Loose Leaves


Eamon Gilmore’s book of inspiration in the pipeline:With Eamon Gilmore’s star surging ahead in opinion-poll ratings, it’s apposite that the Labour Party leader has written a book called Leading Lights: People Who’ve Inspired Me, to be published in early November.

Liberties Press approached him last year about the possibility of a book, which he has since written in collaboration with Yseult Thornley, daughter of the late broadcaster and Labour TD David Thornley, who collected and edited Unquiet Spirit, a collection of essays in memory of her father that Liberties published in 2008. The Gilmore book features people from both his personal and his political life, as well as from other fields. Included are his grandmother, TK Whitaker and Martin Luther King.

Lonely banker at heart of Paul Murray’s new novel

Fans of Paul Murray’s Skippy Dieswill be glad to hear that the young Dublin writer has a new novel in the pipeline, even if it won’t be out until 2013. Set in contemporary Dublin and narrated by Claude, a lonely French banker who believes himself to be cursed by blandness and finds himself shadowed by a mysterious author, it has been snapped up by Hamish Hamilton. It’s good news, because Murray takes his time between novels – a modus operandi that obviously works for him. His first novel, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, came out in 2003. Then seven years passed before the publication of Skippy Dies. Juliette Mitchell of Hamish Hamilton says: “The pages we’ve read from the new novel show that Paul’s imagination has plenty more life in it, and we look forward to seeing his reputation – and his audience – grow and grow.”

Trinity throws a bash for its prize-winning poet

Trinity College Dublin, where she has taught in the school of English for decades, gave Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, winner of the 2010 Griffin International Poetry Prize, a formal welcome home this week with a party hosted by its provost, John Hegarty, in his residence at 1 Grafton Street. “I’d like to thank Trinity for giving me a job where, when I was writing a poem, I always knew that I should be doing something else,” said the poet, who reassured her colleagues, both inside and outside the academic world: “I have not forgotten how little difference a big award makes to anyone’s real opinion of me.”

Short-story writer’s star burns brightly in Cork

A collection deemed to be relevant to the difficult times we live in, where the misfortune affecting many of us is imposed by conditions outside our control: that’s what the judges of the €35,000 Cork City–Frank O’Connor Short Story Award saw in Burning Bright, by the American Ron Rash, which has won this year’s prize; previous winners include Jhumpa Lahiri, Yiyun Li and Haruki Murakami. Patrick Cotter of Munster Literature Centre, which gives the award, said Rash plunges the reader into a strange, brutal imagination. “The world of the book roams far in time but in space occupies the demanding landscape of Appalachia. Landscape is as strong a character in this book as any human figure. Time and again Rash demonstrates how place and environment impinge upon an individual’s ability to exercise free will and control the direction of their life. Burning Bright was judged an emotionally affecting book, a technically brilliant achievement.”