Kevin Higgins’s Blair ode in Morning Star and Vanessa O’Loughlin’s book deal
Literary listings: Dublin Book Doctor; Dublin Young Writers; and Foras na Gaeilge’s Brussels boost
The Dublin Book Doctor will see you now: Ryan Tubridy and Paul Howard were on duty last week in Hodges Figgis, Dublin, in a fundraiser for the charity, Alone. This weekend it’s the turn of John Banville, Eoin McNamee and Christine Dwyer Hickey, among others. Visit ilfdublin.com for details and bookings. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Vanessa O’Loughlin: has signed a three-book deal for a Dublin crime series. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
It’s not every poet who can claim to have had their work published in the Morning Star, the British left-wing daily, so berets off to Kevin Higgins for this satirical gem. It was written at the suggestion of writer and former Sinn Féin spokesman Danny Morrison after Higgins tweeted: “Tony Blair needs to just go away. I hear he has an article in today’s Observer. I’d rather make love to John Prescott than read it.”
The Ghost In The Lobby (Salmon, 2014) is Higgins’s fourth collection of poems. His poetry also features in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed. Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010) and The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems (Ed. Neil Astley, Bloodaxe, 2014). He is unlikely, however, to feature in Tony Blair’s Christmas card list any time soon.
on hearing tell of his column in Sunday’s Observer
Easy to say,
you’d rather make loud love
to Lord Prescott, or have
your face smashed between
Sir Cyril Smith’s quivering cheeks
than read Tony Blair on how
the motorway to the mountaintop
he envisages lies
through the centre ground;
when you know neither
gentleman’s available, right
here right now, to take you.
We need to make voting Labour
for call centre managers and
estate agents of a certain age
as lowering their roasting
into a nice cold bath.
To this end, we need a leader
with ideas thrilling as a dripping cistern,
a man (or woman) likely conceived during a Conservative Association dinner
somewhere in darkest Buckinghamshire;
who, while his or her fellow students
were thoughtlessly dancing the blues,
bravely danced the beige;
a person of exemplary character apart
from that one conviction for stealing
the brass handles off
their own father’s coffin.
We must offer hope
to those who aspire to shop
for gourmet sausage meat
at Waitrose, and not
waste time on people who perspire
as they rifle through packets
picnic ham at Aldi.
A Dublin-based crime series by Irish literary scout Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the current chair of Irish PEN, has been acquired by a London publisher.
Fox O’Loughlin, creator of the popular writers’ resource writing.ie., will write the three-book series, starting with The Dresmaker, under the pen name Sam Blake for ther new Bonnier fiction imprint Twenty7 Books.
Her publisher Joel Richardson, said: “We’re so excited to be working with such a leading figure in the Irish literary community. The book is so evocative of both Dublin and London, and I’m sure the series will find many fans on both sides of the Irish Sea”.
The author said: “I’m thrilled that my agent Simon Trewin has found such a great home for Sam Blake and Garda Cathy Connolly. Bonnier’s Twenty7 is an exciting new imprint and there’s great synergy in developing a new series with a new publishing house. It’s wonderful for me as a writer that a team of Mark Smith and Joel Richardson’s calibre is so enthusiastic about The Dressmaker, I couldn’t be more delighted.”
Brussels boost for Foras na Gaeilge literary project
The cross-border Irish language body Foras na Gaeilge, has, in conjunction with European partners, secured €200,000 from the European Commission for a major co-operative literary project entitled Other Words under the Creative Europe Programme.
Other Words seeks to raise the profile of minority language literature both in the original and in translation. The project will create a network of creative placements for writers in minority and lesser used languages, promoting cultural co-operation in countries where these languages are spoken.
Foras na Gaeilge deputy chief executive Seán Ó Coinn said, “Reading and the provision of reading material are vital for minority languages to increase young people’s reading ability and to hearten and encourage their readership. The Other Words initiative is a great opportunity to get those who speak minority languages in Europe to work together and to provide a wider readership for our writers. As well as that, it will give some of our writers the opportunity to get to know and become familiar with writers working in another minority language.”
Partners involved in the project are in Spain, Slovenia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Sweden. The Other Words website will launch in July.
Young writers’ summer school
The Dublin Young Authors summer school for talented teens (aged 14-17) with a passion for creative writing of any kind will be taking place in Dublin city centre in the Big Smoke Writing Factory (Wellington Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2) June 29th to July 3rd.
The programme was established by author and educator Dave Lordan in 2012, and is jointly designed and taught by him and YA author and editor Claire Hennessy. Guest teachers who are experts in their particular fields will also share their insights with participants.
DYA is Ireland’s only specialist teenage creative writing programme has worked with over 70 writers from Dublin and the surrounding counties, with many students returning to develop their work.
Let me through, I’m an author
As mentioned last week, as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin, the Dublin Book Doctor is offering book lovers a five-minute consultation with one of a host of well-known authors, who will listen to your tale of woe – an addiction, perhaps, to Nordic noir or a depressing diet of misery lit – and issue you with a signed literary prescription as a pick-me-up, all for just €5, with all proceeds going to the homeless charity, Alone, as everyone involved is giving of their time for free. Best to book in advance.
Saturday, May 23rd
2pm - 3pm | Henrietta McKervey
3pm - 4pm | John Banville
4pm - 5pm | David Shafer
5pm - 6pm | Dermot Bolger
Dubray Books, Grafton St
2pm - 3pm | Susan Jane White
3pm - 4pm | Ann Marie Hourihane
4pm - 5pm | Eoin McNamee
5pm - 6pm | Christine Dwyer Hickey