Under the advisement of Sally Shivnan, I will be writing a novella-length historical tale of Irish Catholics under the penal laws imposed by English Protestants beginning in the 17th century. The Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke described the laws as “a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.” In addition to reading the relevant histories, I’ll also be familiarizing myself with the Irish language and its attendant philosophies in order to craft a story that illuminates this historical moment from the perspective of small people—tillers, laborers, and tinkers.