Peter Swanson: ‘Goldfinger by Ian Fleming... was the first adult book I read. It was filled with sex and violence and it was a real page turner. I thought: Where can I get more books like this?’

Peter Swanson is the author of two novels, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, and The Kind Worth Killing (Faber & Faber, £14.99). His poems, st(...)

On Christmas Eve 2014, in the company of a dear friend, I attended the carol service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. This has become a long-stan(...)

A sign at the Spanish Arch in Galway city urging people not to feed the swans.

When the British Labour party politician Alan Johnson recently played out his fantasy role as “king for a day” in the Guardian, his plan for a better(...)

Philip Larkin on reading his poetry to audiences: ‘I don’t want to go around pretending to be me.’ Photograph: Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

‘For poetry readings, the general rule is that if the poet is outnumbered it is a success.” This remark by the poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch infor(...)

Seamus Heaney’s inclusion as an Unseen Poet on Paper 2 this year has been  described by many students as “just cruel”.  Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Examiners sent Seamus Heaney astray again this Leaving Cert, as the poet turned up on the Unseen Poetry section and not in Prescribed Poetry - as many(...)

Rick Gekoski is an art collector, constantly on the lookout for rare or missing works. His passion for collecting has led him to ponder the nature of (...)

Heli

When, in the early stages of this harsh, nihilistic depiction of life in contemporary Mexico, a young girl happens upon a cute little puppy, inform(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

Recent poetic interventions on RTÉ Radio 1 to celebrate the One City One Book programme are likely to have intrigued and beguiled listeners. Readers o(...)

The news this month that Amtrak, the US rail operator, is to introduce writers-in-residence on its 15 long-distance routes reminds us of the li(...)

Michael Harding at Lough Allen, Co Leitrim. Photograph: Brian Farrell

I was in a cheap cafe one morning recently, eating eggs and sausages, when a text surfaced on my phone saying that an old friend had died. All around (...)