Liz Nugent up for top crime prize

Books newsletter: a wrap of the latest news and a previee of Saturday’s pages

Liz Nugent has been shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2024

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In The Irish Times this Saturday, Marian Keyes, Paul Howard and John Boyne tell Róisín Ingle what they think of AI imitation’s of their writing. Declan Burke lists some of the great portrayal of artificial intelligence, from The Terminator to Frankenstein. Arthur Mathews writes about his history of the life and death of Kevin O’Higgins: Walled in by Hate: The Friends and Enemies of Kevin O’Higgins. And there is a Q&A with Aimée Walsh, Belfast-born author of the highly rated debut novel Exile.

Reviews are Christopher Kissane on Spice: The 16th Century Contest that Shaped the Modern World by Roger Crowley; Seamus Martin on The Language of War by Oleksandr Mykhed; Edel Coffey on All Fours by Miranda July; Declan Burke on the best new crime fiction; Declan Hughes on The Playbook by James Shapiro; Niamh Jiménez on All the Lonely People by Sam Carr; Cauvery Madhavan on Thank You Mr Crombie: Lessons in Guilt and Gratitude to the British by Mihir Bose; Sean Sheehan on The Avant-Gardists by Sjeng Scheijen; Gemma Tipton on All That Glitters by Orlando Whitfield; Eilís Ni Dhuibhne on Bright I Burn by Molly Aitken; Ruby Eastwood on Private Rites by Julia Armfield; and Sarah Gilmartin on Godwin by Joseph O’Neill.

A Thread of Violence by Mark O’Connell is this weekend’s Irish Times Eason offer, just €5.99 with your newspaper, a €5 saving.

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Liz Nugent has been shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2024 for her latest novel, Strange Sally Diamond. The shortlist includes two former winners, Mark Billingham for The Last Dance and Mick Herron for The Secret Hours. The other writers in the running are Jo Callaghan for In the Blink of an Eye; William Hussey for Killing Jericho; and Lisa Jewell for None of This is True.


The Val McDermid Debut Award 2024 shortlist features Crow Moon by Suzy Aspley; Dark Island by Daniel Aubrey; Knife Skills for Beginners by Orlando Murrin; Mrs Sidhu’s Dead and Scone by Suk Pannu; The Library Thief by Kuchenga Shenjé and Deadly Animals by Marie Tierney.

The winners of both awards will be announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, Yorkshire, on July 18th.

Michael Longley and Olivia O'Leary

Cape Poetry is publishing Ash Keys: New Selected Poems to mark Michael Longley’s 85th birthday on July 27th. Ahead of that, Olivia O’Leary will present a series of The Essay on BBC Radio 3: Michael Longley’s Life of Poetry from July 8th to 12th, at 9.45pm each evening.

The conversation ranges from Longley’s love of jazz and the classics and the influential group of poets that emerged in Northern Ireland in the 1960s, to poems of the first World War and the Troubles, to poems of nature, love and ageing. This conversation is anchored by readings from Longley’s Ash Keys and earlier collections.


Colm Tóibín, internationally acclaimed Irish author and current Laureate for Irish Fiction has released a sequel to Brooklyn, which has topped the bestseller charts for the past three weeks, Long Island, and will be in conversation with Mary Conway, Waterford City and County Librarian at Dungarvan Library at 7pm this evening. While this event is free, booking is required by calling Dungarvan Library on 058 21141.


IMRAM, the Irish language literature festival has issued an open call  inviting artists and curators to submit proposals for new literature projects which could be part of their festival programme in 2025.

Liam Carson, IMRAM’s founder and artistic director, said: “We particularly welcome proposals from marginalised groups in Ireland, including new Irish communities, Travellers and people with disabilities.  We are excited about the possibility of working with artists and curators from these communities and look forward to seeing where their imaginations bring us, to embarking with them on a new voyage of discovery into Irish language literature and contemporary arts practice.”

The projects should be rooted in Irish language literature and IMRAM  will provide a budget of between €500 and €5,000. Those interested are asked to submit a description of the project, information regarding the writers/artists who will be involved (maximum of 1,000 words) and an estimated budget to by July 31st. A mentor may be provided if IMRAM and the artist think that it is necessary.


The American Association of Australasian Literary Studies has awarded the 2024 AAALS Creative Writing Poetry Prize to Anne Casey for X-ray. The award-winning work will be published in Antipodes. Casey recently finished her doctoral thesis in archival poetics, which includes a poetry collection exploring the lives of the children of Irish famine immigrants in Australia (to be published by Salmon). She was also very recently shortlisted for the London Magazine Poetry Prize 2024 and highly commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition 2024. She has also won the American Writers Review Prize and Henry Lawson Poetry Prize.


Following a national call-out, writers from across the island of Ireland have been awarded places on the Irish Writers Centre National Mentoring Programme 2024: 39 writers, from a total of 416 applicants, will receive literary mentoring over the next eight months from an acclaimed Irish writer of their choice.

Running since 2017, the programme has numerous published authors among its alumni, including Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Fíona Scarlett, Will Keohane, Alice Kinsella and Orla Mackey.


The Irish Heritage Trust and Poetry Ireland today celebrated the commencement of conservation works at 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin. This significant project marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Georgian building, which will become an inclusive cultural centre dedicated to celebrating and sharing Irish poetry, heritage and culture with the public.

Expected to complete next summer, the refurbishment is led by conservation architects McCullough Mulvin and managed by the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent, non-profit organisation, in partnership with Poetry Ireland, the national poetry organisation. A comprehensive programme of works will make this building universally accessible for all for the first time. This includes conservation in the unique council chamber on the first floor known from James Joyce’s short story Ivy Day in the Committee Room in his collection Dubliners (1914).

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