Author Spotlight, Francis H Powell

Spotlight : Flight of Destiny by author Francis H. Powell

A big hello to everyone visiting Literary Flairs! Today’s special feature showcases a collection of 22 intriguing short stories of the science fiction, dystopian and literary fiction genres by the award-winning storyteller and artist Francis H. Powell. The stories promise to take interested readers into a completely different world of unexpected endings and dynamic possibilities.




Winner of COMPILATIONS/ANTHOLOGIES – Flight of Destiny – Frances H. Powell (winner)

Pacific Rim winner


My book Flight of Destiny won one of the categories for the  Pacific Rim book festival,

COMPILATIONS/ANTHOLOGIES – Flight of Destiny – Frances H. Powell (winner)

Follow Francis H Powell on Twitter

Flight of destiny Is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People’s conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge is often a subject explored.


The turbulent mind of Sinead O’Connor

Sinead banner

There is little doubting the uniqueness of  Sinead O’Connor’s voice. When you listen to “Nothing compares to you” you can’t but fail to be moved by it, it gets you every time you hear this rousing song. But what about the singer? I had the pleasure to see her in concert in Paris a few years back. I sensed that there was something quite not right about Sinead, there was a palpable edginess to the concert.

In Ireland she is an icon and the press can’t get enough of her, while at the same time she is depicted as being a wild crazy woman, mentally unstable. She is not afraid to be extremely honest about her childhood and the physical and mental abuse she had suffered at the hands of her mother (although other members of her family dispute this). In her own words…“I never took time to recover from what had gone on when I was growing up, and to establish a sense of self,” she says, quietly but surely. “The big problem if you are a child abused is that you don’t really have a strong sense of your own identity. She obviously is struggling to come to terms with her childhood, but also the pressures of fame.  In July 2003 she said pertinently “I seek no longer to be a ‘famous’ person and instead I wish to have a normal life,” adding “Could people please afford me my privacy?”

Sometimes her so called “crazy antics” have been very public. Tearing up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live in America in 1992, was followed by coming stage at a tribute concert for Bob Dylan, wrapped a rastafarian prayer cloth around the microphone and sang an unaccompanied version of “War”, a musical rendition of a speech Haile Selassie made to the United Nations in 1963, to which Sinead added her own lyrics focusing on child abuse.  Her performance drew mixed reactions, some booing.

It seems like Madonna, on her Australian tour is going through  a Sinead type phase.

Ripping up a picture of the pope brought about an inevitable  backlash with leading Roman Catholics attacking the singer and urging the faithful not to buy her records. Her relationship with religion seems complex.  She raised many eye browses when it was revealed  she had been ordained as Mother Bernadette Marie by Bishop Michael Cox of the rebel Tridentine Order, at Lourdes. Irish and American newspapers went for Sinead viciously dubbing her “mad”, “deranged” and ” weird”.

Effecting Sinead deeply has been custody battles for her daughter, which even made her contemplate suicide. “I have made one suicide attempt in my life, and that was on my 33rd birthday, after a session in court that day where it was suggested that for the rest of my life I would only see my daughter once a month. I made a very serious suicide attempt, and I did almost die.” She seems dogged by this notion that she is mad.

Sinead O’Connor for many years was deemed to suffer from Bi Polar, which was later proved false. She announced “I do not in fact suffer from Bi Polar disorder and never did . . . and should never have been put on the medication . . . They are extremely debilitating drugs. Tiring to the extreme. Ironically, extremely depressing. They can cause suicidal or self-harm type thinking.” O’Connor said, in an interview in the Irish Mirror, “I’m delighted to be able to say that after ten years of poisoning myself with these drugs and having to live with the extremely difficult side-effects of them I can shortly begin the very, very slow indeed, process of getting them out of my system and my life and getting my life back.”

This poses the question could the constant cries by the media  that Sinead is crazy influence Doctors. Sinead went through a ten year period with different psychiatrists, none of them alluding the effects of the medication she was under.

Sinead seems to be making a constant cry for help. She seems horribly misrepresented by the press. If she is crazy it is a wonderful crazy.

Part of a St Patrick’s Day blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.


Follow Francis H Powell on Twitter





Unfair Irish stereotyping?

Wild Irish


The word Hooligan is a word known to one and all, but what are its origins. If you refer the Oxford English Dictionary it came into the language in 1898, being, “the name of an Irish family in south-east London conspicuous for its ruffianism”. If you check a copy of The Daily News of July 26, 1898, it reports on social conditions in the areas, reporting : “It is no wonder that Hooligan gangs are bred in these vile byways.” A few weeks later, on August 22, another paper the Daily Graphic wrote scornfully “the avalanche of brutality which, under the name of ‘Hooliganism’ – has cast such a dire slur on the social records of South London”.

During the summer of 1898 most London newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph, Pall Mall Gazette and Westminster Gazette were referring to ‘Hooligan gangs’. There are other sources as to the origin of the word Hooligan. The Oxford English Dictionary also puts forward other claims such as a mishearing of the term “Hooley’s gang” although there is no evidence for this. It also says there was an Irish character called Hooligan of this period who appeared in the London comic magazine Funny Folk (1874-1894). Also it is claimed there was a popular music song about a rowdy Irish family called the Hooligans at this time. There are different points of view to the origins of the word Hooligan, but it seems to be linked to a family of Irish origins.

While teaching a class about American culture, specifically the early gangs in New York, it became apparent that the Irish were one of the main proponents of this culture. There is of course the Scorsese film, which apparently is a bit of an exaggeration, however Tyler Anbinder makes the point “The overall theme of the movie Scorsese gets exactly right: When the Irish first came to America they were persecuted and they literally did have to fight for their fair share of what America had to offer,”

Historian George Potter gave this damning assessment of the Irish.

You will scarcely ever find an Irishman dabbling in counterfeit money, or breaking into houses, or swindling; but if there is any fighting to be done, he is very apt to have a hand in it.” Even though Pat might “‘meet with a friend and for love knock him down,'” noted a Montreal paper, the fighting usually resulted from a sudden excitement, allowing there was “but little ‘malice prepense’ in his whole composition.” The Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati in 1853, saying that the “name of ‘Irish’ has become identified in the minds of many, with almost every species of outlawry,” distinguished the Irish vices as “not of a deep malignant nature,” arising rather from the “transient burst of undisciplined passion,” like “drunk, disorderly, fighting, etc., not like robbery, cheating, swindling, counterfeiting, slandering, calumniating, blasphemy, using obscene language
We can identify a strong Anti-Irish sentiment prevalent racism, oppression, bigotry, persecution, discrimination, hatred or fear of Irish people as an ethnic group or nation. The Irish have been harshly stereotyped.

Concerning the Irish and their love of alcohol, according to   the national charity Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland is one of 26 nations in the European Union with the highest alcohol consumption rates per capita. In fact, the Irish drink about 20% more than the average European.

In addition to total consumption of alcohol, Irish drinkers also cross the line from casual drinkers to problem drinkers. It is estimated that over half of all Irish drinkers are problem drinkers. If 80% of the total adult population of 3.2 million people drink, that means that around 1.3 million Irish people have a drinking problem. Researchers further break down the demographics like this: 40% of female drinkers and 70% of male drinkers have a harmful patterns of drinking.

Part of a St Patrick’s Day blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.


Follow Francis H Powell on Twitter


Why are there so many great Irish writers?

Famous Irish writers big

One area Ireland has made a big imprint is writing…why is this the case ?
Testimony to this is the fact that if you check the list of Nobel Prize winners since its inception, you’d discover that Ireland ranks eighth in terms of how many it has produced over the years.

You have to go back in time to discover the origins of Ireland’s propensity to create great scribes. Ireland can boast that it has one of the oldest forms of vernacular literature in the world, with only Greek or Latin rivaling it. The Irish could claim to be literate from the very earliest centuries, making use of a simple writing system called “Ogham” which was a way of communicating by way of inscriptions on little stone tablets. “Tain Bo Cuailnge” also known as “The Tain”, a story of a battle between the Queen Medb and her husband was written around the sixth century is widely regarded as one of the first major epics in literature and storytelling and is still published in various translations for a modern audience. The tale itself was written in classical old Irish and later into a more recognizable form of Gaelic called Middle Irish more readily understood for those wishing to keep the language alive.

Put aside the ancient roots of Irish literature, some might say it is the intervention of alcohol that has contributed a lot to Irish literature. Take James Joyce for example, accredited as being a “functioning alcoholic”, able to work and write to the best of his ability despite being known for being a heavy drinker (something that ran in the family, his father equally liked to drink). Joyce, seemingly quitea wild man, could be found in the streets, going on binges and getting in fights. It was only the “morning after” while recuperating with friends that he would set his mind to writing great literature.
Samuel Becket led a colorful life, his writing is known to express a bleak outlook on human life and culture while incorporating gallows humour and black comedy, Becket slurped red wine every night until the early hours of 5am, did his drinking habit impinge on his writing?

One undeniable fact is Ireland steeped in a rich cultural history which sets it apart from many others. Significantly it’s also a history that is chequered and turbulent continuously up to the present day. A close look at their history reveals they have been conquered and repressed and made to suffer at the hands of invading tribes, from Celts, the Angles and Saxons, followed by the Vikings who came to rape and pillage and finally the English left their mark on this country. All these incursions igniting ideas for meaningful literature, a culture desperately fighting back against perceived Imperial suppression.

Part of a St Patrick’s Day blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.


Follow Francis H Powell on Twitter

Unlikely celebrities with Irish roots.

Famous people with Irish origins


The Irish have spread far and wide however some most unlikely celebrities have Irish blood in them.

Marlon Brand, such a powerhouse of an actor traces his Irish roots back to his maternal great-grandfather, Myles Gahan, who immigrated to the US from Ireland. Michael Fassbender, has been wowing cinema goers in recent times, with his powerful uncompromising performances. His mother, Adele, hails from County Antrim in Northern Ireland. As a child, he spent time in Killarney and even served as an altar boy. His Irish credentials couldn’t be stronger, according to family legend, his mom is the great-great niece of famed Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins.

There are some with less pure Irish blood, but none the less a bit of Irish in them. Elvis Presley was of English, Scottish, French, Irish, Dutch and Danish descent. Beyonce Knowles is of African American, African, French, Irish, and Native American descent. Kurt Cobain was of Irish, English, Scottish, and German descent. His ancestors emigrated from Tyrone in Northern Ireland in 1875. Researchers found them to have been shoemakers originally named Cobane from the village of Inishatieve, near Pomeroy. Apparently Cobain himself thought his family came from Cork, though.

I kind of suspected that Jim Morrison had some Irish blood, Jim being of English, Scottish, and Irish descent. Bruce Springsteen, an iconic American rocker, is of Italian, Dutch and Irish descent. “School’s Out” singer Alice Cooper is of French Huguenot, Sioux Native American, English, Scottish, and Irish descent. Meryl Streep, such a brilliant all round actress, has a bit of Irish in her. A researcher has claimed to have traced Streep’s great-great grandmother Grace Strain’s departure from Ireland to New York. Streep later named her daughter after the relative. Harrison Ford, known for being India Jones, amongst other things, also has an Irish father. You wouldn’t imagine Ben Stiller as being Irish, but in fact his mother is Irish Catholic. Look into Obama’s ancestry and you will find great-great-grandfather was an Irish immigrant who left for America in 1850.

Perhaps the most significant contributor to entertainment, Walt Disney’s great-grandfather, Arundel Elias Disney, emigrated to the New World from Gowran in Kilkenny, making Walt at Irishman by blood. Muhammed Ali’s great-grandfather was from Ennis in Clare. His name was Abe Grady and he emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860s.

Liverpool has a high intake of Irish immigrants, so it is no surprise The Beatles had Irish blood among them. By 1851 20% of Liverpool’s population was Irish. They’ve kept going there ever since and today 50% of Scousers claim Irish heritage.. McCartney’s maternal grandfather came from Monaghan and his paternal great-grandfather also hailed from Ireland. Lennon’s paternal grandfather was a member of a music group in Dublin. The notoriously private George Harrison came from an Irish Catholic family on his mother’s side, his maternal grandfather hailed from Wexford. Unusually for the time his grandparents never married. While Ringo Starr is often described as the most English Beatle, it is possible to trace one family line going back to County Mayo suggesting all four of The Beatles can be accurately described as having ancestral roots in Ireland (a claim made by Bono). John Lennon was eager to find out more about his family roots and hired genealogists during the height of his fame, in a quest to establish his roots. Unfortunately they failed him and as a result Lennon knew very little about his Irish heritage.

Part of a St Patrick’s Day blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.


Follow Francis H Powell on Twitter