‘Lights on the Horizon’ is an all-Irish (Ireland and Northern Ireland) book, written during the very first lockdown in 2020. But what makes it so special? Publisher and Celtic Nations Magazine contributor, Niamh Cooper explains.
Ireland, in your hands
Remarkable collection of pandemic prose, photography and poetry.Déirdre
When you hold the beautiful A4 landscape edition of ‘Lights on the Horizon’ in your hands, you are struck by three things before you even open the book:
- All proceeds of this charity book are going to frontline workers.
- The photographs on the custom-designed cover, interspersed between the colourful lettering of the word ‘LIGHTS’ of the book title, hint at the beauty of Ireland, and what we will find within. It instantly entices us to open the book.
- The yellow and teal block quotes at the back are from none other than famous actor Jeremy Irons, and prominent author Louise O’Neill, and both give beautiful endorsements of the book.
A labour of love
‘Lights on the Horizon’ had a long journey, before it got to the point of becoming a hardback edition. It all started with a call for submissions. Antrim-based author and playwright Andrew William Tinney who had the original idea, explains:
I saw in this darkness heroes prepared to make sacrifices for the good of others… I wanted to help. But what could I, a drama graduate, just starting out in the big bad world, do? I had no skills to aid in any medical way, no means to offer meaningful sustenance, and yet I could not sit back and let others shoulder the burden. I knew also that I would not be alone in this thinking. Then a thought struck me, one I had heard countless times throughout the years. ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. … So it was decided. I would write. Not only that, but I would ask others to write too, and together, united on paper, our words would portray this unique, terrifying world around us. The proceeds of these words would go to the heroes who fought for us, who navigated the darkness when it descended. Our words, these words, would focus our minds on the horizon and the coming of a better tomorrow…Andrew William Tinney, creator of charity book ‘Lights on the Horizon’
You can read more about the journey of this charity book here.
A visual delight
And when we open the book, we can instantly see how much time and love has gone into its creation. The quality finish of the cover, the end papers, and the interior pages is exceptional. The images are stunning, and the authenticity of the book is immediately obvious. The eagle eyes of photographers such as Esther Moliné from Barcelona, now living in Dublin, Dublin-based David Lynch, Anna Dodog of Wild Dream Photography, based in West Cork, and Robin Quigley in Limavady, Northern Ireland, make this book a visual masterpiece. Ben McShane from West Cork took some fabulous portrait shots. We know that this book was written during the first lockdown in Ireland in March and April 2020. It contains not only stories and poetry, written during this time, but also photography reflecting this time in Ireland.
On first peruse gems of wisdom literally jumped off the pages in consolation & joy, while the delightful bold colours enlivened parts of my psyche to connect with the collective unconscious. It just may be the point of such a brilliant collection of prose, poetry & pictures. It draws us in to a view of the unity of our humanity and each persons belonging to that whole. Now as we together weather a third wave of the virus we need an enthusiastic, warming literary embrace once more to give us renewed hope and lead us onto the shores of a vaccine roll out. This book’s offering is abundant optimism! The other four copies I sent as gifts to friends & family as a way of saying, ‘we can get through this by focusing on what this book captures in spades, the very best about us… light, love & a belief in the good. I bought this book in blind faith in support of our Heroes, our frontline workers in the HSE &NHS NI. Who each and everyday bring to life magic, faith & hope in the human condition, that is reflected in this compilation. We owe them our support by buying this book.
The reaction of those who received the other four copies was unanimous, “what a really lovely surprise”.Mary-Anne
The Boy on the Bicycle
One of the first pages to greet us is a striking black and white image of a young child on a bicycle. This image, fondly named ‘The Boy on the Bicycle’ is , was taken by photographer David Lynch in Dublin City Centre during lockdown, when only essential travel was allowed, and this photo has become a symbol of ‘Lights on the Horizon’. It also features on the poster, as well as the custom-designed bookmark, which comes free with every order.
The images in the book are breathtaking. Photography from five photographers north and south of the Irish borders is included, and one photo is more beautiful than the next. For anyone who loves Ireland, this book will evoke a longing to return to the Emerald Isle when we can travel again.
Some lovely poems and short stories, beautifully presented.Liz
Poetry and Prose
There are 17 pieces in total included in this collection, and all depict the themes of ‘heroes’ and ‘hope’. ‘Lights on the Horizon’ features:
- seven short stories
- eight poems
- two dramatic monologues
Each piece is as beautiful as the next. The stories and poems are as diverse as they are unique:
There is a little girl called Saoirse (pronounce: Siorsha, like Irish actress Saoirse Ronan), a little girl who travels the ocean in a glass bottle. There’s a Light Bulb Boy who collects dreams to light up the world. There are stories about Magic, and ones that mention Bowie. There’s a fictional diary entry. There’s a poem of hope, written by a mother to her young child. There’s a fantasy story about a ‘Sentinel’, written by author Andrew William Tinney, whose original idea this collection was. There are stories about social workers, paramedics, carers, and many unsung heroes, too. There are poems and stories of love, longing and loss. Some stories are perfect to read to children, and some are a little darker, but with a positive twist.
This book was a perfect escape from the dullness of lockdown. It’s relaxing reading with a varied selection of stories and poems surrounded by beautiful photos. It makes a perfect gift too which is always handy. We all want to acknowledge the great work of frontline health-workers and buy Irish. What better way than an attractive book for your coffee table? For Christmas I sent it to my cousin who wrote to tell me how much she loved it. It will be my go-to birthday gift over the coming months.Camille
I had bought the first digital edition Lights of the Horizon because I thought it was a great idea, and really enjoyed the poems and stories about our fears, anxiety, but also our hopes. So I wanted a paper copy.
I’m delighted with the quality of this new hardback edition which also includes great pictures. It’s a pleasure to leaf through it and I highly recommend it as a present.Véronique
The voices of those who created this book are as unique and diverse as their backgrounds.
We have a writer from Bulgaria but living in Derry / Londonderry. Two of our photographers are based in Dublin, but one is from Madrid. Our youngest contributor, an actor, was 11 at the time of a photo shoot. Our youngest photographer was 17. One poet is from Tipperary but lives in Cork, and runs a very successful Instagram poetry page, @aocpoetry. Two contributors are grandmothers. Three are publishing professionals who met in educational publishing. Two are film extras on ‘Vikings’. Several have a connection with the University of Ulster. Some are retired. Some have small children. One runs a creative writing company, InkWingAcademy. Some are also actors. Some are bi-lingual. One is a god-father. Several used to live in London, and have come home. One was expecting a baby and was very close to her due date when working on this book. And all are combined in their love of Ireland, and a desire to bring hope to the hearts of all those across the globe who are affected by COVID-19.
I bought 5 copies of this inspirational book on just a dear friend’s recommendation. I was not disappointed. The layout immediately drew me in as the breath-taking & beautiful panoramic photography lifted my spirits instantly.Mary-Anne
The perfect gift
‘Lights on the Horizon’ is a perfect gift for lovers of the beautiful Irish countryside and its people, reflected in the poignant poetry, stories, dramatic monologues and fictional diary entries.
‘Lights on the Horizon’ is an ideal present:
- for anyone who wants a beautiful keepsake of Ireland
- for anyone looking for a unique gift for a friend or loved one
- for anyone who has been affected by COVID-19, and wants to give something back to our healthcare workers
- or for anyone who has visited Ireland and wants to revisit its beauty and love of the written word.
In fact, we agree whole-heartedly with incoming president Joe Biden’s words:
Irish poets are the best in the world.Joe Biden, 46th US President, 19th January 2021
Not only is ‘Lights on the Horizon’ a perfect keepsake, a memento of these trouble times. It’s also the most perfect gift for someone else. And you’re not only putting a smile on their faces – ALL proceeds of each and every sale goes to healthcare workers. A cause I think we’re all happy to support, given all our hardworking first responders have had to do during this pandemic.
Why not give this gift full of surprise and virtual hugs in support of our frontline workers, we owe them!Mary-Anne
Niamh [Neeve] Cooper lives in west Cork in the south of Ireland, with her two teenage daughters and two unruly Bichon-un-frisés. She grew up bi-lingually (English, German) in Cologne in Germany to an American Dad and an Irish Mum. When Niamh is not working in educational publishing, she can be found reading, writing, baking or dancing her way to the seashore. The latest string to Niamh’s bow is writing stories that get under her skin, and her most recent publication, a charity book called ‘Lights on the Horizon’, was created by over 20 writers, photographers and publishing professionals during lockdown in 2020. The book was published by Niamh’s publishing company, eThentique. All proceeds go to first responders. You can read about it on www.ethentique.com. You can support frontline workers by purchasing the book on www.craftersofireland.com
Niamh’s stories, flash fiction, short memoirs and poetry have been published and highly commended on thejournal.ie, writing.ie, The Evening Echo, Fish Publishing and others, and her work has been performed at Listowel Writers’ Week, and broadcast on NYC radio show ‘Ireland Calls’, with Treasa Goodwin-Smyth. Niamh blogs at 5MinuteMusings.com.