Flash Fiction Saturday Night in the Musuem

Armagh County Museum

His gaze is a little unsettling. Stern and aloof, he stares unflinchingly with glittering hungry eyes. It’s a gaze that follows me and did back when I was a child visiting the Armagh County Museum. I wonder what he makes of the proceedings about to unfold. Every Armagh child who has visited the museum knows that stare; knows that stuffed fox. For Mr Fox has looked out from his place in the exhibits and mesmerized children for more than forty years (by my count.)

Photograph courtesy of The Armagh County Museum

Tonight though, Mr Fox has met his match in a staring competition because right in front of his furry snout is a portrait of Seamus Heany by Colin Davidson. Splendid in a wash of warm and vibrant colours the great poet looks sombre and somewhat formidable. With tables arranged in front like an altar, it feels like we are the congregation in a temple, with Flash Fiction Armagh offering up a sacrifice of literature. I search the canvas for a tweak of a lip, a hint of approval – but his expression is unyielding. It feels like he’s right here with us, but I am confident… we have a fabulous lineup and I know our readers won’t disappoint the great man, nor their enthusiastic audience.

We begin with a poem by Mark Brownlee simply called Armagh. Like a verbal tour of our city, it touches all our hearts and binds us Armachians together in a collect pride for our city.

On a similar note, Karen Mooney uses the analogy of nature to show us how much we have to gain by growing in harmony together with A More Sustainable Future.

All the way from Pittsburg USA, via Paris, Nina Francus captures our hearts and minds, as she reads her story To Wander, Lost.

In a piece that proves speculative/science fiction is a form of literature is accessible and can be widely enjoyed, Jay Faulkner reads Always and Forever.

Kerry Buchannan, from Yorkshire via Ballynahinch, enthrals us with fantasy in her beautifully written and delivered story, A Clockwork Heart.

Elaine Toal reminds us all what it is to be hurt and human in a story that has a message we might all benefit from heeding – Shattered. 

All the way from Paris, P.V Wolseley bring art to life with her masterful writing in her stories, L’Origine du Monde Speaks and La Grande Odalisque.

Réamonn Ó Ciaráin captivates the audience as he reads the story of Chúchulainn’s death in Bás Chúchulainn

All the way from lovely Leitrim, via Fermanagh, Trish Bennett brings a smile to our faces and a glow to our hearts in her humorous poem Kilty Relics

Hailing from Paris, Omaya Nasser has the audience spellbound as she reads End of the Line.

Seán Farry entertains us in Gaeilge and raises a laugh even in those of us whose Irish is limited as he recounts stories of his teaching experiences in his poems Cás na dteifeach – Tá dhá thaobh ar an bhád and Feidhmiú an Ranga.

Sue Divins cracks open our hearts and our tear ducts with Says Himself.

Another crossing of the Blackwater River brings us Kieran Mc Gurkwith his story Blobby, a cautionary tale about getting too big for your (pink and yellow spotted) boots.

From the moment he stood up, Malachi Kelly had his all grinning at his witty reminiscences in Mother, Son and Ghost.

Anne Mc Master rounded up the evening with a beautifully written and presented tongue in cheek piece on gardening – Gardener’s World.

Thank you to the staff of the Armagh County Museum for their welcome and patience. Nothing was too much bother for them and everyone was very impressed with and enjoyed their evening in the Museum. 

Thanks also to everyone who submits to Flash Fiction Armagh – you are what drives us and we wish you every writing success…and soon! It’s a tough old business.

To every Flash Fiction attendee: Readers – we can’t do this without you, Audience – there’d be no point without you.

Wishing everyone a multitude of blessing for 2019 and beyond.

Byddi Lee