Lynn Buckle – Myth, Narrative and Social Action

Saturday 27th July 19:00 at Waterstones Bristol – Galleries


A lively discussion with prize-winning author Lynn Buckle about Greek mythology and the use of ancient discourses in creating new myths for the modern age. Her contentious debut novel The Groundsmenpublished by époque press, is a gripping family tragedy based on the classics and uses unique narrative techniques and enticing lyrical prose to explore social themes. The author explains how she takes protest beyond the page into the realm of feminised social action campaigns and reads extracts from her recent work.

Professional artist, teacher, author and social activist, Lynn Buckle grew up in Bristol before moving to Ireland thirty years ago. Cross border issues, identity, gender and power inform her work and writing.

Free, please contact the shop to add your name to the guest list

Available to buy on the night or here

Featured post

Books with Rural Settings, Written by Women

Everything UnderThe VegetarianPondCasting Deep ShadePrimeval and Other Times

The River CaptureHandiworkSwansongA Quiet Tide

In no particular order, and simply because I enjoyed them, here are ten contemporary books written by women – all of which are set in the countryside. There are many more which I refer to in my talks and classes but this broad selection should please nature writers and readers alike.

  1. A Quiet Tide by Marianne Lee
  2. Casting Deep Shade by C.D. Wright
  3. The River Capture by Mary Costello
  4. Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
  5. The Vegetarian by Han Kang – trust me, it gets rural
  6. Swansong by Kerry Andrew
  7. Handiwork by Sara Baume
  8. Pond by Claire Louise Bennett
  9. Primeval & Other Times by Olga Tokarczuk
  10. Fen by Daisy Johnson

A New Way of Living

As I recover in this eerie silence, locked down in my rural village, I am reminded of Edwin Muir’s 1950s poem The Horses, which looks to the past for a positive new way of living,

The Horses  by Edwin Muir

Barely a twelvemonth after

The seven days war that put the world to sleep,

Late in the evening the strange horses came.

By then we had made our covenant with silence,

But in the first few days it was so still

We listened to our breathing and were afraid

On the second day

The radio failed; we turned the knobs; no answer

On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,

Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day

A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter nothing. The radios dumb.

And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,

And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms

All over the world. But now if they should speak,

If on a sudden they should speak again,

If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,

We would not listen, we would not let it bring

That bad old world that swallowed its children quick

At one great gulp. We would not have it again.

Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,

Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,

And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.

The tractors lie about our fields; at evening

They look like dank sea-monsters couched and waiting.

We leave them where they are and let them rust;

‘They’ll molder away and be like other loam.’

We make our oxen drag our rusty ploughs,

Long laid aside. We have gone back

Far past our fathers’ land.

And then, that evening

Late in the summer the strange horses came.

We heard a distant tapping on the road,

A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again

And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.

We saw the heads

Like a wild wave charging and were afraid.

We had sold our horses in our fathers’ time

To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us

As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield.

Or illustrations in a book of knights.

We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,

Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent

By an old command to find our whereabouts

And that long-lost archaic companionship.

In the first moment we had never a thought

That they were creatures to be owned and used.

Among them were some half a dozen colts

Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world,

Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden.
Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads

But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.

Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.

by Edwin Muir




Keltic Radio

A huge thanks to Sharon Thompson for interviewing me on Canada’s Keltic Radio station today as part of her author slot on her weekly programme This & That. We spoke of artistic influences in my novel The Groundsmen, Greek mythology, and the support to be found in writers’ groups and indie bookstores. Oh and we played some good old romantic songs to get you in the mood for some epic Greek love affairs. Listen back here


Writers Need Writers

To find our tribe, to hone our craft, to learn the business, and to network – these are all reasons why writers tend to club together into writing groups. It is after all a lonely job. I have the pleasure of belonging to two such groups – one in my local library and one online – both of which serve these needs in different ways. I have written plenty about the benefits of my library-based group Wordsmiths and the springboard which it came to be for myself and other writers. Similarly, I belong to which is a platform run by best-selling crime writer Sharon Thompson. It is far from just a meeting of like-minded creatives though. There are frequent interactive sessions with writing industry experts – specialists who share their skills and experience with an online audience, giving personalised advice and feedback. This knowledge has been invaluable as I launched my writing career and improved my craft. So too was the encouragement and support of fellow members, and the social capital gained from networking with published and aspiring authors, publishers, editors, agents, literary scouts, writing tutors, PR specialists, the movers and shakers of the book world. The advantage of all of this is it’s accessibility – distance and time being no object as everything is conducted online and can be re-viewed at a later date.  For all of this and more, I would say that Indulge in Writing is no indulgence, it is a necessity.

Lynn Buckle will be appearing as guest speaker on Indulge in Writing, via CrowdCast, on Tuesday 23rd July to talk about teaching skills for writers who give masterclasses, creative writing classes and workshops to adults. To register for this free one hour event, click here

Lynn_Buckle_740x  How to Lead a Workshop For Writers

Continued Professional Development Training delivered by Lynn Buckle at the Irish Writers’ Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin

For authors of all genres and at any stage of their career who are interested in delivering writing courses, want to know more about the theories of how adults learn, or wish to improve their teaching and facilitation skills.

If you couldn’t make this one day workshop then look out for future CPD courses for authors being run by Lynn Buckle in conjunction with The Irish Writers’ Centre. Enquiries to Lynn Buckle here or the centre IWC

The Ancients are Coming

Header The Ancients are Coming

The shortlist for this year’s Women’s Prize for literature included, besides Anna Burns’ Milkman, two authors whose work reflects the current trend for re-worked Greek mythology. Madeline Miller and Pat Barker, listed for their novels Circe and Silence of the Girls, are just two of the many authors writing today who draw on the ancient past for their inspiration. Irish author Lynn Buckle, whose nomination for the Women’s Prize just missed the list, also references mythology in her novel The Groundsmen. This Greek family tragedy was published in 2018 and is followed by Paul Haddon’s latest novel on similar themes, The Porpoise.

Why the preponderance of mythopoeia in literary fiction? Are there no new stories to be told, are these just re-workings of old tropes? If a novel contains appalling behaviour, family drama, endless sparring or infidelity on an epic scale, it is simply describing the human condition. The Greeks serialised our morality, foibles and failures in the guise of Gods and Goddesses lest we recognise our mortal selves – or lest we don’t. These ancient insights remain pertinent, they are as eternal as immortality itself. And that is the point, we are always ourselves; misogynistic, warring, selfish, idolising, yearning perfectionists. Tragic, clever and beautiful.

The regurgitating, the reinventing, the references and re-writes of Greek mythology will continue for as long as humanity remains on this planet. In case it doesn’t we have been warned by the many versions of dystopian literature which deal in apocalyptic disaster. But Dystopia was never an imaginary place of future ruination, it is now, and authors are at pains to either point out our dystopia-blindness or to salve our weariness of it with idealised beauties and escapist yarns. Authors and readers alike fall into one or other classical camp. But then every human discord has an opposing virtue and a story to help us to understand it. Authors of these stories are seeking congruence with the ancients or opposing them, either way the Greeks are lending credence to contemporary fiction. Pat Barker rights gender imbalance wrongs in her Silence of the Girls, giving a voice to women, not just of the past, in her re-telling of Homer’s Trojan Wars. Narrated by Briseis who was virtually ignored by Homer, it an attempt to give a feminist perspective for women of the present. Country by Michael Hughes also revives the Iliad but sets it in Northern Ireland where conflict and sexist wrongs continue aplenty although Anna Burns winningly attests to this in Milkman without so much as a glimpse of a Grecian. Madeline Miller’s classicist background lends academic rigor to an engagingly written Circe, the novel’s heroine being an extension of Homer’s same character in the Odyssey. Here she presents us with timeless dilemmas. Others, like Daisy Johnson in Everything Under and Lynn Buckle in The Groundsmen set their stories in contemporary life and weave mythological allusions and archetypes throughout their tales like Arachne herself.

Paul Haddon, best known for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (2003), feels that mythology lends a respectability in which the author can couch contentious issues. The Porpoise and The Groundsmen are both family dramas addressing the delicate subjects of incest and domestic abuse. Although Haddon’s is a contemporary swashbuckling fantasy adventure, both deal with age-old paedophilia, using ancient myths to add meaning to their characters. The Porpoise is a re-working of Shakespeare’s story of Pericles whereas The Groundsmen creates a new myth for the modern world. From tragedy to beauty, on Mount Olympus or in Mountjoy Square, these authors tread in well-worn footsteps.

Lynn Buckle, art historian, artist, activist, and author of The Groundsmen published by époque press (2018), will be giving a richly illustrated talk on the Greek art and mythology which inspired The Groundsmen in Maynooth library as part of Kildare Readers’ Festival on October 15th.  Meanwhile Lynn can be heard giving talks on her work as part of the Waterstones Myth, Narrative & Social Action tour throughout Ireland and the UK, details here News & Events

Greywood Arts Writers’ Retreat for Carers Bursary Prizes

Writing Room

The Greywood Arts Mini Writers Retreat for Carers Award

Having been a recipient of this fantastic multi-faceted bursary, I just wanted to laud the many prizes which come with the award and to encourage other writers who are also carers to apply for it. Very few of us are care-free, we are all needed by someone at some stage in our lives, but if your writing life is restricted by your responsibilities to others then you will understand why this award was set up to support those who really need it and who can’t avail of the usual literary routes and opportunities. The award is far more than just a retreat.

A collective of five artistic altruistic women – Jessica Bonefant, Rose Servitova, Sharon Thompson, Kit de Waal and Sally Vince – combined their resources to enable other writers to benefit from this award which comes in 4 parts;

Firstly is the residency at Greywood Arts in Killeagh, Co Cork, run by Jessica Bonefant @greywood_arts and generously sponsored by author Rose Servitova @roseservitova. Awardees are given a really helpful stipend, courtesy of award-winning author Kit de Waal @KitdeWaal, for their stay. Accommodation includes not just your own room but a writing room overlooking the River Dissour. A wonderful mix of dancers, film-makers, artists, and writers fill the building with their creative energy. I edited my manuscript there, took long walks in Glenbower woods, wrote poetry, visited the beach and churned out thousands of words for my next novel. All of this without any interruption! It was a truly productive time.

River Dissour

On top of this, writers are are also given a prize of the editorial services of Sally Vince @EditorSal. This, as any author knows, is invaluable in preparing work for submission – adding a truly professional and finished edge to your writing. We have worked together for a while now and I am truly amazed at Sally’s skills. She is impartial, encouraging and an utterly brilliant editor. I cannot thank her enough for all of the work that she has (voluntarily) put into me.

Finally, we all need to engage with other writers and to improve our craft and what better way to do this than to join an online writers’ group? For those who live in remote areas, are constrained by their caring duties, or just very busy, an online group is a no-brainer. Part of the Greywood Bursary includes free membership of Sharon Thompson’s online group Indulge in Writing By joining this I have found my tribe of fellow authors where we share and support one another through private facebook groups, weekly online meet-ups and fantastic Crowdcasts where specialists from the literary and publishing world share their knowledge and answer questions. I highly recommend this as I have made so many useful contacts through Indulge in Writing, learnt so much about my craft, had my hand held and hopefully helped others and my confidence has blossomed. All of this from the convenience of my lap-top.


So a huge thanks to the benefactors of the Greywood Arts Mini-Writers Retreat for Carers for giving me a leg-up on the basis of my writing and for acknowledging that it has been tough getting here. The prizes which constitute this award are far-ranging and I highly recommend applying (see link above).


An Exercise in Humiliation by Lynn Buckle

Hopes queued in the line of prospective tenants

Eligible, desirable, reliable, proof of current employment?

You’re on the Rent Scheme? Must call in the pest control.

Call out the roll call and the twenty-four reduces some more

when the agent asks for cash up-front of

eighteen hundred and then some more for

the next three months and another amount

because he’s a cunt

and thinks you’ll wreck the gaff, despite his filtering system in eugenics.


Shouldn’t breed if they’re homeless.

(published in HCE Review 2017 and Luisne an Chleite 2018)

Readathon for International Women’s Day at Irish Writers’ Centre

In celebration of International Women’s Day, The Irish Writers’ Centre are hosting a cross-border readathon on Saturday 9th March. Come along anytime from 11am-4pm to hear excerpts of women’s work in the beautiful setting of 19 Parnell Square. Authors from all over the country will be converging on the centre to read their latest pieces and if you want to hear a snapshot from The Groundsmen, I will be quoting from it at around 3.15pm – for the one in four women who are experiencing domestic abuse today.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: