Graham Norton launches ‘major new career as a novelist’

Literary listings: Colum McCann on EFG shortlist; Irish bookshops make their mark; Sara Baume well received in US; The poets’ revolution and more


Norton’s debut novel

TV presenter Graham Norton will publish his first novel later this year, “a mixture of mystery and romance” set in a part of the world he loves, rumoured to be his home county Cork. "I'm thrilled to be publishing Graham's first novel and to be launching what we believe will be a major new career for him as a novelist," said publisher Hannah Black of Hodder & Stoughton. “He knows this world and he understands people, their secret passions and motivations, and that is in part what helps to make this such an accomplished debut.” With the first draft completed last summer, the “darkly funny” book is as yet untitled but due for release in the coming months.

McCann on EFG shortlist

Colum McCann is one of six writers shortlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. Nominated for his story What Time is it Now, Where You Are?, the Dublin author could win £30,000, the world’s largest prize for a single short story. Joining McCann on the shortlist are authors Alix Christie, Edith Pearlman, Jonathan Tel, Nicholas Ruddock and Petina Gappah.

Now in its seventh year, the award has a reputation for showcasing established and emerging writers. Alix Christie’s first novel, Gutenberg’s Apprentice, was published in 2014, whilst celebrated author Edith Pearlman has published more than 250 works of short fiction. Jonathan Tel is the only author to have been previously shortlisted. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner hosted by EFG at Stationers’ Hall in London on Friday, April 22nd.  To mark the event, readings of the stories will be given by actors Tom Hollander, Juliet Stevenson, David Soul, Gina Bellman, Selina Lo and Chippa Chung.

Irish bookshops make their mark

Ireland has had featured prominently on the shortlists for the 2016 Bookseller Industry Awards for UK and Ireland. Independent bookseller Dubray Books is up for the Book Retailer of the Year against Waterstones, Foyles, Blackwells, WHSmith Travel and Sainsbury’s. Easons are nominated for the Children’s Retailer Award, and The Blessington Bookshop in Wicklow is shortlisted for the Independent Book Retailer prize. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on May 9th.

“We’re delighted to receive recognition, and proud to stand alongside the larger chains,” said Maria Dickenson, managing director of Dubray. “It’s also good to see nominations for our fellow Irish booksellers. While the Irish market is relatively small in the context of the UK business, the passion and enthusiasm we have for books is clearly making its mark.”

Baume well received in US

Sara Baume’s debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither continues to earn accolades for the Cork based author, last week ranking at number 214 across all genres at Amazon. Published by Tramp Press, the novel has been recently well reviewed in the US in both the Atlantic and the Wall Street Journal, which wrote that Spill is “destined to become a small classic”. An interview with Baume aired on NPR's Morning Edition for St Patrick's Day and can be accessed here.

The poets’ revolution

Poetry Ireland Review: The Rising Generation is the latest special issue from Poetry Ireland, following its best-selling Seamus Heaney Special Issue (2014) and last year’s WB Yeats Special Issue. The publication will launch in April, “one hundred years after a poets’ revolution helped found the Republic”.

Timed to coincide with the centenary celebrations of the Easter Rising, the issue will feature poems and prose from Ireland’s new generation of poets. Thirty-six poets who have published a first collection or pamphlet in the past five years will be represented by two poems each and by an essay that responds to a questionnaire about their poetic values. Edited by Vona Groarke, featured poets include Ailbhe Darcy, Tara Bergin, Declan Ryan, Eoghan Walls, Jane Clarke, Victoria Kennefick, Tara Bergin, Andrew Jamison, Dylan Brennan, Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Michelle O’Sullivan.

Over the edge

Eileen Keane, Molly Twomey and Jane Clarke will read at this month’s Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, March 31st from 6.30 – 8pm. Currently studying for an MA in Writing at NUI Galway, Keane is a poet and singer-songwriter whose work appears in the latest edition of the Galway Review. Winner of the Blackwater Community School Creativity Award 2013, Twomey is in her second year studying arts and creative writing at NUIG. Originally from Roscommon, Jane Clarke now lives in Wicklow. She won the 2014 Listowel Writers' Week Poetry Collection Award and the 2014 Trócaire/Poetry Ireland Competition. The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars and an open-mic will take place after the featured readers, with new readers especially welcome. For more information go to

Cultured citizens

Kevin Curran will read from his second novel Citizens at the April Culture Club run by Liberties Press. From Balbriggan, the author will take part in a Q&A discussion hosted by Liberties after the reading. With dual narratives set in 1916 and 2011, the book looks at two disenfranchised Irishmen and the different ways they choose to tackle their lives. Taking place on Wednesday, April 6th at 7pm in Liberties’ Terenure base, tickets are €5, which includes coffee and wine. Tickets booked in advance may be redeemed towards any Liberties Press title on the night. For further information or to book email

Éigse arts festival

Colum McCann, Donal Ryan, Jane Clarke and Michael Coady are among the line-up at this year’s Éigse Michael Harnett Literature and Arts Festival, which takes place from Thursday, April 14th – Saturday, April 16th in Newcastle West, Limerick. McCann’s reading on the Saturday evening will be accompanied by the music of Colm Mac Con Iomaire. The Michael Hartnett Memorial Lecture, entitled Saving Words, will be delivered by Limerick author Donal Ryan. The winner of this year’s Michael Hartnett poetry prize will be announced on the festival’s opening night, with judge Rita Ann Higgins giving the keynote speech. For more information on these and other events, visit the festival’s revamped website at

What is a Republic?

The playwright and radio presenter Vincent Woods will host a series of interviews on the Irish Republic at NUI Galway this April. The series will include interviews with public figures exploring the contemporary relevance of the ideas and ideals that led to the formation of the Irish state. The first interview will take place on Wednesday, April 6th with socialist and republican activist Bernadette McAliskey, the youngest woman ever in the British House of Commons on her election in 1969.

Other interviews in the series take place on Wednesday, April 13th with Thomas Kilroy, April 20th with Fr Peter McVerry and April 27th with Robert Ballagh. Questions addressed during the interviews will include: What is a republic? Is Ireland a republic? Is the Republic of Ireland the kind of republic imagined by those involved in the Irish revolution and proclaimed in 1916? What is the role of religion, art, literature, and politics in creating an Irish civic society of the kind envisaged in that proclamation? All interviews will be held in the Ó hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway from 6.30-8pm. Events are free and open to the public.

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