The Shark Nursery by Mary O’Malley: Carcanet Book Launch

  • DATE

    19 June 2024

  • TIME

    7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome



Please join us to celebrate the launch of The Shark Nursery by Mary O’Malley. The reading will be hosted by poet Ciarán O’Rourke . 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.

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.

Register here

The poems of The Shark Nursery respond to a disturbed world. The experience of lockdown, of lives lived in an online reality, and of the animal world are the interlocking parts of the poems’ world. The animal poems draw on the tradition of animals in Irish poetry and myth. From the wolf’s touch to the rat’s tweet, animals and fish refuse the roles human beings impose on them. O’Malley’s animals find new language in the face of contemporary perils.

In fusing mythic with modern elements, The Shark Nursery is marked by rigorous attention to language and tone. Its poems weave between human, animal and metaphysical realms. In a space before noise begins, tigers visit cities and a white leopard sits on a lawn in Suburbia. In the strange, sealed off world portrayed in the ‘The Ballad of Googletown’ – an eerie, genuine ballad, where the familiar tropes and refrains of ballad are hung out to dry – lives are lived online and social interaction is unnecessary:

The cars are in the drive
And the bees are in the hive
They say the kids are safe inside
In Googletown

This new book promises, as Joseph O’Connor has written, all those things ‘we go to Mary O’Malley for: truthfulness, seriousness, playfulness, too, and then a particular sort of hesitating and hard-won wisdom, a pushback against nonsense or sentiment or fakery, the beauty of plain words placed in careful order, carefully – and always, the bliss of musicality.’

About the speakers:

Mary O’Malley was born in Connemara in Ireland and educated at University College Galway. She lived in Lisbon for eight years and taught at Universidade Nova. She served on the council of Poetry Ireland and was on the Committee of the Cúirt International Poetry Festival for eight years. She was the author of its educational programme. She taught on the MA programmes for Writing and Education in the Arts at NUI Galway for ten years, held the Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University in 2013, and has held Residencies in Paris, Tarragona, New York, NUI Galway, as well as in Derry, Belfast. She is deeply committed to education and the preservation of marine life and culture and is active in environmental education. She is a member of Aosdána and has won a number of awards for her poetry, including the 2016 Arts Council University of Limerick Writer’s Fellowship and the 2018 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award for Playing the Octopus (2016). She was the Trinity Writer Fellow at the Oscar Wilde Centre for 2019. She writes and broadcasts for RTÉ Radio regularly. She spends time in Paris and Spain and lives in the West of Ireland.

Ciarán O’Rourke was born in Dublin in 1991. His second collection, Phantom Gang, was longlisted for the 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize. His first collection, The Buried Breath, was highly commended by the Forward Foundation in 2019. Both are published by The Irish Pages Press.