Dublin Book Festival line-up; Wicklow Women; Polari winners; Buy the Book

A preview of Saturday’s books pages and a round-up of the latest literary news

Adam King’s ‘virtual hug’ captured the hearts of many after his appearance on The Late Late Toy Show, becoming a symbol of hope in hard times and now the inspiration for a book, writes Jennifer O’Connell in The Irish Times Magazine this Saturday. Twenty years after her father Paddy published Being Irish, Marie Claire Logue puts the question of Irish identity to a new group of Irish people. We publish a selection in Weekend Review.

Books reviewed are Roddy Doyle on The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present by Paul McCartney, edited by Paul Muldoon; Sarah Gilmartin on Harsh Times by Mario Vargas Llosa; Declan Burke on the best new crime fiction; Oliver Farry on 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir by Ai Weiwei, translated by Allan H Barr; Tony Clayton-Lea on the best new music books; Niamh Donnelly on Putting the Rabbit in the Hat by Brian Cox; Des Traynor on Autobibliography by Rob Doyle; Anthony Roche on The Young HG Wells: Changing the World by Claire Tomalin; and Seán Hewitt on The Poems, 1961-2020 by Derek Mahon and Autumn Skies: Writers on Poems by Derek Mahon, edited by Peter Fallon.

If you buy a copy of The Irish Times in Eason’s this weekend, you can also buy Snow by John Banville for €4.99, a saving of €6.


Dublin Book Festival is to offer an array of in-person and online events for book lovers from November 8th to 15th.

After 18 months of online events, the Dublin Book Festival is delighted to bring a variety of live in-person events to venues throughout Dublin, including Smock Alley Theatre, The Heritage Centre, Dublin Port, National Botanic Gardens and more. They will also be live-streaming events throughout the weekend from Smock Alley Theatre, making the festival accessible to everyone in Ireland and abroad.

Among those taking part in DBF 2021 will be: President Michael D. Higgins, Emma Donoghue, Luke O’Neill, Sarah Winman, Richard Chambers, Steve Garrigan, Rosaleen McDonagh, Eoin Colfer, Ann Ingle, Roddy Doyle, Lisa Harding, Éilis Ní Dhuibhne, Hugo Hamilton, Liz McManus, Mary O’Donnell, Michael Smith, Caitríona Lally, Turtle Bunbury, Jo Kerrigan, Brendan MacEvilly, Vanda Symon, Awais Khan, Lilja Sigurðardóttir, Sam Blake, Diarmaid Ferriter, Jacqui Hurley and Éanna Ní Lamhna, Hilary Dully, Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Marie Coleman,Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, Cathal Póirtéir, Benjamín Labatut, Rick O’Shea, Bryan Fanning, Melatu Uche Okorie, Neil Hegarty, Paul McVeigh, Paddy Woodworth, Mark Henry, Aoife Barry, Aoife Martin, Kit Fryatt, Fiona Leigh, James Hudson, Declan Murphy, Manchán Magan and JR Thorp. To book tickets and for more programme details go to dublinbookfestival.com


This weekend, Wicklow Arts and Heritage celebrate two very different women's lives in a lightshow featuring Lauren O'Neill commissioned portraits of Averil Deverell and Kate Tyrell at The Cove in Greystones and Arklow Harbour on Friday , November 5th at 5pm and 7pm followed on Saturday by an in conversation event with Dr Sinead McCoole, A Brehon Law Court workshop and at 8pm at The Whale Theatre in Greystones, the Breaking Ground Salon hosted by journalist and broadcaster Dearbhail McDonald. The Salon will interweave lively conversation with performances by poets and musicians. Poets Jane Clarke and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill will read alongside cellist Lioba Petrie and soprano Catherine Redding. Speakers include historian and retired judge Liz Goldthorpe; Chair of the Bar Council Maura McNally; and lawyer and chair of AkiDwA Ashimedua Okonkwo. Also in conversation about women and our connection to the sea will be sea swimmer and author Ruth Fitzmaurice and Karen Weekes, who is training to become the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Tickets from The Whale Theatre here.

Give a gift that’s a little bit different and give something back this Christmas! Lights on the Horizon is a beautiful hardback limited edition of poetry, prose and photography, created during lockdown by over 20 Irish writers, photographers and publishing professionals. All proceeds go to frontline workers via the Mater Foundation and the NHS Northern Ireland. An ideal Christmas gift for a loved one, a friend, a healthcare worker, or someone who’s been there for you these past 18 months. It also is an ideal way to recognise your staff and co-workers. Find out more on lightsonthehorizon.com.


Mohsin Zaidi and Diana Souhami have won the 2021 Polari Prizes, the UK’s only awards celebrating literature that explores the LGBTQ+ experience.

Zaidi becomes the 11th winner of the Polari First Book Prize for his memoir A Dutiful Boy (Square Peg), triumphing against work by authors including Kevin Maxwell, Paul Mendez and Booker winner Douglas Stewart. Diana Souhami scooped the overall Polari Prize for non-debut talent for her biography No Modernism without Lesbians (Head of Zeus).

Buy the Book is a new Irish business for authors to sell their books directly to their readers, established by author Rachel Drury earlier this year, as an alternative to Amazon and Book Depository.

“It is bookselling with a difference,” explains Rachel. “The author is responsible for selling their own book and shipping it directly to their customer. When a customer buys a book from us, they support our Irish authors directly.”

There are additional benefits for authors who join Buy the Book. It is also a growing author community where authors meet and discuss ideas and support each other in selling and marketing their books. There are monthly member calls and workshops for authors to participate in.

“It is important to sell your book, but it is also important to feel supported in that process and to enjoy yourself along the way. I was passionate about setting up an author community as much as the marketplace”

Buy the Book will be focusing on the upcoming Christmas market for those looking for an alternative Irish marketplace to shop local this Christmas and support Irish authors directly. There will be Christmas gifts available, and customers can also request a signed copy of the book directly from the author on the newly launched website.

To find out more visit buythebook.ie.


Newsdle (newsdle.com) is the first news-based graded reader for students and teachers of Spanish and French, launched by The Chairman’s Bao Ltd. last month. The founder, Sean McGibney, is second-generation Irish and sits on the board of Leeds Irish Health and Homes.

The platform, available across website and mobile app, adds to an existing product for the study of Mandarin Chinese (The Chairman’s Bao) that is already trusted by over 350 schools and universities and 150,000 students globally. Three news-based lessons will be published daily across each language and every lesson will be supported by both reading and listening comprehension quizzes to test understanding. For schools and universities, there’s also an interactive Classroom portal.

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