I am delighted to be involved in this wonderful charity project in aid of Pieta House (Ireland). Pieta House helps people in suicidal distress or engaging in self-harm and those in need of suicide bereavement counselling. Since first opening their doors in 2006, Pieta House has helped over 30,000 people and has subsequently established twelve more centres across Ireland. In 2015, they launched a pilot program in Queens, New York. In 2017, this became a permanent centre and changed its name to Solace House.
A Bowl of Irish Stew is the brainchild of Gary Rutherford, a social care worker and father of seven. When their family was touched by mental health issues, Gary saw first hand the wonderful service being provided by Pieta House and resolved to undertake a project to raise much-needed funds. His plan was simple – to combine original short stories into a “meal for the mind”. The stories (or in some cases, poems) have been contributed by people from across the spectrum of Irish society and range from funny anecdotes to memories of those lost to illness or suicide.
When I first saw the call for submissions shared in one of my writing groups, I knew immediately that I wanted to contribute. Gary was looking for “original, non-fiction”, but was allowing contributors to change names and places if they preferred. For my own submission, I took a real-life event and gave it a sort of fictional overhaul to make it more interesting to read!
With over forty entries, A Bowl of Irish Stew has something to suit every reader. I recently received my own copy in the post and am enjoying working my way through them. It’s the type of book you can dip in and out of, reading something that takes your interest on a given day. It is well worth the cover price of just €10.
The official launch takes place at The Bracken Court Hotel, Balbriggan (Dublin, Ireland) on Tuesday, October 23rd from 7-9 pm. Books will be available on the night and a number of the contributors will be attending. Books can also be pre-ordered by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book would make a wonderful Christmas gift, both to the recipient and to those who use the services of Pieta House.