Aiden Shortall’s book, ‘The Tree That Fell in Winter’, tells the story of his son, Daire, getting a cold during Christmas 2016, which turned into a nightmare, life-threatening infection, one which Daire survived. The Shortall family were plunged into this traumatic experience which they believe has changed them forever.
The new book will be launched in Ballinasloe Library on Saturday, February 9th at 2.15 pm by Athlone-based novelist Mick Donnellan, who is a native of Ballinrobe.
Aiden and his wife Elizabeth tragically lost their daughter Blathin who sadly passed away the day before Elizabeth’s pregnancy was induced. The couple have two other children, Colin and Aoife.
“We were dealing with a psychologist after Daire’s illness, and she told us to write down our feelings about what was happening as (a form of) therapy and I had always wanted to write a book anyway, and particularly after Blaithin had died,” said Aiden.
“I have felt like Blaithin was around me all the time anyway, and I talk to her as if she is really here, and I felt that I brought her to life in the book. The book tells the story about how Elizabeth and me and the family experienced and dealt with Daire’s illness,” he added.
Aiden said that he thought it might be interesting for people to see the family’s story from a man’s point of view, because it is rare enough for such stories to be told from the male perspective. Aiden was a student of Mick Donnellan’s Creative Writing course at Athlone Institute of Technology in 2018. Mick Donnellan has worked as a novelist, journalist, travel writer, teacher and playwright.