Catherine Ryan Howard signs to Corvus and BBC and Iraq authors at Trinity

Lisa McInerney talks art; Joyce on film; Yeats at NLI; Pussy Galore’s return; John Boyne at Hay; and Magdalenes’ book launch

Corvus is to publish Distress Signals, the debut thriller by Catherine Ryan Howard in 2016. Howard, who was born in Cork in 1982, successfully self-published two light-hearted travel memoirs, and has since delivered seminars and led workshops on the subject for the Faber Academy in London, the Irish Writers’ Centre and Publishing Ireland. Since 2012 she has been working with Penguin Ireland as a freelance social media marketer. She has just finished her first year at Trinity College Dublin, where she is studying for a BA in English literature as a mature student. She blogs at

Howard said: “This really is a lifelong dream come true for me and I have proof: on my desk, I keep a photo of an eight-year-old me on Christmas morning, tapping away on the typewriter Santa brought while a Barbie van sits to the side. I’m so thrilled that Distress Signals has found the perfect home in Corvus. I have my agent Jane Gregory and her team to thank, and the English department at Trinity College Dublin to apologise to - because in all the excitement, there was very little studying done for my exams…

Sara O’Keeffe, Corvus’s editorial director, said: “I’m thrilled to be publishing Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut thriller. From the very first page I knew it was something special. This is a brilliantly clever novel – replete with strong plotting, great characterisation and a nail-biting denouement; a truly satisfying thriller from an exceptional new talent.”

Distress Signals has been described by her publisher as “The Girl on a Train meets Murder on the Orient Express”. When Adam’s girlfriend Sarah fails to return from a business trip he sets out to find her. Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship and to Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost a year before. To get the answers he must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah and he must try to outwit a murderer who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground.

Two artists and a writer

The Olivier Cornet Gallery presents Lisa McInerney, Kelly Ratchford and Emily Mannion: Writing, Painting and How to Kill Your Neighbour, a conversation between the written and visual arts, preceded by a wine reception, on Thursday, May 28th, at 6.30pm.

To complement their current exhibition, Salad Days, at the gallery, artists Kelly Ratchford and Emily Mannion are coming together in conversation with author Lisa McInerney. This meeting of the literary and visual world will draw parallels between the two practices as the author and artists discuss their inspiration their work, the coexistence of humour and darkness within their pieces and much more.

The three will also be open to questions from the audience, giving any new writer, artist or inquisitive fan a chance to pick the brains of this trio, gaining a comprehensive insight into their respective processes .

McInerney started a blog in 2006 documenting working class life on a Galway council estate. Titled The Arse End of Ireland, McInerney’s blog portrayed the rougher side of Ireland through her own brand of gleeful cynicism. She has now published her debut novel, The Glorious Heresies, with Joseph O’Connor in The Irish Times heralding Lisa as “the most talented writer at work today in Ireland”.

Ratchford uses mixed media on canvas, wood, paper and ready-made boxes to create images that allude to themes which are often uncomfortable and controversial. Despite Ratchford’s serious topics, her work is infused with a strong sense of endearment and humour as she incorporates her enthusiasm for colour, street art and pictures drawn by young children.

Mannion is an artist whose practice spans painting, drawing and sculpture. Mannion’s work looks at the juncture where reality and make-believe coexist and it concerns itself with the negotiation of the fragile space between experience and memory. Her work is filled with a colourful playfulness and an emotional pathos that connects with its viewer to leave a lasting statement.

This is a free event but booking is recommended – or phone 087 288 7261

BBC and Iraq authors at Trinity

US author and Iraq war veteran Phil Klay will read from his collection of short stories Redeployment at : IIIS Seminar Room, 6th Floor, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin, on Thursday, May 28th at 6pm.

Klay, who served in the US marine corps in Iraq, is part of a growing movement of US veterans of the Iraq war who are exploring their experiences of the front line through literature. His collection of short stories Redeployment, which takes readers to the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and explores the complex human dimensions of conflict, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014. It was also shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize.

The event, hosted by Trinity Centre for Post-Conflict Justice, seeks to explore the power of the arts to address the often unspoken psychological effects of conflict.

The BBC’s struggle to maintain independence and journalistic credibility during the propaganda war of Northern Ireland’s Troubles is the subject of a new book to be launched in Trinity College Dublin on Friday, May 29th.

The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’ Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland, by Robert Savage, professor of the practice of history at Boston College, uses recently released archival material from the BBC and a variety of UK government archives to explore the contentious relationship between broadcasting officials, politicians, the army, police and civil service from the outbreak of violence through to the 1980s.

Prof Savage completed the new publication while a visiting research fellow at the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute. The book will be launched in Trinity Long Room Hub at 6pm.

Focusing on the incessant wrangling between political elites, civil servants, military officials, broadcasting authorities and journalists about what should and should not be featured on the BBC’s regional and national networks, Prof Savage considers how the BBC’s broadcasts complicated the ‘Troubles’ by challenging decisions, policies and tactics developed by governments trying to defeat a stubborn insurgency that threatened national security.

Magdalene book launch

Survivors of Ireland’s Magdalene laundries are preparing up for a book launch at Dublin’s Mansion House on Friday, May 29th, at 7.30pm.

Whispering Hope, published by Orion, tells the story of five women, Nancy Costello, Kathleen Legg, Diane Croghan, Marie Slattery and Marina Gambold, who were confined in the Magdalene Laundries during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

According to co-author Steven O’ Riordan, “it’s a celebration of what the women achieved. It looks back at their lives and explains how they went from being victims to survivors and ultimately it allows people all over Ireland and indeed the world to understand how these women not only took on the Catholic Church, but the State too, and won.”

Kathleen Legg, survivor of the Stanhope Street institution, said: “I and the women are afraid no more. I feel a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I’m proud that this book tells the truth about what really happened.”

Nancy Costello said: “I was in four different Magdalene laundries. They were in Cork, Limerick, Wexford and Waterford. What I suffered was not only cruel but inhumane. I was left in the grotto by mother, or so I’m told, and I’ve never seen my parents from that day. I felt I was nobody, alone in the world, frightened and ashamed. The nuns destroyed me and all the girls I worked with. I spent almost 20 years in those institutions.”

“This is the first time I’ve ever opened up about my life. I think people will be horrified. People don’t know the half of what went on there. I’m just glad I found the courage to tell my story.”

Marie Slattery, who spent time in two Magdalene laundries in Cork and Dublin, said: “I was sexually abused when I was younger. I told my mother and she didn’t believe me. I was admitted to the Magdalene Laundry in Cork. It was hell on earth. I ran away and ended up in Dublin in another Magdalene laundry that wasn’t so bad. When I left I was raped, fell pregnant and ended up in a mother and baby home in Cork. I have never seen my child and that hurts me so much. I feel lost in the world but I’m glad I did this book as we must tell the truth. It’s my first time ever speaking about what happened to me.”

Mariana Gambold who spent two years in a Wexford Magdalene Laundry said: “It’s incredible to think that after all this time, our stories are out there and people are talking about us in a way I never imagined. We achieved justice and peace of mind. My husband died a few weeks ago and my heart poured out for him. He stuck by me all those years I felt ashamed. He was my soul mate and I only wish he was here to celebrate this book with me.”

Yeats at the NLI

The National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, is hosting a series of events in June to celebrate WB Yeats. The Joseph Hassett Yeats Lecture on Thursday, June 11th, 7pm, entitled Players and Painted Stage – the Drama of Yeats's Life , will be given by Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford, who will examine the life and work of WB Yeats. Free admission. Booking required at More information available at

The History Ireland Hedge School on Friday, June 12th, 7pm, features History Ireland editor Tommy Graham in a panel discussion on Yeats 150 with Roy Foster, Catriona Crowe and PJ Matthews, with readings by Theo Dorgan.

Free admission. Booking is not required.

Joyce on film

Actor and filmmaker Carl Finnegan is on the lookout for new Irish talent for his Joyce on Film series. He is now accepting applications from all actors and filmmakers for the project, which will see many of the stories from Dubliners and beyond updated to a contemporary setting. He has completed the first instalment, Two Gallants, which he produced, directed and acted in, and has two more stories in pre-production.

To help promote the series, Rose Finn Films will launch the Two Gallants free to view worldwide on Bloomsday and hold a public screening of Two Gallants' at Brooks Hotel Cinema, Drury St, on June 13th. This event is free but ticketed. To register interest in attending, contact

It stars Carl Finnegan (An Irish Father) as the womanising Corley, Alicja Ayres (The Canal, I used to live here) as the polish maid Magda and John Carey (Fair City) as the desperate Lenehan. It also features exclusive music from Fun Lovin’ Criminal Brian ‘Fast’ Leiser. Finnegan has just completed production of his second film, An Irish Father, where he performed opposite Gerard McSorley (Veronica Guerin, Braveheart) and Eleanor Methven (Becoming Jane).

“Our aim is to showcase new Irish filmmaking talent and introduce a new generation to James Joyce. Across our productions to date we’ve had award winning professionals and newcomers working together and this is a huge opportunity for the up and coming filmmaking talent we have in Ireland. I want each story in the film series to have a different style and interpretation”. says Finnegan.

Actors and filmmakers who would like to apply to the company should contact

Watch the Two Gallants trailer

John Boyne’s ‘double-edged sword’

John Boyne has described having a book on a school syllabus as a “double-edged sword”. Speaking at Hay Festival, where he was awarded a prize in recognition of the popularity of his YA novel The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, told an audience that his niece had complained to him about his book after having to study it at school.

“It’s a double-edged sword. There’s one side of it which is that it’s wonderful, that not just in England but many countries that they use the book in school. I like the idea of it being used as an education tool. It makes me very proud.

“On the other hand, as a reader I’m not the type who wants to rip books apart as you described. I want to just read it and have my own response to it and enjoyment. Not study it inside and out. Teachers sometimes ask me how they can teach a particular section. And I don’t know. I didn’t write it as a text book, I wrote it as a novel.”

Anthony Horowitz revives Pussy Galore

Anthony Horowitz reveals today, on what would have been James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s 107th birthday, that his forthcoming official 007 adventure is to be titled Trigger Mortis. Horowitz divulges that the secret agent’s new adventure begins in 1957, two weeks after the events of Fleming’s Goldfinger. Horowitz places Bond in the middle of the Soviet-American space race as the US prepares for a critical rocket launch, and brings back the most famous Bond Girl of all: Pussy Galore.

Horowitz is the latest contemporary novelist to tackle literature’s greatest action hero, and the first to place his work directly within Fleming’s original canon. As well as Pussy Galore, the book features brand new Bond Girl Jeopardy Lane; Jai Seung Sin, a sadistic, scheming Korean adversary hell-bent on vengeance; and breathless, globe-trotting adventure. Uniquely among latter-day Bond authors, Horowitz has included original Ian Fleming material: a treatment for Murder on Wheels, an episode of a television series that was never made. Fleming’s text sees Bond in the high-octane world of motor racing and it is his never-used plot that kicks off the action of Trigger Mortis.

Horowitz said: “It was always my intention to go back to the true Bond, which is to say, the Bond that Fleming created and it was a fantastic bonus having some original, unseen material from the master to launch my story. I was so glad that I was allowed to set the book two weeks after my favourite Bond novel, Goldfinger, and I’m delighted that Pussy Galore is back! It was great fun revisiting the most famous Bond Girl of all - although she is by no means the only dangerous lady in Trigger Mortis. I hope fans enjoy it. My aim was to make this the most authentic James Bond novel anyone could have written.”

Trigger Mortis will be published on September 8th by Orion.

WH Smith man covers for Dubray

Former WH Smith books director Michael Neil will cover the maternity leave of Dubray Books’ managing director Maria Dickenson, the Bookseller reported. Neil, who left WH Smith last month, will be Dubray’s acting managing director from the beginning of August.

Galway writing classes

Over The Edge is running classes in advanced fiction writing with Susan Millar DuMars at 3 Carbry Road, Newcastle, Galway from Wednesday, June 17th, 7-9.30pm abd from Friday, June 19th, 2-4.30pm, for six weeks, each priced €120. Register at the Over The Edge website  or call 087-6431748 or email