PROJECTS

Echo StudiosThe Nota Bene PrizeThe James Cropper Wainwright PrizeSports Book AwardsAn Post Irish Book AwardsSheik Zayed Book AwardsAlula Arts; nb. MagazineStorymixReboot, Rebuild, Reconquer by Nicola Walter and Christina Ioannidis; The Great British Gold Rush by Tim Francis; Greenpeace Social Media Campaign; RSPB Campaign; Noiser Podcasts (Time top 10 best podcasts of 2022); The Lover's Journal; Inter:Mission Magazine.

ABOUT

I am a freelance writer, editor, creative strategist and marketer, specialising in the arts and culture sector. I am always interested in new projects; if you wish to get in touch, email me at ruby_conway@btinternet.com

ART & DESIGN

ECHOES: IMPERMANENT YET ENDLESS. —

We find multiple definitions for ‘echo’ in the English dictionary:
• None (Of a sound) To be repeated or reverberate after the original sound has stopped.
• None (Of an object or event) To be reminiscent of or have shared characteristics with.
• None A close parallel to an idea, feeling, or event
• None To fill a place with repeating sounds, or to be filled with these sounds

What stands out from all of these definitions is the idea of continuation, links, and parallels. An echo ties one thing t

SPACES THAT NURTURE CREATIVITY. — Echo Studios

Our carefully curated and designed studio space has a rich story and character of its own. Set on the top floor of a 16th-century building steeped in history, nestled in the beating heart of Lisbon, we lovingly restored this faded, derelict space into a vibrant community hub, combining the building’s antiquated, grand interior features and architectural assets with a flare of radical artistic life, pops of colour and innovative, upcycled interiors. What was born was Echo Studies: a space where t

LITERATURE

Load More

INTERVIEWS

Load More

CULTURE PRIZES

Winners of the An Post 2023 Announced

We are thrilled to announce this year’s winners of the An Post Irish Book Awards 2023! From the Convention Centre, Dublin - Unesco City of Literature - illustrious writing icons, talented newcomers, and remarkable authors take to the stage to claim their prizes. Our podium of 2023 winners marks the pinnacle of what has been a sensational year for Irish literature and is a celebration of the vibrant literary community that makes Ireland a haven for wordsmiths.

With categories spanning fiction, n

The Darker Side of Human Nature: Our True-Crime Picks

Across this year’s shortlists, there are countless compelling crime narratives, from our Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year category, showcasing iconic authors such as John Banville and Liz Nugent, to varied works of writing similarly centring on dark acts - take Sebastian Barry’s Old God’s Time, Sam Blake’s Something Terrible Happened Last Night, and Anna Heussaff’s Sa Pholl Báite, for example. And then there are those books that are inspired by or solely focus on true crime: Aoif

Gender, Sport & FAI Setback

The Federal Association of Ireland motioned on proposed board changes addressing gender imbalance last week in a vote by the association’s General Assembly that fell short by almost 10%. The restructuring suggested an increase of the board to 14 members, with a 7/7 split between independent and elected directors, and an additional 2 female candidates to be added to the board, including the creation of a new Vice President role to be filled by a female contender.

The FAI released the following s

A Journey Around Ireland in 8 Shortlisted Books

From North to South and coast to coast, this year’s shortlists paint a sweeping and variable portrait of Ireland’s cities and landscapes. From the beauty of rugged mountains to foreboding seaside towns, and city estates, take a tour around Ireland through eight of this year’s shortlisted books.

In this snapshot of 1980s Dublin, from the tenements where Juno and Legs grew up to the seedy squats and dingy bars they find themselves in as young adults, the duo navigate poverty, homelessness, and al

8 Unforgettable Protagonists from this year's Shortlists

From princes to haunted teenagers and one hugely courageous priest, this year’s shortlists boast some truly remarkable, unique and memorable protagonists. From across our diverse and various categories, explore 8 unforgettable protagonists that will likely capture your heart or open your mind.

The eccentric, idiosyncratic and strange Sally Diamond is a uniquely compelling character with a dark and troubled history. Vulnerable, reclusive and navigating the repercussions of her trauma, Sally is t

5 Unflinching Mental Health Narratives from this Year's Shortlists

The 2023 An Post Irish Book Awards shortlists boast a variety of powerful books tackling mental health, both from a personal and systemic perspective. From the calm found in the watery depths to incarceration, a volatile childhood, and more, explore five of this year’s works with unblinking mental health narratives.

Living with her parents, attempting gruelling online dating, and worn thin by work, Claire Walsh found herself in need of radical change. She spontaneously booked a flight to Centra

Shortlists Unveiled for the An Post 2023 & Public Vote Opens

Authors on the shortlist include Paul Murray, Liz Nugent, Colin Walsh, Eithne Shortall, Paul Lynch, Katriona O’Sullivan, Liam Brady, Aoife Moore, P.J. Gallagher, Roz Purcell, Alan Titley, Eimear Ryan, Nathan Anthony, Catherine Ryan Howard, Eoin Colfer, Georgie Crawford, Matt Cooper, Judi Curtin and many, many more!

We are thrilled to announce this year’s shortlists for the An Post Irish Book Awards 2023! This year’s shortlisted books feature a diverse and compelling mix of exceptional writing f

A Literary Tour of Dublin

As a UNESCO City of Literature, the literary potential of a day spent in Dublin is unparalleled. With so many greats heralding from this city and so many books set amongst its streets, from Beckett, to Rooney, to Joyce, who wouldn’t swoon over an iconic monument, memorable scene or remembered location? Or if you just want to learn about the literary heritage that lines the streets of Dublins, there are countless museums and cultural centres rich with knowledge. What’s more, if you’re looking for

Relationships & Romance: 7 Irish Novels to Read

From compelling romances, to all-consuming infatuation and heartbreak, there are no shortage of Irish novels exploring the multi-faceted nature of relationships. With power dynamics, communication, gender, and class differences explored in-depth across this selection of brilliant works, this is the ultimate romance and relationships ready list of books written by An Post Irish Book Awards alumni.

One of the world’s most well-known contemporary authors, Sally Rooney’s nuanced observations of mod

Join Us to Celebrate Irish Book Week

Taking place from the 14th to the 21st of October, Irish Book Week celebrates the extraordinary contribution that bookshops make to Irish culture, communities, and the economy. Ireland is internationally recognised as a country of books, and our bookshops play a crucial role in championing homegrown talent and putting great Irish books into the hands of readers. These cultural epicentres are places to discover new fictional worlds, a favourite childhood read, life-changing non-fiction, comfortin

New Voices: The An Post Writing Prize

Last year saw Sally Hayden’s essential and urgent My Fourth Time We Drowned take the ultimate Prize of An Post Book of the Year. In what has been described as ‘The most important work of contemporary reporting I have ever read’ by Sally Rooney, and ‘Journalism of the most urgent kind’- by the Financial Times, Hayden charts the stories of those trying to cross from North Africa to Europe. Surveying the negligence of NGOs and corruption within the United Nations, as well as the human story behind

The Shadows of our Past

The violent histories, oppression of our people, dark underbellies of small-town communities, and religious abuse are all topics that dapple Irish literature. Rooting through the An Post Irish Book Awards archives, we bring you nine brilliant works of fiction and non-fiction that tackle the loss, pain, and shadows of our history with beauty and profundity.

1. We Don't Know Ourselves, Fintan O’Toole

A tale of Ireland’s evolution and a rich portrait of personal change, Fintan O’Toole weaves a va

13 Organisations Ensuring Nature is Accessible for All

The British countryside has long been associated with the more privileged and affluent, with a sense of belonging in the natural world having long been taken for granted by certain groups of individuals. People of colour particularly face unjust barriers to accessing nature and land in the UK, with proximity to green space greatly affected by socio-economic factors, and engrained cultural perceptions determining who embarks on outdoor activities.

Research published in 2019 by Campaign to Protec

The Leaders of the Nature Writing Industry: Introducing the 2023 James Cropper Judges

This year’s judging panels encompass some of the most respected, knowledgeable, cutting-edge thinkers working in the nature and conservation industry today. From TV presenters to writers, activists, scientists, booksellers, opinion leaders, artists, CEOs and charity workers, this year’s judging panel showcases the leaders of the nature and conservation writing world.

We spoke to our 3 panels of judges – Nature, Conservation, and Children’s Writing – about what the Wainwright Prize means to them

Review: I’m A Fan by Sheena Patel —

With a disproportionate amount of books tackling fandom and social media culture (considering how much it infiltrates our every day and internal lives), Sheena Patel’s I’m A Fan bravely and forthrightly tackles this liminal realm. Our interactions online lie somewhere between reality and fantasy, the darker aspects of our online behaviour are largely taboo and often shameful, coming from somewhere deep in our subconscious. It’s a sticky subject - obsession and internet stalking are not romantic;

Understanding Ourselves and Our World: Why Nature Writing Matters

Nature writing is in its golden age, but as most of us know, the planet is sinking into an era of darkness. This flourishing of a genre is surely, and hopefully, a testament to the increased value people are placing on our environment, and a sign of the focus being ploughed into conserving it. So many writers are providing vital solutions to protecting our planet, and helping the individual to value and conserve local environments.

“​​I’m in awe at the skill and passion that writers are demonst

Review: Trespasses by Louise Kennedy —

Shortlisted for the 2023 Nota Bene Prize, Trespasses is a blistering account of encroaching violence and fractured loyalties in 1970's Belfast. Tender and devastating, this is an incredible debut novel from Louise Kennedy.

One by one, she undid each event, each decision, each choice. If Davy had remembered to put on a coat. If Seamie McGeown had not found himself alone on a dark street. If Michael Agnew had not walked through the door of the pub on a quiet night in February in his white shirt.

7 empowering books to make you feel like 100% that b***h — Nota Bene Prize

Novels about self-empowerment often start from a place of disempowerment, challenge, or a sense of feeling lost. With struggle and hardship comes powerful and positive change that will shake up your life, outlook and relationships, enabling you to be your best self! We've sung Lizzo in the shower, so maybe it's time to heed her advice and be 100% that b***h in your everyday life. For all the readers out there in need of some fiction of self-realisation to take control of their life, here’s our l

Down the Rabbit Hole: 10 Years of Nature Writing

As stacks of nature writing books titter high in bookshops, and submissions for our prize proliferate into unheard-of numbers, it is clear that we have found ourselves in a glorious golden age of nature writing. Entering the tenth year of the James Cropper Wainwright Prize, which has flourished in popularity and support over the last decade in ways we couldn’t have imagined, we turn our eyes to the glow of nature books past – the stand-out books, the titans of the genre, the newcomers, and those

10 Books With Powerful Mental Health Narratives — Nota Bene Prize

Whether it’s to get you through the hardest of times, or to help you understand the people going through those times, these are the books tackling mental health in profound ways.

This is our tribute to all the brave, brilliant and courageous authors that are changing the narratives and stigmas around mental health disorders. Their books allow us to step into another’s mind and understand experiences that may reflect what we’ve been through, or be completely alien to us, acting as an empathetic

Alfred Wainwright’s Timeless Fells Guides

Our prize’s history begins with the remarkable figure of Alfred Wainwright: fell walker, mapper, writer and illustrator. In the heart of the Lake District, a region renowned for its rugged beauty, unparalleled walking, and ties to nature writing, lies the spirit of Wainwright. It was here that Wainwright crafted his popular guidebooks, The Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, in the 1950s and early 1960s, for which he has become so well-known and admired amongst generations of naturalists, wr

Home, Place & Belonging: 10 Nature Books Written by Women

‘Most works of mountain literature are written by men, and most of them focus on the goal of the summit. Nan Shepherd’s aimless, sensual exploration of the Cairngorms is bracingly different’, writes Robert Macfarlane of Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, the book that kickstarts our list of 10 influential nature books written by women, and a work that has had a profound impact on women’s place in the genre.

Women’s stories and their place in the natural world have, for many centuries, gone unn

Plastic Free July: The Ultimate Reading List

Plastic Free July is a change-making, global movement, inspiring us all to take action to clean up our vulnerable planet and reduce our plastic use. While it may seem like an overwhelming issue, individual action leads to collective change, with over 100 million participants in 190 countries taking part, creating a worldwide community driven to refuse single-use plastic.

Devastating images of turtles entangled in plastic, the soft bellies of fish and seabirds filled to the brim with plastic, an

What’s Hot Right Now: 7 pop culture picks —

Rising star Olivia Dean’s debut album blends R&B, pop, and soul, captivating listeners with her emotive and honest lyrics. It’s our soundtrack to the summer and we just can’t get enough. Go and listen now!

Inspired by the cycles of nature and a sense of flow, Jasmine Hortop is an award-winning illustrator, creating art from her studio on her wheels as she makes her way across Europe. The current cover designer for our editorial partner, nb. Magazine, Jasmine’s unique illustrations feel alive an
Load More

LONG-FORM NEWSLETTERS

My extension of the marketing campaign for nb. Magazine included the launching of 3 monthly newsletters, one of which is called 'Taking Note', an editorial thought-piece on an issue covered in the current issue of nb. Magazine.

Taking Note #8: Who Are We Online? — Magazine

Madeleine: One thing I picked up on throughout the whole book was that there were a lot of paradoxes and contradictions that kept coming up when you talk about the influencer industry. There’s the brand vs the person; the fact that you have to work very hard, but also make it appear effortless; and the comparison to pop music, which I loved, that people tend to love to hate influencers. Do you think all these contradictions are specific to your industry? And do you think these contradictions are

Taking Note #7: Greek Mythology & Pschology — Magazine

Madeleine: In the novels particularly, your characterisation and the relationships you build are so human-centric and incredibly moving, which I think makes it so easy for modern readers to become totally engrossed into the story, even if they don’t have much (or any!) knowledge of the ancient texts.

Natalie: I think you’re right, and I don’t think they require, or at least they shouldn’t require, any prior knowledge. And I think sometimes people feel that they’re sort of not equal to learning

Taking Note #6: Women in Translation Month — Magazine

Translation enables us to cast our literary nets far, far further than we could alone hope to, giving us access to voices, ideas and cultures that we cannot always hear in our everyday lives. By diversifying what we are exposed to, translated fiction reveals to us different kinds of stories and unique, distinctive ways of telling them.

But works are being unequally translated, with less than 31% of translations into English written by women, and only 36% of books translated into English from no

Taking Note #5 - Why does the Romcom get so much shade? — Magazine

Mindy Kaling, creator of The Mindy Project, said of the romcom, ‘the genre has been so degraded in the past 20 years that saying you like romantic comedies is essentially an admission of mild stupidity.’ And this is coming from a fan and creator of the genre. Romcoms have a stereotype of being entertainment ‘for women’, characterised by being ‘frivolous’, ‘low-brow’ and ‘light’ – but why? Shakespeare transfused romance and comedy, but would we ever consider one of his works a romcom? Probably no

Taking Note #4: what do we expect from celebrity authors? — Magazine

We often feel like we know an author, perhaps more intimately than other forms of celebrity and icons. We read words, thoughts and emotions, and it feels intensely personal, as if a book is somehow speaking directly to us. In our minds, the line between what is fictional and what is personal becomes quickly blurred, and we start to feel powerfully connected to an author. Where in other forms of celebrity cultural identity is image-saturated, for authors, their public persona comes first to us in

Taking Note #3: Endings — Magazine

Danielle Evans on Endings and The Subterranean

In case you missed it, Danielle Evans gave us a seismic answer on our question about the endings of short stories - the sort of answer only an accomplished writer could give, providing the technical details behind emotional resolutions versus plot conclusions.

I also wondered if I could ask about endings. Our theme for this issue is resolution and one of the ways we're going to look at it is via endings and literary endings and how authors end the

Taking Note #2: Female Stories and Histories — Magazine

On the Cusp of Womanhood: Teenage Girls in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

“The wrong kind of pretty, the kind that’s soft but not fragile, the kind that inspires the impulse to touch.”

Our April Book of the Month is Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self - a prize-winning, original collection centring on female adolescence, inequality, and internal struggle, from the electrifying genius of Danielle Evans. A wry, incisive, and deftly crafted collection of stories rooted in contemporar

Taking Note #1: Musings on Fish — Magazine

Welcome to our new monthly newsletter, Taking Note, where we slow down and think critically about the conversations and editorial pieces from our most recent issue of nb. Magazine. In our Winter Issue, Generational Literature, we noted that poignant environmentally-centred answers cropped up in interviews where we perhaps didn’t expect them to… In light of this, and our interview with Joanne Stubbs, author of the fiercely environmental debut The Fish, editorial assistant Ruby is taking note of e

TRANSCRIPTIONS

A small selection of the interviews i've transcribed and edited from audio.

Mystery and Complicity: A Conversation with Colin Walsh — Magazine

For people who might not have read the book yet, would you be able to give a general overview of what it’s about, and also maybe a bit more about how it came about from your perspective as a writer?

Kala tells the story of a group of friends who we follow as teenagers and as adults. As teenagers, we’re following them over the course of the summer of their lives – it’s this heightened period full of these thresholds they’re passing through: their first love, their first kiss, their first time ge

Medicine and the Female Body: A Conversation with Heather Parry — Magazine

I’ve written questions about your wonderful book, Orpheus Builds a Girl, but I found it quite difficult to write them because there’s just so much I want to say and ask you! But I think to start, I’d love to know more about the experience of embarking on this project. The book takes inspiration from a true case, so could you tell us more about how you went from seeing a story that piqued your interest to building the story into a fictional book?

That is a great question. I would say I’ve always

A Conversation with Yara Rodrigues Fowler — nb. Magazine

Could you let us know a little bit about what led you to this point in your writing career, and how did the process of writing there are more things begin?

My first book, Stubborn Archivist – a shorter book about three generations of women, starting in Brazil and ending up in London – focuses on characters who are all within the same family. So, for my second book, I was interested in what I could do with a much chunkier narrative, and how I could keep the reader in my novel for a longer amount

A Conversation with Michael Pederson — nb.

First, could you tell me about the process of turning what started as quite a personal diary into what became a book? And as a poet, why and how did it manifest as prose rather than poetry?

So, I started writing the book in a place called Curfew Tower in Northern Ireland; it is an artist residency set up by Bill Drummond. People normally know him as the founder of the KLF, the big pop band, and a lot of people know him as the guy who burned a million quid on the island of Jura – you get publici

A Conversation with Damian Barr — nb.

First of all, for all our readers who maybe don’t know about your work, would you be able to tell us a little bit about what you do and what brought you to where you are today?

Well, my life is books. It's writing my own books - I've written a memoir called Maggie and Me and a novel called You’ll Be Safe Here and lots of essays and pieces for different collections. My background is as a journalist; I joined the Times when I left University and continue to write for broadsheets. The other part o

FILM

As editor of Inter:Mission Magazine's film section, I edited the work of others as well as writing my own pieces of film journalism.

A Search for the Bewitching: Films that Haunt this Halloween —

A mix of the new and newish – short reviews of the horrors and thrillers I’ve been watching at the eeriest time of the year.

Innovatively, director Rose Glass reimagines and plays off the horror genre in her impressive and highly aesthetic debut. The slow-pace was seductive, shocking at unexpected moments.

Maud, A devout Christian and carer, endeavours to save her cancer patient’s soul from eternal damnation. Possessed not by evil spirits (as conventional of horror), but by the spirit of God;

Klaus: Class, Capitalism and Christmas Constructions —

Amongst the recent flux of Christmas films, the general theme seems to be the trashier the better. But amid the appalling Christmas romcoms and musicals is the 2019 Netflix gem Klaus. A feature-film debut for Sergio Pablos (who created the original story for Despicable Me), Klaus earnt an Oscar nomination for best animated feature film at the beginning of this year. If you’re tired of watching the decade-old plus classics, this is one not to miss.

Silver spoon-fed Jesper, son of Royal Postmaste

The Pursuit of Love: A Love Letter to Female Friendship —

Melodramatic protagonist Linda (Lily James) is in love with love itself. She falls hard and fast, soaring on love’s wings in heady ecstasy only to plunge back to earth in a melancholy equally as intense. Linda lives by highs and lows, each new love felt as madly and as fervently as the last. Fully swept up in each new romance, she lives wildly through an array of partners. First up is sickeningly posh Tony Kroesig (a clear mismatch), followed by communist and Spanish Civil War fighter Christian

Rare Beasts is a Defiant Anti-Romance —

Rare Beasts opens with Mandy (Billie Piper) on a first date with Pete (Leo Bill). Pete is obviously detestable; he openly despises women yet claims he can’t live without them. Mandy comments with crude, dark humour that he sounds like a rapist and admittedly, his anti-feminism is quite shocking and terrifying. Surprisingly though, the two enter into a masochistic relationship. One is left wondering, what is it that Mandy is seeking from this paternalistic figure? In one particularly revealing sc

ACADEMIC

A selection of my academic work, which won me a first class degree from the University of Bristol and the Roy Littlewood Prize for best final year dissertation.

Celebrity Cultures: Why are We Obsessed with the Narratives of Killers? Part 2 - Serial Killers

Contemporary western culture is hypnotised by the serial killer, and this crime-dazed, macabre culture bares a rich history. Foucault notes that, ‘throughout the whole second half of the [nineteenth] century, there developed a "literature of criminality", […] including miscellaneous news items […] detective novels and all the romanticised writings which developed around crime" .

The Spanish Civil War and War Documentation

With the corresponding modernisation of both warfare and filmic techniques, the violence of the Spanish Civil War was propelled to a hitherto unheard of, all-encompassing level; it impinged upon the civilian private sphere and opened the Spanish borders to the mediated outside world. Susan Sontag writes that ‘the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was the first war to be witnessed (‘covered’) in the modern sense’ ; it was the beginning of a newly constructed mode of photographically driven, mass war documentation.

The Otherness of the Child in Peter and Wendy and Where the Wild Things Are

While Clement Ball argues that Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are represents ‘a radical break in the history of literature for children’ , it also holds much in common with J.M Barrie’s earlier text, Peter and Wendy . Different models of the child are embodied in the two, arguably the unconscious child and the innocent child respectively, representing their corresponding epoch’s construction of the child. Yet the otherness of the child - its fundamental difference and subservience to the adult - remains apparent in both works.

The Treatment of the Body and Embodied States in Dambudzo Marechera's The House of Hunger

Fanon’s statement that ‘the individual’s breathing is an observed, an occupied breathing’, signifies the all-inclusive nature of colonialism, and resultantly, the somatic level at which it is manifested. Dambudzo Marechera’s heavy use of the grotesque body in The House of Hunger expresses this corporeal level at which the legacies of colonialism operate and are felt in the postcolonial state of former Rhodesia under the leadership of Ian Smith.

FEMINISM

ENVIRONMENTAL

TRAVEL

Glyndebourne - the Quintessential English Opera Festival

Suited and gowned, opulent ladies and debonair gentleman picnic on the sprawling grounds of the Glyndebourne estate. With champagne in one hand and strawberries and cream in the other, the 90-minute interval of a world-class opera performance stretches out before them. Collars ruffle and swish skirts dance in the mid-may breeze as the courtly crowd soak up the golden-hour hues. It is a picture of quintessential, ‘prim and proper’ Englishness: croquet on perfect grassy lawns, flawlessly trimmed h