Children’s Books Ireland Awards; AIS creative writing award; Irish Times Eason offer

Galley Beggar Prize; new book on Joyce; UCD writers’ series; One Dublin One Book

Alice Kinsella

Alice Kinsella


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is this weekend’s Irish Times Eason offer. When you buy this newspaper at any branch, you can also purchase this bestselling novel for €4.99, a saving of €5.

In Saturday’s Irish Times, Naoise Dolan, Women’s Prize-longlisted author of Exciting Times, talks to Rosita Boland. Reviews are Lucy Sweeney Byrne on Corpsing by Sophie White; Edel Coffey on Redder Days by Sue Rainsford; Mia Levitin on In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale; Claire Connolly on Seatangled by Nicholas Allen; Michael Cronin on The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen; Emily Cooper on Katherine Angel’s Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent; Sarah Gilmartin on Empty Houses by Brenda Navarro, translated by Sophie Hughes; and Martina Evans on the best new poetry.


Alice Kinsella, from Claremorris, Co Mayo, has won the first All Ireland Scholarships Alumni creative writing competition award, worth €1,000. The competition was open to all recipients of the All-Ireland Scholarship Award, sponsored by JP McManus, since its inception in 2008.

Her short story, Window, about the unique connection between mother and newborn son, was unanimously chosen by judges Sinéad Gleeson, Donal Ryan and Joseph O’Connor from a shortlist of 12 entries narrowed down from the almost 100 submissions.

The judges said: “Window by Alice Kinsella is an exquisitely nuanced and original piece of writing. It reveals an accomplished and beautifully crafted style with mesmerising attention to detail and a real gift for depicting the specificity of human experience. The descriptions and preoccupations of the narrator are utterly captivating, and the atmosphere of the narrative is compelling, clever, tender and wise.”

Kinsella was awarded an All-Ireland Scholarship in 2011 after completing her Leaving Certificate in Balla Secondary School, Co Mayo. She went on to study English literature and philosophy at Trinity College.


Author Niamh Campbell is hosting several Zoom conversations with writers in her capacity as writer in residence at UCD from the end of the month. Style is the writer’s ghost in the language machine: a series of decisions about what to write and how to write it which is both unconscious and deliberate. With this series Campbell is delighted to invite eight writers to describe and discuss their process, craft, and the context of contemporary life – a world mediated by the internet, ruminating on recent history, making room for new stories, or pushing back against these – in relation to their work and their sense of style. They will talk about possible selves, multiple selves, found or concrete iterations of ‘self’; the self online, the self on drugs, the embodied or disembodied self; destruction, confession, reconstitution, and the experience of launching a debut. The event link is here.


Princeton University Press is to publish James Joyce: A Political Life by barrister and historian Frank Callanan, which it claims will be a “significant augmentation” of Richard Ellmann’s biography and reinstate Joyce’s political edge.

“Callanan’s work is a major biographical re-interpretation of Joyce from the perspective of his politics, that retrieves the consistently neglected brilliance, acuity, and coherence of Joyce’s treatment of politics and modelling of history. His conceptualisation of the political has outlasted his own era and speaks to the ideological disenchantments of our time.”

Callanan said: “I am pleased to be published by Princeton, with whose list this political and intellectual biography is a very good fit.”


Single Sit by Edward Hogan has won the 2020/21 Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize.

Sam Jordison, co-director of Galley Beggar Press, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to our wonderful judges Catherine Taylor, Sam Fisher and Eley Williams for their diligent reading and for making the prize this year such a thoroughly enjoyable process.”

Taylor said: “It has been sheer joy to have shared lively and invigorating discussions around such an impressive set of short stories. In Edward Hogan’s ‘Single Sit’ - which, like several others, stood out from the beginning - the narrative arc is never forced and the story works beautifully and unexpectedly on many levels, with not a word wasted. A real accomplishment.”

Hogan is the author of several novels including The Electric, Blackmoor, and The Hunger Trace. His recent short stories have also been longlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award, and shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Prize, and the Manchester Fiction Prize.


The shortlist for this year’s KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards has been revealed, giving an impressive and powerful picture of the status of contemporary Irish children’s literature. The shortlist includes a collection of folk tales rooted in the oral tradition of the Irish Traveller community, a picturebook in the Irish language, and two historical novels – one set in Dublin during the 1913 Lockout, the other in Belfast in 1921 during the partition of Ireland. The selection is made up of a spread of books for young readers of all ages – from picturebooks to young adult novels, and of the eight shortlisted titles, five are published by independent Irish publishers.

The winners to be announced at an online ceremony on May 25th by broadcaster Rick O’Shea as part of International Literature Festival Dublin. Taking the role of Young Judge for this year is Sarah Fitzgerald (17) from Kinsale, who has read 99 books as part of the judging process.

The shortlisted titles are:

Hope against Hope written by Sheena Wilkinson

Míp written by Máire Zepf and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly

Savage Her Reply written by Deirdre Sullivan and illustrated by Karen Vaughan

The Boldness of Betty written by Anna Carey

The Falling in Love Montage written by Ciara Smyth

The Haunted Lake written and illustrated by P.J. Lynch

The Monsters of Rookhaven written by Pádraig Kenny illustrated by Edward Bettison

Why the Moon Travels written by Oein DeBhairduin illustrated by Leanne McDonagh


Dublin City Council is inviting people all over the city to take part in the annual One Dublin One Book campaign by reading the same book this April. This year’s chosen title is Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession (Bluemoose Books).

Dublin City Libraries have put together a range of free online public events throughout April which will see author Rónán Hession take part in public discussions, interviews and live webinars online. Writers Donal Ryan and Alex Barclay, actor Emmet Kirwan and musician Brigid Mae Power all feature in the programme. Rónán Hession will also perform music from his three albums released under the name Mumblin’ Deaf Ro and discuss his move from music to writing. Further details on these events are below and at this link

Hession said: “I am sincerely grateful and proud that Leonard and Hungry Paul has been chosen as this year’s One Dublin One Book. I would like to thank Dublin City Council for this great honour. I was born in Dublin and have lived and worked here all my life, so this means a lot to me. And of course, I have spent countless happy hours firing my imagination with the books I have borrowed from the wonderful libraries we have throughout Dublin. Leonard and Hungry Paul is a gentle book about two friends learning to engage with the world without becoming overwhelmed by it. I hope my fellow Dubliners find it a source of peace and enjoyment in the year ahead.”

Dublin city librarian Mairead Owens, added: “On behalf of Dublin City Libraries, I am delighted to have the opportunity of promoting this wonderful book by Rónán Hession. It reminds us all that life is precious and that there are many challenges facing us as we negotiate daily life. The book is uplifting and positive and gives comfort at this time. The book is a treasure and will hopefully encourage many more readers to seek refuge and sustenance from reading.”


Paper Lanterns, a new journal which focuses on all things teen and YA literature, launches its fourth issue on March 25th. Art and features submissions are open year-round and submissions for poetry, flash fiction and short stories for issue 5 will open that day. Details can be found on its website.


A new special issue of the Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies celebrating Paul Durcan will be launched in Sao Paulo on March 16th/17th. The ABEI Journal Special Issue 22.2 Celebrating Paul Durcan on his 76th Birthday, co-edited by Alan Gilsenan, is available online here. The accomanying virtual conference can be accessed here.

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