Eithne Shortall debut novel out next year

Paula Hawkins returns; Graham Norton back at Listowel Writers’ Week; Rose Tremain for Ennis Book Club Festival

Eithne Shortall: “I wanted to write a story that was fun and smart and heart-warming”

Eithne Shortall: “I wanted to write a story that was fun and smart and heart-warming”

 

Hard on the heels of the publication of Teethmarks on my Tongue, the debut novel by Irish Times literary correspondent Eileen Battersby, comes news that Eithne Shortall, chief arts writer on the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, is to publish her first novel with Corvus next June.

Love in Row 27 is about an Aer Lingus check-in attendant at Heathrow playing cupid to unsuspecting fliers while possibly finding a match of her own. Instead of being seated randomly, two unwitting passengers on each flight find themselves next to the person of their dreams – or not.

Shortall said: “Love in Row 27 is a story about possibilities; about the many ways life can turn out, and about how we sometimes distract ourselves from our own lives by getting involved in those of others. I wanted to write a story that was fun and smart and heart-warming. There is a certain kind of book that acts as a blanket – where you feel warm and looked after while reading it – and that was just the sort of thing I wanted to create.”

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, which has sold more than 18 million copies since first publication in January last year and was made into a hit Hollywood film starring Emily Blunt, returns next May with Into The Water, described by its publisher Doubleday as a gripping, twisting, layered story set in a small riverside town.

Hawkins said: “This story has been brewing for a good while. For me there is something irresistible about the stories we tell ourselves, the way voices and truths can be hidden consciously or unconsciously, memories can be washed away and whole histories submerged. Then two sisters appeared, and the novel began to form.”

Dancing with Luck, a fine art book resulting from a collaboration between the poet Rory Brennan and the French-Iranian-American painter Rafael Mahdavi, will be launched by Seamus Hosey at the Irish Writers Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin 1, next Tuesday, December 6th, at 6.30pm. Brennan is a former director of Poetry Ireland and lecturer at Dublin City University, who now lives with his family on the Aegean island of Paros.

Paul Perry, director of the Ennis Book Club Festival, which is now in its 11th year, has announced the first programme highlights for next year’s event, which will run from March 3rd to 5th. These include an evening of deadpan humour and hypnotic poetry with Paul Durcan; Rose Tremain looking back over a 40-year writing career in conversation with Seán Rocks, presenter of Arena on RTÉ Radio 1; an Irish Times Book Club podcast with Man Booker Prize shortlisted author Michael Collins; a Rick O’Shea Bookclub Special with John Boyne; and the inaugural Children’s Book Club hosted by Caroline Busher, author of The Ghosts of Magnificent Children. Tickets for these first festival highlights are on sale through Glór on 065-684 3103. A weekend pass for the festival which gives access to almost all festival events is also on sale for a limited time at €100. The full programme will be announced in January.

Graham Norton will return to Listowel Writers’ Week next year (May 31st-June 4th) to talk about his award-winning debut novel Holding. Tickets for the event are available on 068-21074 as are places on the creative writing workshops with Richard Skinner, MJ Hyland, Thomas McCarthy, Michael Harding, Ruth Gilligan, Helen Lederer, Ron Rash and Giles Foden.

Dalkey Archive Press Ireland has been awarded €60,000 in funding by the Creative Europe Culture Sub-programme to support the translation of 10 works from Serbia; Montenegro; Poland; Bulgaria; Slovakia; Croatia; Slovenia; Turkey; Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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