Paul Murray to be Trinity Long Room Hub 2024 Rooney Writer Fellow

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In The Irish Times this Saturday, Joseph M Hassett writes about WB Yeats’s social manoeuvrings after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 100 years ago this week. Alan McBride, co-author of A Brighter Side of the Troubles: Stories of Kindness and Compassion that Occurred During the Conflict in Northern Ireland, talks to Freya McClements. Jeanette Winterson, who is giving this year’s TS Eliot lecture at the Abbey Theatre, talks to Sara Keating about scientific advances’ ramifications for art, literature and the human race. David Doolin, author of A History of Rugby in Leinster, reflects on the game’s slow social evolution. And there is also a Q&A with Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, whose Selected Srtoires have just been published.

Reviews are Jessica Traynor on the best new poetry, while she, Martina Evans and Stephen Sexton select their favourite collections of 2023; Ann Scanlon on Too Much Too Young: The 2 Tone Records Story: Rude Boys, Racism and the Soundtrack of a Generation by Daniel Rachel; Edel Coffey on Water by John Boyne; Terence Killeen on Peter Brown’s autobiography, Journeys of the Mind; Bill Barich on The American Beast: Essays, 2012-2022 by Jill Lepore; Barry Houlihan on Life at Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy & Ethel Crowley; Ray Burke on First Quarter by John Tuomey; Paschal Donohoe on Ruben Andersson and David Keen’s Wreckonomics: Why It’s Time to End the War on Everything; Nathan Dunne on Samantha Harvey’s Orbital; Rachel Andrews on Lean on Me: A Politics of Radical Care by Lynne Segal; Catherine Dunne on The City of the Living by Nicola Lagioia; Brian Maye on The Diaries of Kathleen Lynn edited by Mary McAuliffe and Harriet Wheelock; Fergus Mulligan on Pilgrim Soul: A Life of WB Yeats by Dan Mulhall; and Sarah Gilmartin on Shakespeare by Judi Dench.

This weekend’s Irish Times Eason offer is Last Christmas at Ballyclare by Emily Bell. You can buy it with your paper for just €5.99, a €5 saving.

Paul Murray has been appointed as the Trinity Long Room Hub 2024 Rooney Writer Fellow.


The fellowship, which will begin in January, will see him engage with the themes and community of the Institute, and the wider partner schools in the Arts and Humanities. He will continue work on a novel for younger readers but will use the residency opportunity to begin research on a novel for adults.

Speaking about his upcoming fellowship, the author commented: “One of the most exciting moments for a writer is the chance conversation that sparks off a new idea, which sometimes becomes a whole new novel. In the past I’ve benefited enormously from speaking to academics and researchers about their work, and I feel being part of the Long Room Hub community, surrounded by brilliant and passionate scholars, will be a wonderful opportunity for me.”

A Trinity College Dublin graduate of English and Philosophy, Paul Murray is the acclaimed author of four novels. An Evening of Long Goodbyes (2003) was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award. Skippy Dies (2010) was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and, in the US, the National Book Critics’ Circle Prize. The Mark and the Void (2015) won the Bollinger Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and was one of Time Magazine’s ten best fiction books for 2015. His latest book The Bee Sting was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and recently won the An Post Novel of the Year award.


Sean and Oisin Scully will launch their children’s book Jack The Wolf in Ireland with a reading followed by a book signing on Saturday, December 16th at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin at 1.45pm and Tales for Tadpoles, Bray, at 5pm.

Sean Scully is a world-renowned abstract painter and one of the leading artists of his generation, whose work is held in major museum collections around the world. For Jack the Wolf, he has teamed up with his son Oisin to create a children’s fairytale, about a benevolent wolf with a weakness for chocolate. Sean created the paintings and Oisin created the story for this enchanting father-son collaboration.

A substantial Irish delegation of writers, musicians and publishers represented Ireland at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (November 25th-December 3rd) in Mexico, organised by Literature Ireland and Harp Ireland with support from Culture Ireland.

Irish writers Colm Tóibín, Naoise Dolan, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, Louise Nealon and Megan Nolan presented their latest books and discussed their writing on a global stage, engaging with writers from across Mexico, Central and South America. Irish publishing was represented by Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe (Skein Press), Elizabeth Goldrick (Little Island Books), and Micheál Ó Conghaile (Cló Iar Chonnacht).

The Guadalajara book fair is the third largest book fair in the world with a footfall of over 800,000 people across nine days.

Sharon Barry, director of Culture Ireland, said: “The designation of the EU as the Guest of Honour at this year’s Guadalajara Book Fair has enabled Culture Ireland to support a substantial Ireland presence at this year’s event. Undoubtedly, this year’s attendance will provide valuable insights which will inform our activity in the region for years to come.”

Sinéad Mac Aodha, director of Literature Ireland, said: “The Spanish language is the fourth most spoken language in the world with over 350 million speakers in Latin America. Our aim with this showcase is to invite the hundreds of translators and publishers who attend the fair to look more closely at Irish literature and ultimately to publish it. The addition to the programme of two magnificent Irish harpers, Seamus Ó Flatharta and Siobhán Armstrong with the participation of Harp Ireland, enhances our national presence and enriches our cultural offering at this important event.”


Jon Ransom and Julia Armfield were announced as the winners of the 2023 Polari Prizes. Ransom took home the Polari First Book Prize for his mesmerising tale of grief and love, The Whale Tattoo (Muswell Press) and Julia Armfield received the Polari Book Prize for her hypnotic and haunting deep-sea romance, Our Wives Under the Sea (Picador). The Polari Prizes are the UK’s only awards celebrating literature exploring the LGBTQ+ experience.

This year, both winning titles explore complex landscapes and elusive narratives that ask the reader to imagine all possibilities, build new stories and inspire hope; expanding on what LGBTQ+ literature can be.

Julia Armfield’s Our Wives Under the Sea triumphed against work by renowned authors including such as Edward Enninful and Douglas Stuart. In her spellbinding novel, Armfield reckons with love, loss and what life there is in the deep, deep sea.

Paul Burston, the prize founder, said: “In their different ways, both of this year’s winning books expand our understanding of what LGBTQ+ literature can and should be. These are novels which entertain, seduce and provoke thought. They take us out of ourselves and invite us to explore other worlds. They’re also books full of promise. I can’t wait to see what this year’s winning writers do next.”


Dingle Lit launches a short story competition to find the next generation of writers in Ireland. The judges are Nicole Flattery, Anna Stein and Camilla Dinkel for the entrants in English with Cathal Póirtéir judging the entrants in Irish. Full details and entry guidelines are available on

Following the success of Dingle Lit 2023, which was attended by over 2,000 people, the organisers of the festival have announced a new writing competition for books lovers. The Dingle Lit Short Story Competition, in partnership with Dingle Distillery, invites short story writers to submit work in English or Irish. The award is open to all writers on the island of Ireland at the time of submission. Writers are invited to submit previously unpublished work. Entries will be accepted from today, through to midnight on Thursday, February 29th, 2024.

Author Nicole Flattery said, “I’m delighted to be a judge on the Dingle Lit Short Story Competition. I’m excited to discover new, original and surprising work, and look forward to discussing these stories with my fellow judges.”

The winner of the Irish competition will receive a week’s retreat in the West Kerry Gaeltacht. The winner of the English competition will get a week at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Each Runner Up will receive €250 and a place on a Dingle Lit writing workshop in 2024, and the third prize for each category will be €100 and a place on a Dingle Lit writing workshop in 2024.

Furthermore, the winners’ and runner-ups’ submission will be featured on and extracts from the winning short stories will be featured in 2024 Dingle Lit festival brochure. The winners will also be invited to to read from their work during next year’s Dingle Lit Festival.


The National Concert Hall hosts three celebrated and popular writers as part of its Talk Series for 2024 namely: award-winning author and broadcaster Elizabeth Day in Confessions of a Friendaholic (13th March); American writer Armistead Maupin as he celebrates the tenth novel in the Tales of the City series - Mona of the Manor (20th March) and UK author and broadcaster Jon Ronson in ‘Ronson’s Psychopath Night 2024′ (14th November).