Cork Profile - Lucy Holme
Co-editor and Co-founder of ‘The Four Faced Liar'
When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up? A painter, journalist, novelist or West End theatre performer; anything that involved imagination and creativity.
Tell us about your career progression to your role today: After an English literature and language degree at the University of Manchester, I travelled to the south of France to learn French and ended up working in the residences of the rich and famous on the Côte d’Azur. From there I entered the private yachting industry and worked at sea for 13 years, taking the odd sabbatical to train and work as a wine sommelier in London.
After I retired, I moved to Cork to live with my then partner (now husband) who was Cork born and bred. I continued to travel sporadically doing onboard crew service training until I had my first child.
After a bit of a career break, I began working at Curious Wines in the warehouse advising and selling wine and I left in 2019 to concentrate on writing full time. The next year I won a Munster Literature Centre Mentoring Fellowship with the poet Grace Wells. As a lot of events moved online due to the pandemic, I read at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival one night and Aaron Kent, editor of Broken Sleep Books, made contact asking to see a manuscript.
In 2021 I began a master’s in creative writing at UCC and in August of that year my debut poetry chapbook, ‘Temporary Stasis’ which was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Award, was published by Broken Sleep.
In February of last year, I joined Patrick Holloway, Stephen Brophy, and Rose Morris to start The Four Faced Liar, a biannual print magazine focusing on poetry, fiction, non-fiction, translation and visual art, which has just launched.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?With regard to the journal, everything has been about learning quickly, making split decisions and seeing what works. It has been such a gratifying and surprising period of growth.
We received over 1,200 submissions for issue 1 and the sheer volume of brilliant, nuanced, unforgettable short fiction, CNF (creative nonfiction) and poetry was really overwhelming. I guess the thrill of reading something special for the first time, then re-reading it and realising we have to find out who wrote it (we read all submissions blind) and if it is still available to publish, is pretty unbeatable.
What motivates you? Being met with seemingly insurmountable problems and finding a way to solve them. We didn’t know how we were going to fund and produce The Four Faced Liar but we worked so hard to get it off the ground. Encouraging emerging writers, paying them, celebrating their successes, and finding an audience for their words are the things that really motivate me.
What advice would you give your 15 year old self?Don’t feel like an imposter and try not to second guess yourself. You are as intelligent and as capable as the others you see achieving the things you aspire to achieve. Also don’t burn your diaries! You will wish you could read those desperate teenage ambitions and desires when you are older.
If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing? This was what I was always meant to do, I just had to live the life I’ve had up to this point first, before I could properly begin to write my own poetry and non-fiction and edit a journal. In terms of a totally different job, when I first came to Cork, we had a dream of opening a little tapas place like José Pizzaro’s ‘José’ on London’s Bermondsey Street. If I hadn’t had 3 children in quick succession, we might have tried to follow that particular dream.
What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date? My 3 amazing, endlessly distracting children who changed my life in every way. Greatest career achievement is actually creating a little book, ‘Temporary Stasis’ and putting it into the world and also getting a poem published in the endlessly inspirational journal The Stinging Fly.
Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?My parents and my husband. My wonderful father passed away late in 2019 and I miss him tremendously. He was a complex, cultured, musical, deep thinking and witty person and a brilliant dad. My mum was, and still is, such a brilliant role model and always encouraged us to work hard, travel, be independent and to seek out happiness. She made sure we were all confident and had self-belief.
Writing can be lonely and impossible sometimes, but my husband Garry makes me laugh and supports me in every way possible. He shows me how proud he is every day.
What is the life dream now? The dream is funding for issue 2 of The Four Faced Liar so we can continue to build the readership, support and nurture writers, and start to organise creative writing workshops and mentorships. I also want to find a publisher for a book of essays and have plans underway to publish my first full poetry collection.
How do you switch off? Reading. I always have about 4 things I am reading at any one time but the only way I can switch my brain off is to become immersed in somebody else’s thoughts.
What is your favourite Cork memory? Very hard to choose! Sunday brunch at the amazing Sexton pub with Eddie Kay DJing in 2012, Fleet Foxes Live at The Marquee in 2011, Bon Iver at Cork Opera House in 2017, and walking home from the Crane Lane and grabbing a pizza slice at Fast Al’s.
What is your favourite place in Cork? I love Filter on George’s Quay for the best coffee and Good Day Deli at Nano Nagle Place because the restaurant merges seamlessly into the beauty of the natural surroundings.
However, it’s the Marina and Cork Harbour, which has my heart for some strange reason. I love walking the dogs at dusk past the fishing trawlers, the Odlum’s Mill and R&H Hall building, seeing the gaping mouth of the city framed by one of Cork’s spectacular sunsets.
Do you have a favourite quote or motto? My favourite Latin quote is ‘Transit Umbra Lux Permanent’ which means Shadow passes, light remains. I think I have Simon Maddrell’s poem ‘Our Language Drips’ from issue 1 of The Four Faced Liar committed to memory. He is from the Isle of Man and the poem is about Yn Gaelg or Manx Gaelic. The last stanza is so beautiful and chilling. “It is near impossible to describe the sun/rising but it is possible to feel the language of the sun setting/on darkness”.
When are you at your happiest? When I have written something and I know it works, when someone has read something I wrote and reached out to tell me they liked it, and when I make my children or my husband laugh.
What is your hidden talent? I love to sing.
What might we be surprised to know about you? That I am one unit away from a diploma in wine and spirits, but I put it on hold to get an MA in creative writing.
Anything else you’d like to share with us? I will be reading at a special event to mark the 10th anniversary of the MA at UCC in February and submissions for issue 2 will open soon so keep an eye on social media. We are @the4facedliar on Instagram and Twitter or check The4facedliar.com.
Name and position: Lucy Holme, Co-editor and Co-founder of The Four Faced Liar literary journal, freelance writer and poet
Lives: Cork city
Family: Husband Garry, 2 daughters of 9 and 7 and a son of 5
Pets: 2 Brindle French Bulldogs, a mother and daughter called Stripe and Mimi, and 2 canaries called Giacomo and Ginger
Favourite thing about Cork: The chilly sunsets over the Lee and the friendliness and openness of Corkonians
Least favourite thing about Cork: The dog poo on the pavements
One thing you’d change about Cork: The proliferation of derelict or unused buildings. There is a worrying trend in tearing down, or not respectfully restoring beautiful old houses, shops and warehouses that could be made whole again rather than just replaced by bland modern workspaces