2013 Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist Announced

Women's Prize 2013 ShortlistThe shortlist for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction was announced this morning. Launched in 1996, and formerly the Orange Prize, the Women's Prize for Fiction is awarded to a female author who, in the opinion of the judges, has written the best, eligible full-length novel in English. The prize is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman.

Right: Shortlist titles. Click image to view larger version.

Women fiction writers have been getting a lot of good press these past two days, which is good to see. Today's announcement follows fast on the heels of yesterday's by literary magazine Granta of its once-in-a-decade list of the 20 Best of Young British Novelists(aged under 40), a list dominated for the first time by women. Read Granta list of top young novelists is female-dominated and international (Guardian)

Out of Europe, Into Africa, Laos, Australia, USA. Crime Reads

I bet most people are somewhat familiar with the film 'Out of Africa' (1985), starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, and which is based loosely on an autobiography by Karen Blixen, it first published in 1937. The setting is British East Africa, better known today as Kenya, a point which leads me nicely on to the first crime novel I want to tell you about here, it too based in Kenya. As you might by now have guessed this post does not include any books with a European setting. But change is good, no?

A Guide to the Beasts of East Africa'A Guide to the Beasts of East Africa4 stars is the only title I have yet read by Nicholas Drayson, and it is the sequel to 'A Guide to the Birds of East Africa'. The first thing to say about it is that if you like the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency books (McCall Smith), you should like this. Which I did, although I was initially slow to warm to it, probably because of its slower than what I am used to pace. But it has humour, style and interesting characters in its favour, and all helped to draw me more and more into the book with each page turning. The story like I said is based in Kenya, and around a number of different events and characters; Mr. Malik and his planning of the Asadi Club's annual safari, his daughter's impending marriage, a threat to the club's very existence, theft, political corruption, and the mystery surrounding a seventy-year old unsolved murder. The question: can Mr. Malik, who is of course a bit of a sleuth together with the help of lawyer Tiger Singh, unravel the mystery and save the day? An entertaining read this, I think you will like it. Regrettably, we do not have this title in our (Dublin City) libraries (horror!), for that I must apologise, I will ask for it to be purchased.

Strumpet City

Jim Larkin statueView Strumpet City Image Gallery

Strumpet City is one of the great Dublin novels. Focusing on the 1913 Lock-Out, its panoramic scope extends from the docks and slums of inner-city Dublin to the bourgeois domiciles of Kingstown. These images from the Dublin City Council Photographic Collection show the city as it was over fifty years later. Although the harrowing conditions Plunkett wrote about had largely vanished, the ‘glorified kip of a city’ he described remained recognisable throughout the twentieth century.

The 2013 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award Shortlist

10 novels have been shortlisted for the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award. The list includes City of Bohane by Irish author, Kevin Barry, five novels in translation from Japan, Iceland, Norway, The Netherlands and France, 1 British and 3 American novels.

Literary Award shortlist

Promotion Video for the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter

The Dublin City Library @ Parnell Square Cultural Quarter. The Dublin City Library will be a new kind of city library for the citizens of Dublin. A window on the world of knowledge and culture, a centre of learning and literature, a commune of research and reading and a hub of ideas and creativity.

The Dublin City Library @ Parnell Square Cultural Quarter

An exciting new destination for learning, literature, information and culture in Dublin.

Dublin City Library

What is the Dublin City Library?

The Dublin City Library will be a new kind of city library for the citizens of Dublin. A window on the world of knowledge and culture, a centre of learning and literature, a commune of research and reading and a hub of ideas and creativity.

Wilde thing, you make my heart Synge

Irish authorsApril is the month for Dublin City Council’s One City, One Book initiative – this year it’s Joseph Plunkett’s Strumpet City. This campaign drums up a huge amount of interest in its chosen book each year, and by extension in Irish literature generally; so if you enjoy each year’s nomination, keep the momentum going, and try other Irish authors: there are hundreds to choose from, so here’s a small selection of both classic and modern to whet your appetite.

Chinua Achebe, Grandfather of African Literature, Dies at 82

Things Fall ApartNigerian novelist and poet Chinua Achebe, often widely referred to as the father (or grandfather) of modern African literature, has died at the age of 82. He is probably best known for his first novel, 'Things Fall Apart', published in 1958, translated into 50 languages and which has sold over 10 million copies.

His early work focused on the social upheavals caused by colonialism in Africa, while his later works focused on the devastation brought upon Nigeria and Africa by military coups. "As a writer, broadcaster and lecturer Achebe served as a bridge between Africa and the West, and became a yardstick against which generations of African writers have been judged ever since." (Source: Reuters)

Favourite stories for 18th-century children

Robinson CrusoeWe all have our favourite books from childhood: fairy tales, Alice in wonderland, Paddington bear, Where the wild things are, The railway children, Matilda, The secret garden, The wind in the willows, Gulliver’s travels and Robinson Crusoe. These books affected us profoundly and maybe even changed our lives. But suppose we grew up in the 18th century, what could we have read? We would have had Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Gulliver’s travels (1726), in versions specially geared towards children, with simplified language and pictures. Fairy tales excited and terrified children then as now, and created fantasy worlds that adults did not always approve of.

CILIP Carnegie Greenaway Shortlist Announced Today!

CILIP Carnegie AwardThe CILIP Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenway Medal shortlists for 2013 have just been announced and the former includes award winning Irish writer of both adult and children's books, Roddy Doyle. 

The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually, was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919). Carnegie set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English speaking world. The Award is the oldest accolade for children's writing in the UK.

The Carnegie Medal shortlist is as follows (with links to library catalogue where title is in stock):