In this Saturday’s Irish Times, Anne Enright writes about Nuala O’Faolain as her second memoir, Almost There, is reissued by New Island. There are obituaries of publisher Michael O’Brien and author Joan Lingard. And Bernadette Fallon retraces James Joyce’s footsteps on holiday in Zurich.
Reviews are Aidan Dunne on Catholica, the Visual History of Catholicism by Susanna Ivanic; John Quinn on Boy Friends by Michael Pedersen; Claire Hennessy on the best new YA fiction; Lucy Sweeney Byrne on two Peig Sayers reissues; Helen Cullen on After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz; Sinead O’Shea on Forgiveness: An Exploration by Marina Cantacuzino; Tanvi Roberts on Black and Female: Essays by Tsitsi Dangarembga; Philip O’Ceallaigh on Vladimir Sorokin’s Telluria and Their Four Hearts; Oliver Farry on The Edge of the Plain by James Crawford; Paschal Donohoe on The Poets’ Guide to Economics by John Ramsden; and Sarah Gilmartin on Eden by Jim Crace.
This Saturday’s Irish Times Eason book offer is the bestselling Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney, which you can buy with your newspaper for just €4.99, a saving of €5.
The 2022 Annual Seamus Deane Honorary Field Day Lecture will be given by political scientist Prof Brendan O’Leary on September 3rd at 7pm in Derry Playhouse.
The lecture, entitled Key Choices in Irish Reunification, will coincide with the publication of O’Leary’s forthcoming book, Making Sense of a United Ireland.
O’Leary is the Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author, co-author and co-editor of more than 30 books, and the author or co-author of hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He is known in particular for his three-volume study, A Treatise on Northern Ireland. He has served as a political advisor to governments and international organisations around the world.
Held in honour of Seamus Deane, a native of Derry and one of Ireland’s greatest writers and critics, the Seamus Deane Honorary Field Day Lectures, inaugurated in 2015, aim to provide a platform for provocative debate about Ireland and its future.
In theatre Tickets £12; Online Tickets £10 (available to watch back for 7 days). Book here.
The Liam & Tom O’Flaherty Society is celebrating its 10th annual Inis Mór summer festival, Féile na bhFlaitheartach, on the last weekend in August, a two-day féile packed with events.
Féile na bhFlaitheartach is one of the few fully inclusive Irish bilingual festivals, with mainlanders joining islanders in a joint celebration of Liam and Tom O’Flaherty. Marking its centenary, this year’s féile will focus on the Irish Free State and the O’Flaherty brothers as well as on the Civil War in Connemara. On Saturday, August 27th, chairperson Éamon Ó Ciosáin will open the festival at noon in Kilmurvey House, to be followed by the keynote lecture The novels of Liam O’Flaherty - the Free State in the dock by academic Jenny Farrell, who has written extensively on the novels of Liam O’Flaherty from a Marxist perspective.
The second event of the day will take place in the nearby Garden of Remembrance, adjacent to the former O’Flaherty homestead. In a session hosted by Seosamh Ó Cuaig, the Society will first pay tribute to the life and work of Liam’s recently deceased daughter Pegeen O’Sullivan. Following this Máirín Mhic Lochlainn will premiere her own translation into Irish of ‘The Sniper’, the first time this famous short story about the Civil War will be heard in Irish on O’Flaherty’s home island. Jim Ward will then read extracts from Tom’s journalism commenting on the times in English.
The evening events will start off with a film screening and dedicated to the memory of Tomás Mac Síomóin, who died in February and who undertook the most significant task of republishing those three of O’Flaherty’s banned novels that had never been brought out again since their first edition, thereby making them available for the first time in Ireland. They are the Galway novel The House of Gold, the social satire Hollywood Cemetery and the Irish Civil War novel The Martyr. The event will be hosted by Éamon Ó Ciosáin and will include readings from Mac Síomóin’s own work and his accomplished translations into English of Inis Mór writer Máirtín Ó Direáin’s poetry. Among the readers will be Tomás’ daughter Seónaidh Ní Shíomóin. The tribute will be accompanied by sean nós singing and traditional music.
At the féile’s traditional Sunday midday session in Tí Joe Mac, Cill Rónáin, historian Cormac Ó Comhraí, author of ‘Revolution in Connacht: a photographic history’ and other books, will give in a bilingual lecture, hosted by Seosamh Ó Cuaig, about the Civil War in Connemara.
On Thursday, August 18th, at 12.30pm, Lord Mayor of Cork Deirdre Forde will unveil a commemorative sound installation — the Poetry Jukebox — outside Cork City Library, Grand Parade. The jukebox contains recordings of 20 poems relating to the complex history of Ireland during the War of Independence and Civil War including work by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Leanne O’Sullivan, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Michael D Higgins and more. Members of the public will be able to listen to any poem at the press of a button and the jukebox will be in place until November.
At the launch, Munster poets Eibhlis Carcione, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Victoria Kennefick, and Deborah Oniah will read their work. All are welcome.
The installation is part of the Poetry as Commemoration project led by the Irish Poetry Reading Archive at UCD Library and supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme. The project, which also includes new poetry commissions and an island-wide series of writing workshops, invites communities to turn to poetry as a way of understanding the challenges of the past and the possibilities of the future. Project partners include Quotidian - Word on the Street, Poetry Ireland and Arts Council Northern Ireland. Coming soon: Poetry as Commemoration Writing Workshops with Thomas McCarthy in Cork City Library
The search is on to find the An Post Irish Book of The Year for 2022! After a hugely successful inaugural year in 2021, the category is now back for the second year running in the An Post Irish Book Awards, the annual literary event that celebrates and promotes Irish writing.
The category is designed to acknowledge the significant role played by independent bookshops across the country in helping their local communities to find and savour the titles of their choice. The new category was unveiled last year and thousands of votes were cast. The 2021 winners were Kennys Bookshop. Voting is open until Friday, September 2nd, at 5pm. Visit anpost.com/bookshopoftheyear
Red Line Festival is calling on aspiring poets to submit their work for its 2022 poetry competition.
Now in its tenth year, the prestigious Red Line Poetry Competition attracts hundreds of entries from all across the island of Ireland annually. This year’s judge is award-winning poet Jessica Traynor.
The closing date for entries is September 12th. The shortlist will be announced on October 3rd and the winners announced during this year’s Red Line Festival which runs from October 13th to 16th.
Entry forms and competition rules can be downloaded from redlinefestival.ie and southdublinlibraries.ie The winning poets will receive the following prizes: 1st Place €300, 2nd Place €200 and 3rd Place €100.