Loose Leaves

News from the world of books

Catherine Dunne: winner of  the Giovanni Boccaccio International Prize for Fiction for her  novel, The Things We Know Now. Photograph: Domnick Walsh

Catherine Dunne: winner of the Giovanni Boccaccio International Prize for Fiction for her novel, The Things We Know Now. Photograph: Domnick Walsh


Won in translation

Irish novelist Catherine Dunne has been awarded the Giovanni Boccaccio International Prize for Fiction for her last novel, The Things We Know Now. Previous winners include Vikram Seth, Muriel Spark and Mark Haddon.

Dunne generously gave 25 per cent of the €5,000 cash prize to her translator, Ada Arduini. Published in Italy last November as Quel che ora sappiamo, the novel became an instant bestseller. It was published in paperback in Ireland yesterday.

The Boccaccio Literary Society said of Dunne’s novel: “In her imaginative exploration of the most painful grief that anyone can endure – the loss of a child through suicide – Dunne excavates the subtleties of both the inexplicable and the unspeakable. She illuminates that lack of understanding and awareness that can inhabit even the strongest and closest of our human relationships.”

Dunne was born in Dublin and studied English and Spanish at Trinity College, Dublin. She is the author of nine novels including Missing Julia, Something Like Love, At A Time like This, and Set in Stone. She has also written about Irish immigration in An Unconsidered People: The Irish In Sixties London.

Country house drama

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a stately home, wishing to be in possession of a sophisticted reputation, must be in want of a literary event.

To that end, Salterbridge House, Cappoquin, Co Waterford, built in 1750, is marking the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice with a celebration of Jane Austen on Sunday, October 6th. Regency dress is optional, with a prize for the best dressed participants. For those loth to run the gauntlet of locals in more modern attire, changing rooms will be available for guests to complete their toilette on arrival.

Dr Sophia Hillen, author and lecturer on Irish literature, will speak about “Cassandra’s Star: Jane Austen’s nieces in Ireland. After an Austen-inspired three-course lunch, there will be an “unforgettable bouquet of amusing, tender and dramatic scenes from her much loved novels” entitled Ladies of Jane, Scenes from the Pen of Jane Austen. An Austen quiz completes the day. Bookings: 058 54952.

The children’s book

Dubray Books has published a second edition of Mad About Books (€2), its excellent guide to children’s books edited by Sarah Webb. It contains more than 400 book reviews and author interviews. The first edition, published in 2007, has become a valued reference book for many teachers, librarians and parents. The guide also includes advice on setting up book clubs and on encouraging children to read. Another chapter is devoted to finding books that deal with many issues faced by children and teenagers such as bereavement, divorce and bullying.

Digital first

Irish author Carmel Harrington has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins’s digital first romance imprint, HarperImpulse. Her novel, Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, was published earlier this month as an ebook but will be released in paperback later this year. Her second book, Sleep of Dreams, will be published in December.

Harrington initially self-published Beond Grace’s Rainbow as an ebook, winning a Kindle Peoples Book Award last March and a Bord Gais Boook Club recommended read.

Heaney memorials

The School of English, University College Cork, and UCC English Literature Society have organised an evening to celebrate the late Seamus Heaney’s life and work next Monday, September 30th, in the Aula Maxima, University College, Cork, from 8pm to 10pm.

Those taking part will include Paula Meehan, the new Ireland Professor of Poetry, and fellow writersThomas McCarthy, Mary Noonan, Matthew Sweeney, Gerry Murphy, Patrick Cotter and Theo Dorgan.

UCC academics, including Prof Alex Davis and Prof Patricia Coughlan, will also participate. Leanne O’Sullivan, the current writer-in-residence at UCC, will read, and UCC’s traditional artist-in-residence Iarla Ó Lionáird will perform. A short video made by the artist Maud Cotter to accompany Seamus Heaney’s well-known poem Postscript will be shown. All are welcome to attend but, as space is limited, please contact englishdepartment@ucc.ie

The Yeats Society will be hosting a day of remembrance for Seamus Heaney next Monday, September 30th, starting with a memorial Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo at 10.30am. The Yeats Memorial Building will be open from 11am until 3pm for people who may wish to recall memories, tell stories, recite poetry or watch a video of Heaney reading from his poetry during the 2013 summer school at the Hawks Well Theatre. There will also be an opportunity to sign a book of condolence which will be presented to the late poet’s family.

Online writing workshops
A new Irish start-up delivering live online writing workshops to creative writers worldwide launches this weekend. WritersWebTV.com has developed a world-first innovation in online education for writers by providing livestreamed interactive workshops to a global audience, featuring best-selling writers and industry professionals.

The one-day workshops are streamed live from a studio in Dublin. Authors interact with an in-studio audience of aspiring writers, who present their work for critique. Online viewers can communicate with those in the studio by using Twitter, Facebook or email. They can ask a question, take part in a workshop exercise, comment online and benefit from on-screen feedback from the authors in-studio.

The inaugural workshop, Writing for Children and Young Adults, will run this Saturday, September 28th, at writerswebtv.com with picture book authors and illustrators Marie Louise Fitzpatrick and Michael Emberley; Emmy award winning director Norton Virgien, of Brown Bag Films, and literary agent Polly Nolan. They will be joined by international bestselling authors Meg Rosoff and Oisín McGann. Other upcoming courses include Getting to the Heart of it: Writing Women’s Fiction on Tuesday, October 15th; Crime Pays: Writing Crime Fiction on Wednesday, October 30th; and Getting Published on Saturday, November 9th. Viewers can watch the full one-day workshops for free when they watch them live. If they want to download a workshop or watch it later, they can pay to keep the course.

New baby, new work

Young writer Grace Downes O’Reilly will read from her work including a poem about her new-born baby, Ben, and a short story as part of the Bray Art Show on Monday, October 7th, at the Martello Hotel, Bray, at 8pm. The show also features a pottery and wood-turning demonstration, contemporary dance and live music. Information: 01-2864623.

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