaning close with their caps drawn down to natter like buzzards.
Dark sheets of sleabhac dried on the rocks and stretched like burnt skin across a carcass. The bladder wrack’s bubbles glistened like boils on slick sick-green strands, spread in irregular heaps by last night’s tide. The landscape of shifting mounds changed every day, diminishing as they rotted. Dotted white beads of urchin shells led his eye to a delicate looking rock, its long smooth surface extended to him like a graceful limb. The seemingly black surface evaporated to a light blue when lifted out of the incoming tide – a long summer twilight blue that invited the light to dwell for longer beneath its star-studded banner. It would make a good addition to the wall – it might even complete it.

See my book review of Doireann Ni Ghriofa’s 2021 book of poetry ‘To Star the Dark’
In the Bookshelf -> Book Reviews section of this website, writing.ie (top right hand corner!)

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