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Author Rachael English

Broadcaster backs writing project in support of Clare Haven

AWARD-winning broadcaster and author, Rachael English, has appealed for “a ripple effect of kindness and creativity” in response to writing project that aims to support women and children affected by domestic violence.

The Shannon native is backing a crowdfunding initiative to support the North West Clare Writers’ Circle to publish a new collection of poetry and prose from writers around the county. After the target for covering publishing costs is reached, profits will go to Clare Haven.

“During the first wave of Covid-19, we were asked to stay at home,” said Rachael English. “Home is supposed to be a safe place, but for women and children living with domestic violence, home isn’t safe. Covid-19 has been difficult for us all, but for families living with the horrors of domestic abuse, it’s been harsher still. We know that the demand for refuge services for women and children increased dramatically during this year of Covid-19.”

A spokesperson for the Writer’s Group said, “We hope to donate a considerable profit from this campaign and all book sales of Walk With Me of at least €500 to Clare Haven Charity. As none of us were on the ‘frontline’ or considered essential workers, we decided to find a way, through our writing, to benefit a group in society, more adversely impacted upon by lockdown. We chose Clare Haven, an organisation that supports families affected by domestic violence, as a worthy and deserving cause.”

Commenting on the content of Walk With Me, Ms English said, “There’s some great stuff in there. A lot of us got the chance to sit down and reflect during lockdown, and this book is filled with some great stories, prose and poems from amateur writers and published writers who got the chance to write about the new normal we find ourselves in. As a writer myself, I can recommend it as a must-have addition to your bookshelf.”

The book can be pre-ordered or, a small donation can be made which enters the donor into a prize draw.

“None of the contributors are getting paid for their work,” Ms English noted, “and the project is entirely volunteer-led by The North West Clare Writers’ Circle. The profits from the project will be donated to Clare Haven Services. They support victims of domestic abuse and provide refuge supports and services for women and children affected by that other great pandemic, domestic violence.”

The North West Clare Writers’ Circle estimate that printing and editing costs for the book will run to €3,000. They said, that due to the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 restrictions, they will not be able to rely solely on selling the book in local book shops or at their book launch. Subject to the restrictions, it is hoped that the book will be launched at Ennistymon Courthouse Gallery. Support has been sourced from a number of business sponsors and the Writers’ Circle Facebook page will be updated with video readings of excerpts from the book.

The North West Clare Writers Circle is led by Breda Shanonn, a creative writing teacher from Corofin. She has taught all over Clare and has been involved in local writers’ groups. Their co-editor Cindy Griffin runs a bookshop in Doolin and has worked with the Doolin Writers’ Festival. Their secretary Maura Egan is from Doonbeg, their project manager Felicity Burke is from Kilnamona, their treasurer Mary Farren is from Kilrush, and public relations officer Josie O’Connor is from Ennistymon.


About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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