‘A fairy tale for the 21st century’
Begotten Not Made
[ About the Book ]
Begotten Not Made is a fairy tale for the 21st century – where the mystery of blind faith is explored and the magic of belief is restored.
Brother Scully met Sister Claire only once. It was back in 1970 – the night Dana won the Eurovision Song Contest. Every single morning since their first and only encounter, with a flicker of a light bulb, Sister Claire has sent a coded message of love to Brother Scully.
This Christmas Eve morn, for the first time in almost fifty years, no light shines out from Sister Claire’s bedroom window. And so begins this tale of a very real, yet unrealised love …
[ My Review ]
Begotten Not Made by Cónal Creedon was published in 2018 with Irishtown Press and has received much acclaim for its uniqueness in style and premise. Donal O’ Donoghue (Books, RTE Guide) described it as ‘a picturesque epic that at times dips into the surreal’ and Ronald Clifford (Irish American Examiner, New York) stated that ‘it maintains a Joycean flavour throughout the story’. Wrapped around a love story, Cónal Creedon challenges the Bible, poking holes in the many theories and beliefs of the Catholic faith through his interpretation of how it all began.
Begotten Not Made is set in Cork and tells the story of an unrequited love between Brother Scully and Sister Claire. In 1970, on the evening that Ireland won the Eurovision with All Kinds of Everything by Dana, Brother Scully and Sister Claire were on tea duty. It was a rare evening when nuns from the local convent came to the monastery to watch the event on the new television that the monastery had recently acquired. What started as a pleasant conversation between two vocational individuals soon morphed into something much deeper.
Brother Scully was a person who questioned theology, much to the despair of many of his colleagues. He delved deep into the life of Christ and asked questions that those of a more strong and blind faith were tested by. Sister Claire was a novice and had always believed, without question, her calling to the faith and all that it implied. On this fateful night doubt infiltrated her mind and she was left questioning all that she held dear in her understanding of God and the Bible.
But don’t think that Begotten Not Made is a novel just about religion. It is a poignant and beautiful tale of two individuals who could have lived quite a different life. The book begins in the present day with Brother Scully in his room where he spends most of his days now. Every morning, following the Eurovision win of March 21st, 1970, Brother Scully and Sister Claire have flickered their respective bedroom lightbulbs first thing to each other as a daily form of communication. On this particular Christmas Eve morning Brother Scully sees no light from Sister Claire and he becomes concerned. In the pages that follows he thinks back over his early years and remembers a Cork City that has long since gone by. He recalls his youth, his early years studying theology and his insistence on always questioning and rationalising his thoughts. He drove many another brother to despair with his constant probing but he did garner occasional respect for his rather unorthodox views.
Cork City features as a character in its own right as Cónal Creedon brings the sights and sounds of the city to life. As a local Corkonian myself I thoroughly enjoyed all the references to streets, places and people but, to any of you not familiar with Cork, it will be very easy to visualise it through the beautiful descriptions depicted by Cónal. An unexpected treat were the number of illustrations throughout the book, all sketched by Cónal himself, adding a wonderful extra layer to the story.
Cónal Creedon raises some extremely challenging yet fascinating views about the birth of Christ and his relationship with God and although this might sound heavy reading, it’s not. Written with humour and poignancy, Begotten Not Made is an intelligent and perceptive reading experience. With a very distinctive hand, Cónal Creedon has written a quirky and unconventional love story, with a philosophical touch, one that most certainly starts a few thought-provoking conversations.
Purchase Link ~ Begotten Not Made
[ Bio ]
Cónal Creedon is a critically acclaimed novelist, playwright and documentary filmmaker.
Cónal’s recently published Pancho and Lefty Ride Again (2021) has been Awarded One City One Book Award 2020. Pancho and Lefty Ride Again is described as a collection of award winning short fictions.
His novel, Begotten Not Made (2018), has achieved literary award recognition: the Eric Hoffer Award USA 2020; the Bronze Award New Generation Book Award USA 2020; Finalist in the Montaigne [Most Thought-Provoking Book] Award USA 2020; Nominated for the Dublin International Book Award 2020; Book of the Year Irish Examiner; Top Books of the Year – Liveline RTÉ Irish National Radio.
Other books by Cónal Creedon include, Cornerstone (2017), The Immortal Deed of Michael O’Leary (2015), Second City Trilogy (2007), Passion Play (1999) cited as Book of the Year BBC Radio 4, Pancho & Lefty Ride Out (1995), Pancho & Lefty Ride Again (2021)
Cónal’s award-winning plays include; The Trial of Jesus (2000), which featured as part of the Irish National Millennium celebrations, received two Business to Arts Awards by President of Ireland Mary McAleese and was nominated for an Irish Times Special Judges Theatre Award 2000. Glory Be to the Father (2001), produced by Red Kettle Theatre Company, Waterford. Cónal’s Second City Trilogy of stage plays achieved high acclaim from theatre critics in Shanghai, New York and Ireland. The Second City Trilogy picked up a number of awards at the 1st Irish Theatre Awards New York, including Best Actor, Best Director and nominated Best Playwright. When I Was God, a production from the Second City Trilogy was also awarded Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at ICA Federation Awards 2014. In 2021 it was awarded Best Production, Best Actor and Best Director at the Irish National Play Awards.
Cónal’s film documentaries achieved high critical acclaim, including shortlisted for the Focal International Documentary Awards UK and numerous broadcasts by RTÉ [Irish National Television] with international screening at Féile an Phobail West Belfast Festival, World Expo Shanghai, China, Origin Theatre Festival New York, USA, the Irish National Centenary Commemorations and at NYU New York University, USA.
Cónal has written and produced more than 60 hours of original radio drama broadcast by RTÉ, BBC, CBC, ABC. Cited as Best Radio by Irish Times radio critics 1996 and 1998.
Website – https://www.conalcreedon.com/
Twitter – @ConalCreedon
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/conalcreedon/