It is never easy following older siblings into a school: teachers invariably make repeated, glowing references to the senior members of the clan and implore the new arrival to ‘measure up’ to the family legacy; often these comparisons are nostalgia-tinged and fuzzy, owing more to the teacher’s futile attempts to stop the march of time than any real accounting of the decline of civilisation and the great houses of the past. But please do pity the Prasifka because in Catherine Prasifka’s case, she was following in the footsteps of William (2008) and John (2011), two students whom teachers were well entitled to wax about, poetically. Masterful debaters, stylish squash players, avante-garde musicians, trademark hair-flippers, budding political theorists… the Prasifiki (masculine, plural) left indelible marks on St. Conleth’s College: what more could the Prasifka (feminine, singular) do?
Well, in a phrase that she could especially appreciate, Catherine did indeed ‘catch them all’. Yes, that includes the 721 Pokemon that were in existence in 2014, but also so much more: Catherine established herself as a world class debater in her own right and, taking a more subtle tact than her firebrand brothers (on opposite sides off the barricades but both wielding Molotovs), she became her year’s resident writer and creative. Whether it was winning laurels at the Classics Speech Competition or consistently pushing the moribund composition ‘titles’ of LC English past papers to new, exciting places or taking home the venerable Woods Bowl for Anglo-Irish Studies on graduation night, Catherine did indeed follow in the family tradition, but she also extended it. And Catherine returned to spread the love of the word, teaching Creative Writing to a new generation of Conlethians and one who badly needed it: the Gameboy and the DS screens had mushroomed into something monstrous and Catherine was there to bring the kids back to the simple joy of creating something completely new by putting words on paper.
And, now, news is in that Catherine’s own papered words have gained publication and renown. Ellen Long, our Alumni Affairs correspondent, goes into detail with Catherine about her debut novel, None of This Is Serious, which has already earned rave notices in the literary press. We know that this means Catherine is now writing for bigger audiences but we are also sure that she will remember us at St. Conleth’s and look forward to the triumphant return of the published Prasifka.