Friday, November 9, 2012

Selina Guinness The Crocodile by the Door

As I made my way up the stairs of the deserted Guinness Store House I wondered what the night time view was going to be like from The Gravity Bar.

I had been invited to the launch of Selina Guinness’s debut book The Crocodile by the Door published by Penguin.

I’ll put it out there immediately I am a past pupil of Selina’s. Through out my four year degree she guided me through the mire of Irish Literature. But not only that; she was instrumental in securing Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill for our final year creative writing module, which was to set me on a path I have been walking ever since. With Selina’s gentle but persistent encouragement I later went on to do a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews. Hands down one of the best years of my life.

The city lights twinkled below us as they stretched out over the city. Tibradden House, of which the Memoir is about, was well hidden in the swathes of black night as the city petered out towards the mountains.
When Harry Clifton took to the podium to introduce Selina he spoke of the mystery and majesty of the creation of a sense of place. How a place like Tibradden and a book like The Crocodile by the Door are so defining, not only for the people directly involved but also because it stretches so far beyond that and into the outer reaches and corners of a community, a city, a country.
The room stocked full of a myriad of friends and family listened to Selina’s heart felt words of thanks of which were suffused with perhaps a small lingering seed of disbelief that it had all worked out. Thankfully for us readers it did.

I am only a third into the book but am already enthralled with not only the fluidity and elegance of the prose but also the unrestrained and beautiful honesty of experience that has governed the experience and the writing. Because in life, that is all we have.

Already the book has been short listed for the “Sunday Independent New Comer of the Year Award” in the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. Vote Here.
No doubt it is only the first of many well deserved successes for the woman, the book and the house.

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