Ormston House will host the Limerick launch of Son, a new publication by writer-in-residence William Keohane, on Sunday 30 April at 1pm during Riverfest. William will be joined by guest speakers Matt Kennedy from BelongTo in Dublin, and Raevynna El Messaoudi, Lauren McNamara, and El Reid-Buckley from Trans Limerick Community. You can register for free here.
In Son, Keohane brings us from his childhood into early adulthood and details a changing relationship with his name and his parents. Matt Kennedy describes how, in Son, “William Keohane mediates on transness, childhood, and naming. He gifts us prose that is imbued with honesty, beauty, and a deep commitment to grappling with the complexity of memory. Son establishes William as a writer with a discernable voice capable of returning to the source of trans experiences in a way that does them justice.”
An extract from Son by William Keohane:
Before dawn on the day of the solstice my dad and I stood in the dark wearing our rain jackets and hiking boots. I was cold. Grange Stone Circle looked like how I’d pictured it, large lichen-dotted boulders arranged in a field with a few wizened trees, and nearby some cows and a scatter of wandering crows. In the distance I could almost make out Lough Gur, the horseshoe shaped lake at the back of the circle. For thousands of years people had lived around Lough Gur. They drained it once. Archaeologists excavated the lakebed and found remnants from every age of humankind. My dad was explaining all this to me as we stood waiting together—how the lake and the circle were both important places—but I wasn’t fully listening. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep and I couldn’t stop rubbing my eyes. We were leaning against one of the stones and waiting for something to happen but it was taking ages. I just wanted to go back to bed. I kept looking at my watch to check the time.
At 5.15am a sudden beam of light splintered the sky. The sun was rising, cutting through the air, and in the light I could see tiny things I hadn’t seen before. Glistening blots of silver dew clung to each strand of grass across the field. Around us, there were levitating motes of dust, and with the sun, the moss on the tree branches and stones had turned luminescent green. Even my dad had changed. His grey-flecked hair was gleaming auburn in the light. He looked haloed.
Despite the tiredness, the cold, it was worth it just to be here and to see.
About the guest speakers
Raevynna El Messaoudi is a neurodivergent, biracial transwoman from South Africa. Professionally, she works in the areas of Digital and Business Transformation as well as Diversity & Inclusion. She is a senior ambassador for The Shona Project, a Board Member for Transgender Europe (TGEU), and a facilitator for Trans Limerick Community.
Matt Kennedy is an Irish Research Council Scholar, writer, boxer, and doctoral candidate in the area of trans studies in the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice at University College Dublin. He is currently the policy and research officer at BeLonG To, Ireland’s National LGBTQ+ youth organisation, and is completing his PhD on transnormativity.
Dr. Lauren McNamara is a poet, playwright, researcher, and librarian from Limerick, Ireland. Her work has been published widely and has appeared on television and radio. She is a former Dromineer and Nenagh Literary Festival writer-in-residence. In 2019, she spent three months studying in Columbia University in New York City on an Erasmus+ Scholarship where she gave a guest lecture on performance poetry workshops in schools. Lauren currently works in MIC in the field of International Education.
El Reid-Buckley is a sociologist, writer, and artist based in Limerick, Ireland. Their work is concerned with genders, sexualities, and identities more broadly. Their writing has been published by LSE Review of Books, RTÉ, Catflap Literary Journal, The Sociological Review, Almanac: A Journal of Trans Poetics, The Ogham Stone, and Ormston House.
The event is kindly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Limerick City & County Council.
InformationSon is published by Lifeboat Press and will be launched at Cúirt International Festival of Literature in April 2023.
Photo by William Keohane, courtesy of the artist.