An Impac on the global stage right here in Dublin

 

LOOSE LEAVES:That parochial European business going on in Poland and Ukraine may be distracting, but don’t forget that on Wednesday, here in Ireland, a global contest will be decided when the world’s largest literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English is bestowed: the International Impac Dublin Literary Award.

This year, unusually, there are no Irish contenders to root for (unlike 2011, when the winner was Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, below), but the 10 writers on the shortlist for the €100,000 prize are an imaginative mix of newcomers (Jon Bauer, Karl Marlantes), established names (David Bergen, Jennifer Egan, Aminatta Forna, Jon McGregor, Tim Pears, Willy Vlautin) and translated authors (the Brazilian Cristavao Tezza and the Israeli Yishai Sarid).

The prize, adjudicated by a panel of judges from six countries, will be presented at the Mansion House in Dublin by the lord mayor, Anthony Montague, who says: “This is a shortlist of high-quality literature . . .These 10 novels have been shortlisted from a total of 147, nominated by 162 public-library systems in 45 countries worldwide, and represent the best of readers’ recommendations.” Now that’s what I call a qualifying round.

String of recitals for Joyce’s restored guitar

If you’re a guitar in need of restoration, having James Joyce as a previous owner is an advantage. Dating originally from around 1830, Joyce’s guitar features in a well-known photograph of the writer taken in 1915 in Zurich by his friend Ottocaro Weiss, who claimed to be scandalised by Joyce’s playing. Then, in the late 1930s, Joyce gave the instrument to another friend, Paul Ruggiero, who eventually donated it to the Joyce Museum in Sandycove in 1966. In March 2012 the guitar was restored to its earlier glory by the luthier Gary Southwell.

Now Fran O’Rourke, who sponsored the restoration, will attempt to recoup the cost by giving five lunchtime recitals accompanied by John Feeley on the restored guitar. O’Rourke, a professor of philosophy at UCD, will be singing traditional songs with a Joyce connection. The recitals will take place at Newman House, 86 St Stephen’s Green, from June 11th to 15th at 1.05pm. Tickets, which cost €10, can be bought, if still available, at the door, or in advance from Dublin Writers’ Museum; the James Joyce Centre; Sweny’s Pharmacy in Dublin 2; the Secret Book and Record Store, also in Dublin 2; and the campus bookshop at UCD.

You can play your part in the Ulysses relay

On Bloomsday itself – next Saturday – Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council’s writer in residence, Chris Binchy, will be organising a filmed relay reading of Ulysses, taking in locations in Sandycove, Dalkey and Dún Laoghaire. Binchy is looking for members of the public to be filmed reading short sections of the novel, clips that will then be uploaded immediately to a website to form a document of the day. To take part, contact Binchy at dlrwriter@gmail.com.

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