Fallen by Lia Mills to unite Dublin and Belfast

Waterstones and Oxfam raise funds for Syria; Irish in Britain seminars; Hibernian Writers launch book

Lia Mills’ novel Fallen is the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2016. For the first time Dublin will team up with Belfast for a Two Cities One Book Festival. 2016 so that next April readers in Dublin and Belfast will engage with the same book at the same time.

Fallen, which tells the story of Dubliners against the backdrop of the dramatic events of Easter Week 1916, is a literary contribution to Dublin City Council’s 1916 centenary programme.

An tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh said: “I am delighted that as part of Dublin City Council’s 1916 commemorations, the Dublin: One City One Book Festival is joining with Belfast city through Libraries NI to celebrate the wonderful novel Fallen by Lia Mills. As a fellow Dubliner, I want to congratulate Lia on this, her third novel, and wish her every success with it. Tá mé cinnte go mbeidh an-éileamh ar an leabhar agus go mbainfidh léitheoirí Bhéal Feirste agus Bhaile Átha Cliath taitneamh as an úrscéal staire fíorthráthúil seo. I congratulate Dublin City Libraries for this first time collaboration with Libraries NI.”

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, said: “There are many ways to tell the stories of 1916. Historians will provide us with the factual accounts of the events of the Rising, but novelists like Lia Mills can add layers to that narrative. By focusing on personal stories, with which we can all identify, we can discover what daily life was like for the citizens who were caught up in a series of tumultuous events which changed this country forever. I am delighted that this book has been chosen for next year as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, the moment when we as a nation will commemorate the events of 1916.”


Irene Knox, chief executive of Libraries NI, said: “This is a great opportunity to encourage people in both cities to read and discuss the same book and the project supports one of Libraries NI’s core aims of promoting reading and literature. The timeframe and the chosen book is particularly relevant considering next year’s planned commemorative events for the Decade of Commemorations for World War One and for the Easter Rising, both significant historical events which form the backdrop of the novel.”

Mills said: “I’m delighted that Fallen has been chosen for the Dublin: One City One Book festival in 2016. The festival is such a positive boost – for books and for readers. I wanted this novel to explore a fresh perspective, starting with the question: what would it be like to find your city taken over by forces you don’t recognise? The participation of Libraries NI adds a new and exciting dimension to the festival. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

Fallen is Mills’ third novel. Through the experiences of its central character Katie Crilly, the novel explores the challenges of living in a conflict situation. It vividly depicts the various and conflicting allegiances faced by Irish soldiers in the first World War and those supporting the cause of the rebellion.

A full programme of events in both cities, offering opportunities to engage with Fallen in a range of contexts, will be announced in March.

Previous books featured in are At Swim Two Birds by Flann O’ Brien (2006), A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry (2007), Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (2008), Dracula by Bram Stoker (2009), A Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde (2010), Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor (2011), Dubliners by James Joyce (2012), Strumpet City by James Plunkett (2013) and If Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song edited by Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth (2014); and Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy (2015).

Irish in Britain seminars

This year’s Irish in Britain seminar series commences at London Metropolitan University on Thursday, October 22nd, 6.30-8pm, with Brothers of the Quill: Oliver Goldsmith and Friends, London, 1757-64, by Prof Norma Clarke, Kingston University.

This paper investigates some of the Irish writers in London who were friends or acquaintances of Oliver Goldsmith from the time he arrived in the city, penniless, in 1756 and began to make a successful career as a writer, first in Grub Street and then as a distinguished poet. It draws on research in Prof Clarke’s new book, Brothers of the Quill: Oliver Goldsmith in Grub Street, due to be published next spring. It argues that understanding Goldsmith as an Irish writer is essential to an understanding of his writings and it asks questions about what it meant to be an Irish writer in London in the period. Among those discussed in the book are Paul Hiffernan, Jack Pilkington, Edward Purdon, Samuel Derrick and Robert Nugent.

Prof Clarke specialises in 18th-century literature and has a particular interest in Irish writers in London during that period. Her 2008 book, Queen of the Wits, A Life of Laetitia Pilkington, told the story of one such Irish writer.

The venue is Room TM1-45, London Metropolitan University, Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road, N7 8DB

Over the last three centuries, Irish migration to Britain has been marked by a number of recurring social and cultural characteristics. Personal experiences of migration, however, invariably reveal nuances and differences to these norms and encourage us to continually reassess our understanding and appreciation of what it means to leave one country and go to live and work in another. This year’s seminar series focuses on five prominent public figures in Britain and explores how migration became a formative and enduring influence on the shape of their careers and their sense of Irish identity.

The series continues with: Drama of Migration?: Nancy Harris and the Dublin and London Stage by Dr. Michelle Paull, St Mary’s University, Twickenham (October 29th); Wild Irish Woman: The Life and Times of Charlotte Despard by Marian Broderick (November 5th); The Irishness of Francis Bacon by Bernard Canavan (November 12th); and Jerry O’Neill: publican, playwright, novelist & founder of The Sugawn Theatre, Balls Pond Road by Prof Ken Worpole, London Metropolitan University (Novmber 19th)

Waterstones and Oxfam to raise £1million for refugees

Waterstones has announced a Buy Books for Syria campaign to raise £1 million for Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal. The bookseller will sell books by bestselling authors including Marian Keyes, Philip Pullman, Hilary Mantel, Neil Gaiman, David Walliams, David Nicholls, Victoria Hislop, Ali Smith, Lee Child, Salman Rushdie and Caitlin Moran. All the books have been donated by their publishers and the full retail price will be donated to Oxfam. These books will be stickered with ‘Buy Books for Syria”.

Ian Rankin, author of the bestselling Rebus books, said: “It’s great to see Waterstones uniting with publishers and authors to raise money for Oxfam’s work with Syrian refugees. Buy a book, help save a life.”

James Daunt, Waterstones’ managing director, said: “In desperate times like these, everyone feels the need to do something, to help in some way. We are doing what we do best: bookselling, and it only feels right that every single penny of each book sold will go straight to Oxfam. We are proud to be able transform the generosity of authors and publishers into such a substantial contribution to Oxfam’s work.”

Jim Clarken, chief executive of Oxfam Ireland, said: “The public in Ireland have traditionally been very generous in supporting Oxfam’s work. This campaign could help us deliver clean water to another 150,000 people in Syria, or support to tens of thousands of people in Jordan over the next year. This help is urgently needed as the conflict in Syria shows no sign of ending.”

Authors supporting include Mary Beard, Alan Bennett, Michael Bond, William Boyd, Bill Bryson, Tracy Chevalier, Lee Child, Julia Donaldson, Neil Gaiman, Mark Haddon, Matt Haig, Robert Harris, Khaled Hosseini, Max Hastings, Victoria Hislop, Marian Keyes, Linda La Plante, Andrea Levy, Hilary Mantel, Peter May, Alexander McCall Smith, Caitlin Moran, Michael Morpugo, JoJo Moyes, David Nicholls, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Tom Rob Smith, Salman Rushdie, Ali Smith, David Walliams and Jacqueline Wilson.

Hibernian Writers book launch

The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work, a new anthology by Hibernian Writers, published by Alba Publishing (UK) and edited by Amanda Bell, will be launched by Macdara Woods, poet, publisher and one of the founding editors of Cyphers, Ireland’s longest-running literary magazine, on Tuesday, October 20th, at 7pm at the Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin. Described by Thomas McCarthy as a new singing school, the Hibernian Writers have, between them, published several poetry collections; been translated into Irish, Spanish, Italian and Polish; and won numerous awards.