Yesterday afternoon the final Dublin Book Festival function I attended was Patricia Craig's launch of her book Twisted Root.
Leading literary critic and anthologist Patricia Craig's Twisted Root: Ancestral Entanglements in Ireland traces the remarkable story of her ancestors, weaving the threads of their individual stories into the sweeping panorama of Irish history.(Festival programme notes.) In her introduction to Patricia Craig Blackstaff editor Patsy Horton explained how memoirs such as Craig's were the strength of the publishing house's list.
Reviewed earlier this month on this blog http://dublinduchess.blogspot.ie/2012/11/book-review-twisted-root-by-patricia.html, Patricia Craig came to the lectern and read of governesses and families walking to church together, to Fenians in Mountjoy. She covered aspects of the early twentieth century; the First World War and early troubles in Ireland with "high minded 'Up The Rebels' territory". Then we're in Lurgan and Lily is in the Cumann na mBhan - "nurse and gun-runner" with a fear of plain-clothed police on the station as she makes the train journey down to Dublin where she sees "beggarly children with their Dublin whines".
Patricia Craig explained how her book had an anti-sectarian theme running through it because, she pointed out, all the people of Ireland, particularly in the North, were intermingled.
Commented on by Michelle O'Riordan, Assistant Professor, School of Celtic Studies in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, she said how Patricia Craig had managed to project real life onto history. She gave a concise summary of the book in her superb tight prose. She revealed with a twinkle in her eye how she had had her favourite characters and commended Craig on how she had owned and accepted her ancestors.
Published by Blackstaff Press www.blackstaffpress.com