Lisa McInerney and Anne Enright on Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist

Listowel Writers’ Week shortlists; Limerick chosen for global HQ; ILFD programme; Stinging Fly event; Blackbird in Meath; Cúirt voices; Cork World Book Fest

 

Debut novelist Lisa McInerney and Anne Enright, the Laureaute for Irish Fiction, have been shortlisted for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for their respective novels, The Glorious Heresies and The Green Road. McInerney was also longlisted last week for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize, along with Sara Baume, who was longlisted for the Baileys.

The £30,000 Baileys prize will be awarded at London’s Royal Festival Hall on June 8th. Now in its 21st year, the prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women from throughout the world.

The Green Road has already won the Easons Irish Novel of the Year award at the 2015 Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards. Enright’s works include The Gathering, which won the 2007 Man Booker Prize and was also the Irish Novel of the Year. The Forgotten Waltz was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Media for Excellence in Fiction.

Set in Cork, The Glorious Heresies is the dark but surprisingly funny and emotionally engaging story of how one messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society.

Joseph O’Connor, reviewing it for The Irish Times, wrote: “This is a big, brassy, sexy beast of a book, set in a place very far from the conveniently out-of-focus watercolour Ireland that readers and writers of my own age grew up with. McInerney is a truth-speaker and a powerful storyteller who writes with exactly the sort of furious energy this novel needs ... an accomplished, seriously enjoyable and high-octane morality tale, full of empathy, feeling and soul.”

The Green Road is the story of Rosaleen Madigan and her children, who leave the west of Ireland for lives in Dublin, New York and Africa. In her Irish Times review, Belinda McKeon wrote: “What Enright has done with this novel is fascinating. It is Irish, or rather Irish-novelly, in such an unashamed fashion – the Mammy, the home place, the emotionally banjaxed siblings, the booze and the boom and the pill and the pope – as to be provocative. It does not simply take on, but briskly and grinningly grabs hold of, all the stuff that, these days, seems too embarrassing to bring up at the dinner table of Irish fiction.”

The other shortlisted authors are Cynthia Bond for Ruby ; Elizabeth McKenzie for The Portable Veblen; Hannah Rothschild for The Improbability of Love; and Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life.

The judges are businesswoman Margaret Mountford, Naga Munchetty, Laurie Penny, Elif Shafak and Tracey Thorn. Previous winners includeAli Smith for How to be Both (2015) and Eimear McBride, the only Irish winner, for AGirl is a Half-formed Thing (2014).

€15,000 Kerry Group Novel shortlist

Debut novelist Austin Duffy features alongside four of Ireland’s best known authors on this year’s Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award shortlist. In association with Listowel Writers’ Week, the €15,000 prize is awarded annually at the festival for a published novel by an Irish author.

Duffy’s novel about an Irish doctor in New York, This Living and Immortal Thing, was nominated alongside The Blue Guitar by John Banville; Beatlebone by Kevin Barry; The Green Road by Anne Enright and Edna O’Brien’s The Little Red Chairs. Adjudicators Rachel Cusk and Gerbrand Bakker will select the winner, announced on the festival’s opening night Wednesday, June 1st.

The €5,000 Pigott Poetry Prize shortlist also announced this week features There Now by Eamon Grennan, The Boys of Bluehill by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Geis by Caitriona O’Reilly. Both awards, as well as the winners of other categories of creative writing competitions, including the Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award and the Competitions for Youth, will be announced in Listowel on Wednesday, June 1st when the poet Paul Muldoon opens the festival. Celebrating its 45th year in 2016, the programme runs from June 1st - 5th and will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Limerick chosen for global HQ

The non-profit organisation Narrative 4 launches its first global headquarters this week in Limerick. The author Colum McCann, co-founder and president of the organisation, will preside over the launch with fellow board member and former secretary general of the Department of Finance, John Moran.

Originally founded by over 100 artists around the world, including Roddy Doyle, Salman Rushdie, Chimamanda Adichie and Michael Cunningham, Narrative 4 has spread its wings to four continents. Last year over 25,000 stories in countries including Mexico, Rwanda, Israel, South Africa, Palestine, England and the United States.

“Narrative 4 is an organisation that brings people from all over the world together in order to experience and own one another’s stories,” says McCann. “It’s about Ireland reaching outwards and inwards at the same time. It’s about action. We find that when people exchange stories, they go out into the world and change things. We’re delighted that Limerick will be the focal point.”

The initiative is supported by several high-profile Irish and American business people, including Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Bob McCann and Tom Moran. It is also backed by Limerick City and County Council, the University of Limerick, and the University of Limerick Foundation. The group will hold its global summit in Limerick, Dublin and Belfast in June.

Bright line-up for ILFD

With a programme that includes Lionel Shriver, Ian Sinclair, Naomi Klein, Packie Bonner and Yanis Varoufakis, this year’s International Literature Festival Dublin should have something for everyone. Events are already selling out - Klein’s RDS talk is waiting list only - but there are plenty of others still available, with the programme varying from Q&As with Irish and international authors, art workshops to walking tours about words from Le Cool magazine.

International highlights include children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, Deborah Levy, Impac winner Juan Gabriel Vasquez, AL Kennedy and Chris Kraus. Irish writing is represented by everyone from Bressie to the film director Jim Sheridan.

Running May 21st-29th in venues across Dublin, this year’s festival also pays tribute to some of Ireland’s greatest writers and poets who are no longer with us. Maeve Brennan and the new edition of her Dublin stories, The Springs of Affection, will be celebrated at Smock Alley Theatre on May 27th with publisher Declan Meade talking to broadcaster and journalist, Sinéad Gleeson, and Brennan’s biographer, Angela Bourke, while actress Cathy Belton reads extracts.

At the same venue, Irish poets Michael Longley, Paula Meehan and Barry McGovern come together to close the festival on May 29th by celebrating Seamus Heaney and the last achievement of his career, his translation of The Aeneid Book VI. For further information on the extensive programme visit www.ilfdublin.com.

Words Ireland mentorship

The literary body Words Ireland is offering two mentorship opportunities to Wicklow writers who are seeking to engage with a mentor over a period of six months from May 2016. The scheme is open to writers in any fiction genre: young adult and children’s books, short stories, playwriting, screenwriting, novels or poetry. The mentorships will focus on manuscript development, but may include other aspects in the professional development of the writer. The application deadline is Friday, April 24th at 5pm. Further details at http://wordsireland.ie/wicklow-literature-mentorship-scheme-2016/.

Fly on the Wall

The Stinging Fly has organised a series of Rising related events at the Project Arts Centre this Saturday, April 16th. Two afternoon Fly on the Wall sessions of discussion will centre on topics raised by the recent In the Wake of the Rising issue. Making It Up, a separate evening event, will feature writers reading from works in progress and as-yet-unpublished novels and poems. Separate tickets should be purchased for the afternoon and evening events. Speakers include Sean O’Reilly, Niall Griffiths, Jon McGregor, Lisa McInerney and Nuala Ní Chonchúir. Tickets for both events are priced at €10/€8. For more information or to book visit http://projectartscentre.ie/event/fly-wall-sessions/ or call +353 1 8819 613.

Birdsong in Meath

Blackbird Books in Navan will host its first Birdsong of 2016 on Saturday night, April 23rd. Following the success of the inaugural gig last year, the upcoming event features Navan singer-songwriter Joy Booth; Participant, the alias of musician Stephen Tiernan, who has appeared at Body and Soul, Castlepalooza and Hard Working-Class Heroes; and Sligo native Myles Manley. The gig starts at 8pm, with capacity limited to 40. Tickets €8 plus booking fee from www.blackbirdbooks.ie/events.

Open a year, Blackbird Books and its adjoining café holds regular launches and cultural events. “We want to showcase creativity in all its forms,” says owner Shane Breslin. “We’ve held open mic nights, poetry readings, book launches, children’s readings, Easter 1916 talks and other arts and literary events, including our Birdsong series.”

New and established voices at Cúirt

The eleventh annual New Writing Showcase from the Galway outfit Over the Edge will take place on Wednesday, April 20th as part of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. This year’s showcase features Aoife Reilly, Erin Fornoff, Michelle Coyne; Kathryn Guille, the winner of the Cúirt New Writing Poetry Prize 2016; and John O’Donnell, the winner of the 2016 Cúirt New Writing Fiction Prize. The MC for the event will be regular Over The Edge host Susan Millar DuMars. The free event takes place at 3pm in The Town Hall Theatre, Galway.

The wider festival runs from Sunday, April 17th - 24th and includes some great pairings - Jennifer Johnston and Belinda McKeon, Louise O’Neill with the American writer Rachel B Glaser, and Kevin Barry with Canadian author Patrick de Witt. History, politics, music, storytelling, food and theatre events across the week promise something for everyone. The full programme can be accessed here. (http://www.cuirt.ie/images/Cuirt-Programme-2016-websize.pdf).

Irish-Spanish poetry exchange

A new series of international poetry readings gets underway this month between Ireland and Galicia. The La Malinche Readings, named after the historical figure of La Malinche, translator and lover of Hernán Cortéz, centre around a poetry exchange between the two countries. This year poets Lorna Shaughnessy and Annemarie Ni Chuirreáin will travel from Ireland to Galicia, while Elvira Ribeiro and Silvia Penas will travel from Vigo to Ireland. Readings will be bilingual, promoting the notion of poetry in translation, and will be held in Dublin, Cork, Galway, and in Vigo, Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña, in April and October.

In April, Elvira Ribeiro will read at Books Upstairs on Thursday, April 21st from 7pm, at the Irish Centre for Galician Studies (UCC) on Friday, April 22nd at 4pm, and at The Cork International Book Festival on Saturday, April 23rd in City Library, Grand Parade at 3pm, with translations by Keith Payne. For further information visit here.

Quarryman launch

UCC’s English Society launches the second edition of the college’s literary journal, Quarryman, on Wednesday, April 13th. The journal, with a foreword by poet Leanne O’Sullivan, features short stories, flash fiction and poems from undergraduates in English, postgraduates in English and creative writing, PhD students, as well as poetry from Professor Graham Allen, Patrick Kavanagh Award Winner John FitzGerald, Pat Cotter and other UCC alumni.

The edition will be launched by novelist Mary Morrissy, UCC lecturer in creative writing. The latest edition sells at €5 and will be available for sale on the night of the launch. All are welcome and admission is free to the Creative Space, UCC Boole Library from 7.30pm. For more information see https://www.facebook.com/quarrymanjournal/.

Cork World Book Fest

Kevin Barry, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Mary Morrissy are among the writers taking part in a five-day festival at Cork City Library and Triskel Christchurch next month. Cork World Book Fest, from Tuesday, April 19th - Saturday, April 23rd, features a range of Irish and international authors including Ed Vulliamy, Andrey Mashinyan, Louis de Paor, Maram al-Masri, Rod Nordland, Deaglán De Breadún and William Wall.

Cllr Chris O’Leary, Árdmhéara Chorcaí, will open the 12th edition of the festival with The Poets Rising: World Voices’ at Cork City Library at 7pm on Tuesday 19th. The featured poets for the opening event are from four different cultures: Bejan Matur from Istanbul; the renowned Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti; the Scottish Makar (national poet) Liz Lochhead; and Itxaro Borda, a young poet from Euzkadi in the Basque region. The event will be followed by Kevin Barry reading his ‘Cork’ story from the first volume of the arts anthology Winter Pages that he recently published with his wife Olivia Smith.

Email sarah.gilmartin@gmail.com with your literary news and listings

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