Kevin Barry book offer; Poetry Town laureates; Bookshop of the Year; IWC turns 30

A preview of Saturday’s pages and Irish-Language Book of the Year Awards

 

Kevin Barry’s That Old Country Music is this weekend’s Irish Times Eason offer. You can buy it along with your copy of Saturday’s Irish Times for just €4.99, a saving of €5. Our reviews are Geoff Roberts on Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War, 1931-1945 by Richard Overy; Niamh Campbell on Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett; Rónán Hession marks Women in Translation Month with six of the best; Sarah Gilmartin on Something New Under the Sun by Alexandra Kleeman; Derek Scally onTunnel 29 by Helena Merriman; Eugene O’Brien on Normal Sheeple by Ross O’Carroll-Kelly; John Self on Speak, Silence, a biography of WG Sebald by Carole Angier; Naoise Dolan on The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan; and Sara Keating on the best new children’s fiction.

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Titania’s Town by Newry author Peter Hollywood will be broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on August 27th. Hank likes to tell his grandchildren there are fairies living at the bottom of his garden, so he is affronted when he discovers a rat has invaded his back yard. Listen to it here next week.

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Poetry Ireland has announced the names of the Poet Laureates selected as part of the Poetry Town initiative, which will see more than 100 events take place in 20 towns across Ireland between September 10th and 18th.

Appointed by Poetry Ireland in conjunction with its local authority partners, the Poet Laureates have been commissioned to write a poem honouring and reflecting their town and its people.

The Poet Laureates are: Adare, Co Limerick: Edward O’Dwyer; Athenry, Co Galway: Elaine Feeney; Bailieborough, Co Cavan: Mairéad Donnellan; Ballycastle, Co Antrim: Kate Newmann; Bandon, Co Cork: Matthew Geden; Belmullet, Co Mayo: Anne Walsh Donnelly; Bray, Co Wicklow: Kayssie K.; Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim: Vincent Woods; Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary: Billy Fenton; Cootehill, Co Cavan: Noel Monahan; Dublin 1, Co Dublin: Rachael Hegarty; Dungarvan, Co Waterford: Áine Uí Fhoghlú; Dunshaughlin, Co Meath: Orla Fay; Ennistymon, Co Clare: Grace Wells; Listowel, Co Kerry: Dairena Ní Chinnéide; Mountmellick, Co Laois: Arthur Broomfield; Naas, Co Kildare: Mary O’Donnell; Strokestown, Co Roscommon: Noelle Lynskey; Tullamore, Co Offaly: Cormac Lally; Wexford Town, Co Wexford: Sasha Terfous.

Director of Poetry Ireland Niamh O’Donnell said: “We are delighted we could secure such a strong cohort of Poet Laureates for this exciting new poetry initiative, which has collaboration and communal experiences at its heart.

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A search is under way to find the An Post Bookshop of the Year for 2021. The category has been added to the upcoming An Post Irish Book Awards, the annual literary event that celebrates and promotes Irish writing.

The new category is designed to acknowledge the significant role played by independent bookshops and local book store chain branches .

Customers simply have to click onto anpost.com/bookshopoftheyear to submit their nomination for their favourite bookshop. They will also have the option to explain the reasons for their choice. Readers can also enter by scanning the QR code in their preferred bookstore and following the instructions. Everyone who votes will be entered into a draw to win a €100 book voucher.

Nominations close on August 31st. The overall winner will be revealed at the An Post Irish Book Awards on November 23rd.

Dermot Bolger
Dermot Bolger

The University of St. Thomas’s Center for Irish Studies has awarded the 25th Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Prize to Dermot Bolger. The poet, playwright and novelist has published nine collections of poetry, including a selected poems, That Which is Suddenly Precious, and edited numerous anthologies, including The Picador Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction. His 14 novels include The Journey Home, The Family on Paradise Pier, The Lonely Sea and Sky and, most recently, An Ark of Light. His debut play, The Lament for Arthur Cleary, received the Samuel Beckett Award.

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The Irish Writers Centre has unveiled a number of events and initiatives to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Founded in 1991, the Writers Centre is Ireland’s flagship resource organisation for writers, offering them the opportunity to connect with one another as part of a wide-reaching writing community and professional network.

It will be partnering with Kildare Libraries for a new Connections through Literature Programme. The first event takes place on August 21st. Campaigner and journalist Orla Tinsley will be joined by American writer G’Ra Asim for a discussion on punk, prose and cross-cultural synergies.

Susanne Dirks, acting chairperson of the Irish Writers Centre board of directors, said: “Supporting writers in their development is key to the thriving literary landscape we have in Ireland. In 1991, the Irish Writers Centre was founded as a flagship space for writers to connect with one another as part of a community, enabling writers to learn from one another and ensuring that writers could receive the necessary support to develop their creative writing.

“Through three decades of change and development in Irish literature, we are proud to say that 30 years on, these core motivations are still at the heart of our work. It is a privilege to partner with a host of great writers and organisations such as Kildare Libraries and Fingal Arts Department to highlight our 30th anniversary. These events and activities encompass a broad range of voices, and reflect the scope and ambition of the Irish Writers Centre’s vision. We look forward to sharing these activities as we continue to mark this fantastic 30 year milestone.”

Details here.

The shortlists for the Irish-Language Book of the Year Awards Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin (Book of the Year for Adults), Gradam Réics Carló (Book of the Year for Children) and Gradam de Bhaldraithe (Book of the Year for publications translated into Irish) have been announced by An tOireachtas, in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge.

The publishing houses shortlisted include Barzaz, An tSnáthaid Mhór, Cló Iar-Chonnacht, Cló Léann na Gaeilge, Coiscéim, Dalen Éireann, Éabhlóid, Futa Fata and Leabhar Breac. Two works were independently published by Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair and Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne. Full details of works are available at antoireachtas.ie.

“The increased volume and the exceptional standard of the works entered in the 2021 competition for the Irish Language Publishing Awards is indicative of a highly innovative and entrepreneurial performance from the publishing sector in Ireland at present”, said Máirín Nic Dhonnchadha, acting director of An tOireachtas. “By making a conscious decision to buy, read or gift an Irish-language book we can each play a part in supporting writers, artists and Irish industry, while enriching our own lives. The treasure trove of Irish-language books brought to the market over the last year is truly remarkable.”

The winners of the awards will be announced in early October. A collective prize fund of €17,000 will be awarded.

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