The Heroes of Ramsgate

The high point of my year, meeting the Ramsgate Lifeboat crew, left to right is John G Ray, myself, and Ray Noble.

The reading at Ramsgate on Saturday went very well, with a moderate crowd turning up to support the RNLI Lifeboat cause.

Reading from Shiprocked to an attentive audience is always a pleasure of course, but being able to do so to the crew of the lifeboat who came to our aid in the big storm was both satisfying and humbling. If I had any worries that the lifebot crew would regard us as “the idiots on the pirate ship” I needen’t have worried – the welcome I got in Ramsgate, and the warmth of feeling expressed towards Radio Caroline was overwhelming, and obviously genuine.

Apparently that particular callout, to aid the Ross Revenge stranded on the Goodwin Sands in a Force 11 North Easterly is still talked of as “the rescue from hell” amongst the RNLI crew. The fact that one of their own crewmembers – Ian Cannon – was washed overboard during the rescue attempt while we stayed dry on the ship is very sobering for me – while this storm was a once in a lifetime ordeal for us, it is something that the lifeboat crew face again and again and again. Ian is still with the lifeboats after all these years – and is now the coxswain! Sadly he couldn’t join us as he was aborad on the day, but hopefully I will get to meet him soon, as a second reading for the Ramsgate Lifeboat is currently being discussed.

Thanks again to everyone who turned up, especially the lifeboat crew, and watch out for details of our return visit later in the year!


On My Way Back Home

Well, the “Winter Storm Tour” with readings at Ramsgate, London, and a visit to Caroline herself at Tilbury went very well, and I am now making my way back up to catch the ferry at Holyhead.

I’ve a great deal to report, and many pictures of the events and Ramsgate and London, and of the Ross Revenge and how she looks today.

Watch this space in about 24 hours.


Today’s Seven Towers event at Hammersmith

The Hammersmith Ram, King Street

Today’s (Sun 28th March 2010) special reading marks my return to The Hammersmith Ram, where the London launch of Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline was held last year.

This is the first Seven Towers event in London, and with free admission, easy access by tube (Hammersmith Underground and Bus Station is 1 minute walk away) plus great food and drink on offer at The Ram it promises to be a good evening. The reading at 6.30 is followed by live traditional Irish music at 8pm.


Seven Towers Writers – Steve Conway, Eamonn Lynskey and Donal Moloney will be joining Liverpool artist and writer Alice Lenkiewicz at the Hammersmith Ram Pub in Hammersmith, London for a spectacular reading.

The reading will be followed by an open mic and the whole event will be followed by the Ram’s weekly Session!

A great night out

Artist and writer Alice Lenkiewicz lives and works in Liverpool.
Her books include a poetry collection, Men Hate Blondes (origional plus, 2009) and a novella, Maxine (Bluechrome Publishing, 2005).
Alice Lenkiewicz also publishes and edits Neon Highway, a poetry magazine that supports emerging and established poets.

Below, she talks about the series of events that led to Neon Highway:

Further information.
Men Hate Blondes

Steve Conway is a journalist, writer and radio DJ,. he is a former programme controller on the legendary Radio Caroline. Steve has written a best selling memoir – Shiprocked, Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline – about the years he spent at sea with Radio Caroline on the Ross Revenge, and the dramatic end to this time.

Eamonn Lynskey

Éamonn Lynskey has had poems published in many magazines. He was nominated for the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Poetry in 2006 and one of his poems featured on the 2009 OXFAM calendar. His first collection Dispatches and Recollections was published in 1998 and 1.His second collection And Suddenly the Sun Again will be published in 2010. Éamonn, who holds a Diploma in Italian Language and Culture has also translated the works of modern Italian poets into English. He is also a long time contributor to the open mic scene in Dublin.

Dónal Moloney is a writer and translator from Waterford. The excerpt published here is a version of Chapter 4 of a novella called In The Balance, which he is currently completing. An alternate short story version of Chapter 1 of the novella received a commendation in the 2009 Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. An excerpt from his short story The Mask appeared in Census: The First Seven Towers Anthology. He is a regular featured reader at both the Chapters and Verse Reading Series and the Last Wednesday Reading and Open Mic Series.

Seven Towers Agency
is an independent, Not for profit literary agency, publishing company and eevnt organiser based in Dublin Ireland.

The Hammersmith Ram is a Youngs Pub at 81 King St in Hammersmith. Like all pubs hosting Seven Towers’ events – it has a great bar menu. it also has a great wine lists nad hosts many wonderful events fully supported by its innovative and enthusiastic manager Rory Murphy, and the great staff. it’s our favourite pub in London! more details about the Hammersmith Ram are available fon

Saturday: Ramsgate RNLI reading, 3pm

Today, Saturday 27th March 2010

Reading in aid of the RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat

from “SHIPROCKED – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline”

3pm, Ramsgate Library.

Guildford Lawn
CT11 9AY

Tel: 01843 593532

Admission FREE, donations to RNLI welcomed

The civilised way to cross the Irish Sea

Norfolk Line ferry

I’m sailing off to the UK tonight to head down to Kent for my special Ramsgate book-reading on Saturday.

I’ve crossed the Irish sea so many times over the past 40 years, often via Irish Ferries or my old employer Stena Line to Holyhead, but I like the Liverpool route much better. It used to be the province of the old B&I Line, then Merchant Ferries in the early noughties, and is now run by Norfolk Line (and goes to Birkenhead rather than Liverpool – cutting off an hour of harbour lock delays).

It’s so much nicer to take the longer crossing, have a cabin all the way, and arrive refreshed, and about 100 miles closer to London.

And I still miss the sea, so a few extra hours afloat doesn’t do me any harm.


Quo Day 2 in Port Laois

I won’t be in Ireland myself this weekend (I’ll be doing my Ramsgate reading) but if I was around, I’d be heading down to PortLaoise for Ireland’s second annual Status Quo Day at Cloisters Bar.

Last year’s was a brilliant event, with something for every classic rock fan, and this year’s promises to be even bigger.

Been There, Done That, Got the T-shirt? Not quite . .

I was somewhat baffled to receive the following link from the Google Alert that tracks online mentions of Shiprocked – Life On The Waves with Radio Caroline around the world.

Official Steve Conway Shiprocked T-shirt

For one fleeting moment I wondered if I had wandered into a strange alternate universe in which I was cool enough for people to base clothing lines on, before remembering that one online retailer in Ireland had by accident listed the book as a T-shirt. This has obviously resulted in other associated sites using this supplier taking it on as part of their rock and roll clothing lines . .

Still, nice to know that you can now buy the book in small, medium, and extra large!


5 days to Ramsgate . . . remembering the Goodwins

It’s just 5 days now till the reading I have been most looking forward to for the last year, when I return to Ramsgate in Kent to read and thank the RNLI Lifeboat crew for their efforts on our behalf when the Radio Caroline ship Ross Revenge ran aground on the Goodwin Sands almost 19 years ago.

Below is a clip from TVS (the former ITV station of the area) news on the day of the grounding on the Goodwin Sands, 20th November 1991. By the time the film crew flew out to shoot the footage, the ship, although still aground, was upright again, as it was high tide.

My book, Shiprocked – Life On The Waves With Radio Caroline tells many stories of my time at sea with the station, but it is the final chapter, with the shipwreck which always drawns the most comments, and the most rapt attention, at public readings. Whenever I read from this, I always talk about how, although it was a helicopter which eventually rescued us, the dedicated crew of the Ramsgate Lifeboat stood by us for three hours, and braved treacherous seas on the Goodwins to try to come alongside in a rescue attempt.

I’m therefore really pleased that this time, I will be reading in Ramsgate itself, and the local RNLI crew, including at least one of those who was on board that morning in 1991, will be there to receive my thanks.

The event takes place this Saturday, 27th March, at 3pm in Ramsgate Library.

Admission is free, and all donations to the RNLI are welcomed.  I’ll be donating my royalties from any books sold at the event to the RNLI of course.

Sadly the RAF base at Manston, where the TV footage was shot, and from where the rescue helicopter came, is now long since closed, although a museum remains on the site.

The lifeboat though continues, and I hope that this reading will be able to contribute something useful to them by way of publicity and funds.


Liffey Sound Archive

The interview and reading on Liffey Sound 96.4 went very well today – Niamh, a writer herself, knows how to get the best out of her literary interviewees, and encouraged me to think and talk about lots of ideas behind my writing.

I read a couple of extracts from Shiprocked, and two of my short stories “Of Little Consequence” and “Schrodinger’s Bus“.

The full show (an hours long) is available on an archive at

I intended to get a shot of myself and Niamh in the station, but was enjoying myself so much that I forgot!


Liffey Sound with Niamh on Sunday

This Sunday I’ll be interviewed on a radio show with a difference – the very interesting “Sunday Scrapbook” on Liffey Sound FM hosted by Niamh Bagnell.

Niamh is interesting in her own right (see her blog, ‘Various Cushions‘) and I’ve bumped into her at a couple of readings around Dublin. Her radio show is great for anyone who likes writing or reading, as each week she devotes an hour to really getting under the skin of a Dublin based writer, be they poets, novellists, or mixed bags like myself.

On the show I’ll be reading a couple of short stories, including my first ever piece of fiction, as well as some extracts from Shiprocked, and Niamh will be giving me a thorough grilling.

That’s 4-5pm on Sunday 21st March 2010, Liffey Sound, 96.4fm in West Dublin, or online at


A perfect backdrop

Baldoyle Library

Have just come back from a great evening at Baldoyle Library, where I read from Shiprocked in aid of the RNLI.

A lovely building, right on the seafront, and they gave us a 1st floor room with a dramatic backdrop view of the sea, ideal for an offshore radio reading!

Next reading is Thursday 11th March, 6.30pm at Chapters Bookstore in Parnell St Dublin, where I’ll be reading from Shiprocked, as well as some new work.


Conway Comes Home to Caroline (for a day)

Steve Conway and Dave Foster on Radio Caroline, 7th March 2010

Have just had a wonderful weekend in the UK, which included returning to the airwaves of Radio Caroline for the first time in 11 years!

My old Caroline shipmate Dave Foster was having a 50th birthday party, which I didn’t want to miss, and great fun was had by all on Saturday night, with many Caroline staff and supporters attending.  I first met Dave when he was out on board the Ross Revenge with me in April and May 1987,at the height of the Caroline 558 era. We rekindled our friendship when he rejoined the station in 1998, as one of the small band who helped get the current-day satellite service started. He’s stayed with Caroline ever since, and also works for the BBC in a technical capacity.

After the party, Dave invited me to join him for his Sunday afternoon show on Caroline, and we had great fun going over the music of the past 5 decades, while sharing memories.

Caroline can be heard online at, or via Sky Ch. 0199.

Thanks to Dave and all involved for a memorable weekend!