Literary listings: Man Booker merger and premieres
A round-up of news and events in the books world
Man Booker merger
Two of the biggest awards for international literature have merged to create a single annual prize for authors and translators. The Man Booker International Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) in the UK will combine in 2016 to create one “super-prize” to the value of £50,000. In addition to the increase in prize money, the new award will be offered annually instead of biennially, with the proceeds split evenly between author and translator. This stipulation carries over from the IFFP award. In a departure from the Man Booker International, only books in translation will be considered. Another change sees the prize awarded for a single book as opposed to a body of work, with both novels and short story collections eligible. A total prize fund of £62,000 will award £1,000 to each of the shortlisted entries. The longlist for the inaugural award will be announced next March, followed by the shortlist in April and the winner in May.
Frank O’Connor winner announced
The Welsh author Carys Davies has won the 2015 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for her collection The Redemption of Galen Pike (Salt Publishing). It is Davies’s second collection of stories, lauded as “truly original” and “striking” by the international panel of judges. “Davies takes historical moments and themes and examines them in novel ways which intrigue the reader,” said judge Eabhear Walshe, director of creative writing at University College Cork. “Here is a remarkable voice.” Established in 2005 by the Munster Literature Centre, the €25,000 award is the single biggest prize for a short story collection in the world. It is sponsored by Cork City Council and the school of English at University College Cork. Davies was chosen from a shortlist of six authors, including Refund by Karen E Bender (Counterpoint Press); Mr Tall by Tony Earley (Little Brown); Infidelities by Kirsty Gunn (Faber); Crow Fair by Thomas McGuane (Knopf); and My Documents by Alejandro Zambra (Fitzcarraldo Press).
Theatre premieres in Galway
The Galway International Arts Festival kicks off next Monday, with plenty of music, theatre and performance art lined up over the course of two weeks. The theatre programme for this year’s festival has some real gems. Premiere productions include new work by Frank McGuinness, Hofesh Shechter, Amy Conroy and Enda Walsh. Directed by Joan Sheehy, McGuinness’s The Match Box stars Galway actress Cathy Belton, who makes her long-awaited festival debut. Other highlights include two world premieres – HotForTheatre’s Luck Just Kissed You Hello written by Amy Conroy and A Girl’s Bedroom, written and directed by Enda Walsh. Lessness by Samuel Beckett stars Olwen Fouéré and reunites the creative team behind the acclaimed riverrun. Theatre installations, collaborations with the RTE National Symphony, a 100ft long flying sky-whale and lots of recognisable names on the music billing are also part of the extensive programme. The festival runs from July 13th – 26th, with full information on events at http://www.giaf.ie/.
Gutter Bookshop launches
Two new novels by Irish authors will launch at the Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar next month. Paula McGrath’s debut Generation (John Murray Originals) is set over eighty years, three continents and three generations. As parents make snap decisions, the repercussions will affect their children over decades. Launched by historical fiction author Lia Mills, the free event takes place from 6.30pm on Wednesday, August 5th. Nuala Ní Chonchúir, or Nuala O’Connor as she’s known in America, will launch her anticipated third novel Miss Emily at the Gutter on Friday, August 28th from 6.30pm. Telling the story of the poet Emily Dickinson’s Irish maid, Ada Concannon, the novel explores the friendship that developed between the homesick Irish girl and the gifted middle child of the Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts in the 1800s.
Books in Bantry
Booklovers looking for a last-minute break should head to Cork from Sunday, where the 2015 West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry will feature authors such as Michel Faber, David Nicholls, Rachel Cusk, Neel Mukherjee and Graham Norton. The programme, which runs from July 12th – 18th, will also host a number of Irish authors with recent releases or new books on the way. Belinda McKeon, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Paul Murray and Louise O’Neill will read at various events throughout the week.
Other highlights include an evening with Nick Davies, who exposed the phone-hacking scandal in Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire; a literary brunch hosted by the travel writer Dervla Murphy; and readings on Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay. Literary agent Lucy Luck will share her expertise on the publishing industry, with Julia Churchill giving an agent’s perspective on the children’s literature genre. Anna Kelly, commissioning editor at 4th Estate, will be Editor in Residence at the Festival. John Boyne, Tessa Hadley, Carlo Gébler, Anthony Sattin and Deirdre Kinahan are among those facilitating workshops on novel writing, investigative reporting, playwriting and poetry. More information on events at www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie.
John Hewitt Summer School
The 28th John Hewitt International Summer School, a five-day celebration of culture and creativity, takes place from Monday, July 27th at the Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre in County Armagh. Inspired by the cross-community ideals of the poet John Hewitt, the school’s theme this year is ‘Coming to Terms: learning to live with difference’, which aims to explore issues of religion, race and gender within society. A programme of 35 events will feature over 50 artists. Highlights include “a truly unique musical performance” with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon playing guitar alongside Barry Devlin, Jim Lockhart, Johnny Fean of Horslips and special guest Paul Brady.
Poet and essayist Tess Gallagher will read from her most recent work and reflect on her years with her late husband, the American short story writer Raymond Carver. The broadcaster and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will debate the recent racist attacks in Northern Ireland and read from her most recent publication, Refusing the Veil. Creative writing workshops with crime novelist Anthony J. Quinn and Being Human BBC screenwriter Daragh Carville are already proving popular. Tickets can be booked through The Market Place Theatre Box Office by calling 028 3752 1821 or by booking online: www.marketplacearmagh.com. View the full programme at www.johnhewittsociety.org.
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