by Cecily Lynch © 2012
In the august surroundings of Triskel Christchurch, participants in the International Short Story Competition gathered to read their stories aloud to us, denizens of Cork. The audience varied from the teenage student to the portly professor in his eighties. The authors came from far-flung places such as Shri Lanka, New Zealand, Manitoba, Israel. They mounted to the stage, the lights dimmed, the mic was adjusted and it was take-off time into the unknown.
It was a magic carpet, bearing me to exotic places and emotionals depths. The authors read of strange lands, where whales basked, where special people rode the whales and so became leaders of their tribe. They read of love, loss and suffering, the basic motifs of humankind: fathers and sons, conflict and reconciliation, rebellion and freedom, and the approach of death.
The stage was like a United Nations conference: