Martina Evans

19 May 2015

Martina Evans is a novelist and poet who’ll be visiting the group on 9 June to talk about her work, so in anticipation of this visit, we looked at an essay she wrote and two of her poems.

Evans has published nine books of prose and poetry. Her most recent poetry collection is Burnfort Las Vegas (2014), shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award this year. And that shortlisting was the focus of the prose piece of Martina’s we read in the group, alongside two of her poems – The Mystery of Shoes and Low Key, both from Burnfort Las Vegas.

Martina runs her own reading round group, she has been an RLF Fellow, and teaches creative writing at Birkbeck University and City Lit in London. She grew up in County Cork but now lives in London.

Ali Smith wrote about Martina’s first novel Midnight Feast that her prose “shimmers somewhere strange and changeable” and her most recent novella in verse, Petrol, was described in Poetry Review as a “marvellous poem of youth, evoking a vanished Ireland”.

Martina’s a great reader of her work. Do not be deceived by how effortless it seems. Her poems are generous, life-affirming and often funny, but not always. She can weave a difficult subject into a deceptively innocent story. Her language is simple, she lays the language of speech on the page, but she also manages to mimic the complexity of thought and story telling as well as the way a street, town, village or family operates – and always fluidly.

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