Debutants in line for Strong award

 

LOOSE LEAVES:This year, for the first time, the long-standing Poetry Now festival is to be incorporated into Mountains to Sea, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s late-summer literary gathering established in 2009.

One of the highlights of Poetry Now in recent years has been the presentation of the DLR Strong award for the best first collection of poems published by an Irish poet, and this week a shortlist was announced for the €1,000 prize. Judged by the poet Peter Sirr, the four debutants in contention are Nerys Williams, for her book Sound Archive (Seren); Eoghan Walls, for The Salt Harvest (Seren); Ailbhe Darcy, for Imaginary Menagerie (Bloodaxe); and Noel Duffy, for In the Library of Lost Objects (Ward Wood). Previous winners of the award, which is this year supported by Shine, the national organisation for those affected by mental ill-health, include Dave Lordan, Peadar Ó hUallaigh and Grace Wells.

Among the writers appearing at Poetry Now, curated by Paul Perry, will be Mark Doty, James Fenton and Paula Meehan, and there will also be a tribute to the 2011 Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer.

Elsewhere at Mountains to Sea, which will take place from Tuesday, September 4th, to Sunday, September 9th, at various venues, speakers will include the novelists Gerbrand Bakker, John Banville, Esther Freud, Howard Jacobson and David Mitchell.

Tickets will go on sale next month; see mountainstosea.ie.

Irish storytellers head for Little Rock

Critics at this newspaper have been writing for some time that a revival in the Irish short story is taking place, and it seems that the phenomenon is now about to get some attention overseas. Crossing the Atlantic at the end of this month will be a storm of storytellers, including Mary Costello, Molly McCloskey, Mary Morrissy, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Jamie O’Connell, who will head to Little Rock, Arkansas, to take part in the International Conference on the Short Story. While there, they will have their say in a panel discussion on the Irish short story chaired by Ann Luttrell, literature manager of Triskel Arts Centre, in Cork. After the conference, from June 27th to 30th, an anthology, Bridges: A Global Anthology of Short Stories, will be published, featuring stories by 40 writers associated with the conference.

In Brian Lynch’s review of The Veiled Woman of Achill, by Patricia Byrne (Collins Press), on May 5th, the 19th-century cleric Archbishop John McHale of Tuam was said to have encouraged attacks on Protestants. The speech that Brian Lynch quoted was not made by Archbishop McHale. The error was made in the editing process.

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