Edna O’Brien and Fergal Keane honoured

A weekly round-up of the best books news, reviews and features

Edna O’Brien. Photograph: Alan Betson

Edna O’Brien. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Congratulations to Edna O’Brien, who this week was appointed a Dame of the British Empire, the second-highest rank in the British honours system. “The honour is for her services to literature and her belief is that literature transcends politics and borders,” her literary agent said in response to a query about the politics of accepting a British royal honour, given the author’s Irish republican sympathies.

In this Saturday’s Irish Times, fellow Irish author Emer Martin takes issue with O’Brien’s decision to accept an award associated with Britain’s imperial past.

Fergal Keane, meanwhile, despite badly injuring his ankle in a fall, made it from London to Belfast in a wheelchair to accept the 25th Christopher Ewart-Biggs memorial prize, worth £5,000, for his book Wounds: a memoir of war and love. The Ewart-Biggs Trust also awarded a special prize of £5,000 to Prof Marianne Elliott for her achievement in advancing the understanding of Irish history in Britain.

International Literature Festival Dublin comes of age this year and announced its 2018 programme this week which features big names including Neil Gaiman and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi.

And bestselling Irish children’s author Eoin Colfer has signed a major two-book deal for a spinoff from his popular Artemis Fowl series.

In Saturday’s books pages, author and political scientist Brendan O’Leary makes 12 predictions about the North post-Brexit; Florence Impens charts the rise of classical Greek influences on Irish writers; Julie Parsons champions The Crow Road by Iain Banks; Elizabeth Wassell on Painter to the King by Amy Sackville; John Boyne on Samuel Fisher’s The Chameleon; Eoin McNamee on Richard Powers’s The Overstory; Sinéad Gleeson on To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine; Andrew Holgate on Forgetfulness by Francis O’Gorman; Julia O’Mahony on Writers and their Mothers; Bestsellers edited by Dale Salwak; John Self on Yuko Tsushima’s Territory of Light; Ian Maleney on Alejandro Zambra’s Not to Read; Catherine Taylor on Rosie by Rose Tremain; Anna Carey on Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking by Jens Andersen; Sarah Gilomartin on Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce; and Claire Hennessy on the best new YA fiction.

Thanks for reading. Please read on.

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