A gift of stone

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Bancroft, Maeve
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University College Cork
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A Gift of Stone consists of a novel and a critical commentary written in response to a key event in Irish history, the Great Irish Famine. The novel for this practice-based PhD in Creative Writing imagines two lives – that of a young Irishwoman and her family caught up in the Famine in the 1840s and a contemporary Canadian woman who returns to Ireland in search of her roots over 150 years later. The commentary explores my methods of research and writing and the issues that arise when writing historical fiction. As creative transdisciplinary approaches are central to my work, I include visual art and site-specific research as part of my research, and I will discuss this below. The commentary discusses what I needed to do in order to write; reading, researching, walking, being open to environment and art, soaking in atmosphere; in other words, all the things that were not writing but were nevertheless a necessary part of the writing process. The commentary reflects the manner in which the process unfolded. The first section briefly examines igniting ideas and inspiration which includes visual art, historical and fictional texts, and site-specific research. The second section consists of original research carried out while I was a writer in residence at Uillinn Arts Centre, Skibbereen during the Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger exhibition in the summer of 2018. The third section explores my writing process, the narrative wrong turns I took and technical difficulties I encountered with particular regard to voice and tense. For the purpose of this thesis and word limits imposed, I have divided the novel into two sections. Part one is in the body of the thesis and includes my contemporary Canadian character, Rosie, as well as Famine era, Ellen. Part two is in the Appendix and completes the novel.
Novel , Famine , Nineteenth and twenty first century narrative , Creative writing
Bancroft, M. 2019. A gift of stone. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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