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20 September 2023
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
All ages welcome
Please join us to celebrate the launch of The Coming Thing by Martina Evans. Hosting the reading will be poet Julia Copus. The event will feature readings and discussion, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. We will show the text during readings so that you can read along.
The Coming Thing is a brilliant long narrative poem. It is not Evans’s first: she has become celebrated for work on this scale, spoken, dramatic, abundant. She has been justly acclaimed by, among others, Colm Tóibín. He says of her inimitable narrative style, ‘Slowly, a poem that seems animated by random thoughts and images takes on a strange, concentrated power; the lines begin to feel like pure style, the narrative voice holding and wielding the hidden energies that Martina Evans consolidates, and then releases with such energy and confidence and verve.’
Imelda, the book’s central character, is immersed in challenging new worlds where old customs still somehow survive. It is the 1980s and the poem takes shape among punks in Cork City. The ‘coming thing’ refers to the arrival of computers which were taking hold and beginning to effect their transformations of data and then of lives; but ultimately the title identifies the abortion which Imelda will have in a Brixton clinic.
Imelda, who Evans’s regular readers will recall from her earlier narrative Petrol (2012), narrates the story with a light touch, even when the book’s preoccupation with abortion, suicide and euthanasia provides a strong and compelling undertow. The Coming Thing looks hard at the duplicity surrounding received ideas about the sacredness of human life and how economic change runs counter to the values of ‘old’ Ireland.
Registration for this online event will cost £2, redeemable against the cost of the book. You will receive the discount code and instructions for how to purchase the book in your confirmation email as well as during and after the event.
About the speakers:
Martina Evans is an Irish poet and novelist and the author of twelve books of prose and poetry. American Mules (Carcanet, 2021) was a TLS and Sunday Independent (Ireland) Book of the Year. It won the 2022 Pigott Poetry Prize. She is a books critic for the Irish Times.
Julia Copus is a poet, biographer and children’s writer. She won an Eric Gregory Award for her first collection, The Shuttered Eye (Bloodaxe, 1995), which was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. She won First Prize in the National Poetry Competition (2002) and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (2010). Julia’s most recent collection, Girlhood, was published by Faber in 2019 and won the Derek Walcott Prize for best poetry collection by a non-US citizen. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
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