Irish fiction

Fab Four for Phizzfest!

No, it's not a Beatles tribute band - but I couldn't resist the alliterative headline - the 'Fab Four' are four fabulous Irish writers for children and young people; Pauline McLynn, Conor Kostick, Brian Gallagher and Anna Carey, all appearing in the Phibsboro' area during Phizzfest, the voluntary community arts festival running 1st - 9th September 2012.

DUBLIN WRITERS FESTIVAL

Dublin_Writers_Festival

This week the Dublin Writer's Festival is taking place from June 4th - 10th.

There's a taste of everything from philosophy and fiction to poetry, music, film,discussions and workshops. Writers from home and abroad take part in the events. There are some interesting readings and creative writing workshops for children also. It is well worth having a look!  

Of James and John

Mural in Cannery Row - the only remains of the fish canneries today

As Dublin: One City, One Book 2012 draws to a close and we come to the end of 'Dubliners', I am thinking back to last month when I was in California and stopped in Monterey at Cannery Row. This is the background of one of my favourite authors, John Steinbeck, and set me thinking about these writers and where they come from.

James Joyce and John Steinbeck - both world renowned writers, both part of the very fabric of their home place, and both the authors of seriously weighty, literary novels.

Steinbeck had his first success with a lighter work, 'Tortilla Flat', a series of humorous stories about the paisanos who lived around the fish canneries of Monterey just after WW1.

Right: Mural in Cannery Row - the only remains of the fish canneries today.

Fiction and Fact (?????) for Musical Books.

Hello again,

this Month in Musical Books I have picked a great piece of fiction by Irish writer Claire Kilroy titled 'Tenderwire'.

tenderwireThe narrator, Eve Tyne is an Irish solo violinist who's life is turned upside down when she acquires a rare del Guso violin and is possessed by its sound and beauty.

The acquisition transforms her career and is almost symbolic of her private life which is spiralling out of control. This is a really well written fast paced read with some clever unexpected twists. Check it out.

LifeThe other one I've chosen is 'Life' by Keith Richards.

I was ill over Christmas and confined to bed so the size of this volume didn't put me off. Also I could not drink and the hardest thing I was consuming was lemsip so at least I could celebrate the festive season by proxy of Keith Richard's hell raising. 

Enright on Orange Prize Shortlist

The Forgotten WaltzYesterday saw the shortlist announcement for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction, the UK's annual book award for fiction written by a woman. In its 17th year, the Prize 'celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing throughout the world' (quote).

Included on the shortlist is 'The Forgotten Waltz', the story of an adulterous affair and the fifth novel by Irish writer Anne Enright. Enright, who has been nominated three times for the Orange award, won the Man Booker Prize in 2007 for her novel 'The Gathering'.

Other books on the shortlist include 'Half Blood Blues' by Canadian writer Esi Edugyan, 'Painter of Silence' by Britain's Georgina Harding, and three works by American authors - 'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller, 'Foreign Bodies' by Cynthia Ozick and 'State of Wonder' by Ann Patchett.

Bram Stoker Centenary

Bram StokerAlthough the Dublin: One City, One Book choice for April this year is James Joyce's 'Dubliners', it is timely to remember that the choice for April 2009 was 'Dracula' by Dublin-born writer Bram Stoker; timely because April 20th this year marks the 100th anniversary of Stoker's death (20th April, 1912).

About Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker was born in Dublin's Marino Crescent on November 8th, 1847. After an early life plagued by illness, he went on to graduate from Trinity in 1868 with a Masters Degree in mathematics. His early work life was as a civil servant in Dublin Castle, while he was at the same time a freelance journalist and theatre critic.

Eoin Colfer shortlisted for LA Times Literary Award

PluggedEoin Colfer shortlisted for LA Times Literary Award!! Why the exclamation marks you may ask? Well, Eoin, so well known as the author of the famous and best selling (and borrowed!) Artemis Fowl fantasy series of books for younger readers has been nominated in the adult mystery/thriller category!

Eoin's comedy crime caper 'Plugged', his first adult crime novel, was first published in May 2011 to positive reviews. It is the story of an Irish ex-army man Dan working as a bouncer in a seedy club in New Jersey, half in love with hostess Connie. When Connie is murdered on the premises, a vengeful Dan finds himself embroiled in an increasingly deadly sequence of events in which his doctor friend Zeb goes mysteriously missing and a cop-killing female cop becomes his only ally.

McCann and O'Connor Titles Featured Strongly in 2011

Ghost LightLet the Great World SpinTwo fiction titles that featured prominently in Dublin City Public Libraries during 2011 also featured very strongly when it comes to the list of most borrowed fiction titles in Irish libraries during the same year. Joseph O'Connor's 'Ghost Light', the selected title for the Dublin: One City, One Book initiative that took place in April 2011, was the most borrowed fiction title (adult and children combined) nationally, while 'Let the Great World Spin' by Colum McCann, the winner of the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (announced in June) was the tenth most borrowed adult fiction title nationally. This award, one of the most prominent of international literary prizes, is administered by Dublin City Public Libraries.

James Joyce Anniversary!

James Joyce(Reproduced with the permission of Dublin: One City One Book.)

Today, Thursday, 2nd February, is the 130th anniversary of the birth of James Joyce!

Arguably Ireland’s greatest literary genius and a leading proponent of modernism in fiction, James Joyce was born at 41 Brighton Square to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane Murray, and spent his earliest years there and in Castlewood Avenue. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College and at Belvedere College before going on to University College Dublin (on St Stephen’s Green), where he studied modern languages.

Right: James Joyce. Image of Joyce reproduced from the original glass negative held in UCD Library Special Collections by kind permission of Helen Solterer. (click image to enlarge)

Joyce left Ireland with Nora Barnacle in 1904, and was to spend the rest of his life in Italy and France, paying his last visit to Ireland in 1912. Joyce died in Zurich on the 13th January, 1941, and is buried in Zurich's Fluntern Cemetery.

Joyce's collection of short stories, Dubliners, and the choice for Dublin: One City, One Book 2012, was first published in 1914 by Grant Richards Ltd., London.

Harry Potter, Dublin style!

Children Save DublinDublin City Public Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature today, Tuesday 17th January, launched 'Children Save Dublin', the city’s first ever children’s citywide reading project.

Similar to the highly successful Dublin: One City One Book festival, but aimed at children from 4th and 5th classes, children across Dublin will be encouraged to read, talk about and have fun with the same book over January, February and March 2012.

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