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Kinsale launch of debut novel by Innishannon man

Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013 3:30pm
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Kinsale launch of debut novel by Innishannon man

By Leo McMahon

THERE was an overflow attendance at Bookstor, Kinsale, for the official launch of the highly-acclaimed debut novel The Gamal by Ciarán Collins.

A story told through the voice of social outcast Charlie, mistakenly regarded by many as the village idiot, it has been enthusiastically endorsed by Edna O’Brien, Colum McCann and other literary greats.

A welcome was extended by Peter McIntyre, on behalf of publishers Bloomsbury, who said it was the biggest crowd he had seen for the launch of a first-time novel, but then it was an exceptional work and predicted people would talk about The Gamal for a long time to come.

Ceri Chaney on behalf of Bookstor said it was ‘the compelling story of the dark heart of a village in County Cork, of how daring to be different can be dangerous and isolating, of the pernicious, undercurrents within communities, of jealousy and judgement, assumptions and misunderstandings and the difference between friendships and alliances,

‘It’s a great story, and like all good stories, it manages to be intensely personal and absolutely universal. It forces the reader to look some unpalatable truths in the eye. Such reading experiences can be intense, funny, inspiring and sometimes almost unbearably uncomfortable. It is heartbreaking and very funny,’ Ceri added.


Ciarán Collins said he was overwhelmed by the fantastic support and positive response he had received and thanked Peter, Ceri, Stuart, Shane and Cian Gallagher of Bookstor; Helen Garnons-Williams and all the team at Bloomsbury in London who were amazing to work with; his agent Jamie Coleman of Toby-Eady in Dublin who believed in the book from day one; his friends and colleagues from Hamilton High School, Bandon; and especially his wife Sandra, from Co Mayo, and daughter Róisín; his parents and siblings.

Aged 35, Innishannon-born Ciaran Collins resides in Kinsale and teaches English and Irish and coaches hurling at Hamilton High School, Bandon.

The author signed copies and read three extracts from The Gamal. Guests included his parents Seán and Mary Collins, Innishannon; his sisters Mairéad, Treasa and Una; brothers Prioinsias, Eamonn, Pádraig, Sean-Michael and his wife Valerie; his aunt Sr Bernadette Collins; Noreen Corcoran, principal of Hamilton HS, Damian Mitchell and fellow teachers; Alice Taylor, Lena Angland, John Newman, Michael Beasley, Dermot O’Brien, Ann O’Donoghue, Olivia Lavelle, Anne Marie Keane and Sarah Cooney.