Wexford People

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Gorey woman Bernie makes an impression


Bernie Kirwan

Bernie Kirwan

Bernie Kirwan

Gorey woman Bernie Kirwan has been having quite the week since her piece of short fiction 'The Little Match Girl 2019' was published on the front page of the latest edition of the Sunday Independent.

The story is inspired by the age-old tale of the young girl who is lighting matches to keep warm, and brings in themes of true life events around the plight of asylum seekers, particularly those who lost their lives in the Essex lorry case earlier this year.

Bernie originally contacted the newspaper's letters section some weeks ago and did not expect to hear anything back, but to her delight the piece of writing was met with a very positive reaction.

'I write and doodle, and sometimes I get notions about my work.

'They emailed me back saying how they were very moved by the piece, and that the team were trying to do decide what to do with it.

'I was told it was being discussed with the editor about making sure it got a prominent position, but I never expected it to be on the front page. It was just a simple little thing I wrote but it has had a big impact and I'm thrilled'.

Bernie explained that having a piece of fiction published in a national newspaper is something very new for her, and it has already given her confidence in her own voice and in her writing.

'I always loved the little match girl story, and I recently re-read it again and thought to myself that nothing has changed, which is really sad to think about'.

Bernie said that a large number of people have been in contact with her this week leaving messages, and they have interpreted different things from the piece, but she hopes that overall it will make people feel more empathetic towards asylum seekers.

'If you focus a piece in on one persons' story, it humanises it and makes it very real. It's enough to deliver a message.

'But once you send something like this out, it's done. I know it's my own voice so you have to let go of it'.

Bernie Kirwarn from Gorey Hill is a member of Wexford's Underground Writers' Society, a mother of three and she works as a nurse with the elderly at St Aidan's Day Care Centre.

In 2008, she published her first book entitled A Peaceful Mind.

Wexford People