Carcanet online book launch: Egg/Shell by Victoria Kennefick

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Victoria Kennefick / Carcanet Press
Carcanet Press

13 March 2024 Tickets from £2.00 — Book now

Head into the ether for the launch of Egg/Shell, the much-anticipated second collection by TS Eliot Prize-shortlisted Victoria Kennefick, and the Poetry Book Society Spring Choice 2024. Published by Carcanet Press, based in Manchester, the book will be introduced by Victoria, who will read from it and chat about its inception with host Elaine Feeney.

Exploring early motherhood and miscarriage, the impact of a spouse’s gender transition and the dissolution of a marriage, Egg/Shell presents some challenging subjects, so expect a frank discussion. Lives are cracking apart in the text, which is presented as a diptych, or “a double album”, as the blurb explains. The first part of the book, ‘egg’, deals with fertility issues and the mourning of four failed pregnancies while nursing a healthy child and experiencing a fracturing relationship; the second part, ‘shell’, is concerned with the transition of the speaker from wife to something else, as she explores what the new reality she is facing means for her her family and her own sense of identity.

The lives depicted alter, shatter and recombine in Victoria Kennefick’s “stunning monologues, innovative hybrid forms and piercing lyrics”; the poems – that “are uncanny and strange, with an otherworldly quality that unsettles and discombobulates” – move through shock, loss, grief, anger, resignation, celebration and gratitude. It’s a complex journey, but not one without hope or humour – ‘to crack one’s egg’, we’re told, is to realise that one is trans.

Egg/Shell is the follow-up to Victoria Kennefick’s best-selling debut Eat or We Both Starve, and continues to prove her as one of the boldest poetic voices to emerge in recent years, breaking new ground. Seán Hewitt calls the book: “Daring, visceral and replete with unsettling images… few collections arrest a reader with such intensity from the opening poem, and even fewer manage to hold that thrill over the course of many poems, but Kennefick’s does.”

Victoria Kennefick grew up in Cork and lives in Kerry. Her debut collection, Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet Press, 2021), won the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize and the Dalkey Book Festival Emerging Writer of the Year Award. It was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, the Costa Poetry Book Award, the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the Butler Literary Prize. She was the UCD/Arts Council of Ireland Writer-in-Residence 2023 and Poet-in-Residence at the Yeats Society Sligo 2022-2024. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, New England Review, PN Review, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, and elsewhere.

Elaine Feeney writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction. She has published three poetry collections including The Radio was Gospel & Rise and a new poetry collection, All the Good Things You Deserve, is forthcoming in 2024 with Harvill Secker. Her debut novel, As You Were, won Dalkey Book Festival’s Emerging Writer Prize, The Kate O’Brien Prize and the Society of Authors’ McKitterick Prize, and was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and the Rathbones-Folio Prize; her second novel, How to Build a Boat, was published in 2023. She lectures in poetry and creative writing at The National University of Ireland, Galway.

As always with Carcanet Press events, extracts of the text will be shown during the reading so that you can read along, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. Registration for this online event is £2, redeemable against the cost of the book – attendees will receive a discount code and details of how to get hold of the new book during and after the event.

egg/shell by Victoria Kennefick
egg/shell by Victoria Kennefick

13 March 2024 Tickets from £2.00 Book now

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