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Child Ballad by David Wheatley: Carcanet Online Book Launch

Wednesday 13 Dec 2023, 07:00 to 20:00



Please join us to celebrate the launch of Child Ballad by David Wheatley, a Poetry Book Society Winter Recommendation 2023. Hosting the reading will be Patrick McGuinness. 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 and let us know you can make it by joining and sharing the Facebook listing

In Child Ballad, David Wheatley's sixth collection, he explores a world transformed by the experience of parenthood. Conducting his children through landscapes of Northern Scotland, he follows pathways laid down by departed Irish missionaries and by wolves. He maps a rich territory of rivers, trees and mountains. Also present are histories, some evidenced, some no longer visible and yet to be inferred.

Stylistically, Child Ballad is multifaceted, drawing on influences from the Scottish ballad tradition and the Gaelic bards, on French symbolism and on the American Objectivists. Wheatley is an Irish poet living and teaching in Scotland: as a cultural corridor, his Scotland is a space of migrations and palimpsests, different traditions held in dynamic balance and fusion. Writing across geographical and historical distances as he does, Wheatley develops an aesthetic of complex intimacy, alert to questions of memory and loss, communicating the ache of the here and now. He sees through the eyes of young children and the world looks very different in its gifts and threats.

Wheatley provides intimate descriptions of parenthood as well as of a Northern Scottish natural world. He deploys an ambitious range of poetic styles and forms. His poems put deep roots down into history and geology, and with translation into other languages. Themes of migration and politics are never far away. Child Ballad sings of midlife, of resettlement and marriage as well as of parenthood.

 About the speakers: 

David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970. He is the author of five previous collections of poetry, including The President of Planet Earth (Carcanet, 2017) and various other books including a novel, Stretto (CB Editions, 2022); he has also coedited with Ailbhe Darcy The Cambridge History of Irish Women's Poetry (Cambridge UP, 2021). He lives in rural Aberdeenshire with his family.

Patrick McGuinness is a British-Belgian writer and academic. The author two novels, a memoir and two books of poems, he teaches French and Comparative Literature at Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St Anne's College. His first novel, The Last Hundred Days (2011), is a semi-autobiographical account of the last days of the Ceasescu regime in Romania. It was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, The Desmond Elliot Prize, the Authors' Club First Novel Award and won the Wales Book of the Year and the Writers' Guild Prize for Fiction. His memoir, Other People's Coutries: A journey into Memory (2014), is an account of his childhood in the post-industrial factory town of Bouillon, in Belgium. It was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize and The Gordon Burn Prize, and won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Wales Book of the Year Award. He has written two books of poems, The Canals of Mars (2004) and Jilted City (2010), both from Carcanet Press.

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