Mike McCormack secures major publishing deal

Irish on RoNAs shortlist; Novel Fair finalists; Mark O’Halloran for Ennis; Mountains to Sea women’s day event; NUIG honours Mike McCormack

Mike McCormack's Goldsmiths Prize-winning novel Solar Bones is to get a major British release in May after leading independent British publisher Canongate bought the rights at auction, the Bookseller has reported. It will also republish two of his previous books, Getting it in The Head and Notes from a Coma,  in its classics paperback series in July.

First published in Ireland last year by Tramp Press, Solar Bones also won the BGE BGE Irish Novel and Book of the Year awards. The story of a Mayo engineer returning home from the dead on All Souls' Day to reflect on his life and family, it is a novel composed of one single sentence.

McCormack told the Bookseller: "I am delighted to be working with Canongate and thrilled that my work has found a home at such an adventurous publisher."

Francis Bickmore, publishing director of Canongate , said: "Solar Bones is a book about life and death that makes you sit up and pay attention. Formally inventive, beautiful and daring as hell, books like this come along once in a decade. This is literature as alchemy and we are proud and grateful at Canongate to become the UK publisher for this exceptional and important contemporary writer."
Sarah Goff-Davis, co-publisher of Tramp Press, said: "We're delighted with the incredible success Solar Bones has had, and that it continues to grow with each new award Mike picks up. It means a lot to Tramp Press that we've been able to partner with an independent publisher like Canongate to bring Solar Bones more readers."

McCormack is one of six NUI Galway graduates to receive an alumni award this year. He will receive the Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies at the 17th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, March 4th. McCormack graduated with a BA in English and Philosophy from NUI Galway in 1988 and lectures in English at the university.

Salman Rushdie is publishing a new novel, The Golden House, in September, a thriller set against a backdrop of American culture and politics from the inauguration of Barack Obama to "the insurgence of a ruthlessly ambitious, narcissistic, media-savvy villain sporting make-up and coloured hair".

For me, however, news of a follow-up by Elizabeth Strout to My Name is Lucy Barton, one of the best novels of 2016, is much more exciting, not least because it sounds like a sort of sequel. The story collection Anything is Possible finds Lucy, years later, writing about about people from her home town, the rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois. It is published by Viking on May 4th.

Kate Kerrigan's It Was Only Ever You and Ann O'Loughlin's The Judge's Wife have been shortlisted in the Historical Romantic Novel and the Epic Romantic Novel categories for the 2017 RoNAs (Romantic Novel Awards) and could go forward to contest the Romantic Novel of the Year 2017 at the awards ceremony in London on March 13th hosted by cookery writer Prue Leith.

Kerrigan said: “This is such an honour to be shortlisted by the RNA. No matter what I turn my hand to, I always find myself writing about love. Really - love is the only subject worth writing about. So it truly is a privilege to be recognised by this prestigious organisation and find myself in such very good company.” O’Loughlin said: “This makes all the 5am starts to write and finish The Judge’s Wife so worthwhile.”

Twelve aspiring novelists have been selected from almost 260 applicants to participate in the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2017 on Saturday, February 18th. Now in its sixth year, the event aims to introduce up-and-coming writers to publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of publishers and agents.

This year’s winners, who include a poet, a journalist, a memoir writer and a former winner, are: Patricia Byrne, Dominique Cleary, Georgina Eddison, Jennifer Hall, Fidelma Kelly, Enda Kilroy, Mary Lennon, Sean Mackel, Fintan O’Higgins, Paul Quaid, Sian Quill and Mark Tuthill. The judges were Anthony Glavin, John MacKenna and Nadine O’Regan.

“Another bumper crop of beguiling reads,” is how Glavin describes the winners. “Something for everybody: whether futuristic thriller, literary and historical fiction, young adult, family mystery, or black comedy, set in Dublin, the West of Ireland and across the Irish Sea.”

A special event with Ennis-born actor and filmmaker Mark O'Halloran has been added to the Ennis Book Club Festival programme, replacing the scheduled evening with Rose Tremain, who has been forced to withdraw. The event will take place in glór on Saturday, March 4th. O'Halloran will talk with Seán Rocks, presenter of RTÉ Radio One's Arena, about his career on stage and screen, preceded by a screening of Viva, the Irish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2016 Oscars. The festival will run from March 3rd-5th. ennisbookclubfestival.com

Caitlin Moran, Harriet Harman and the publishers of Virago and Tramp Press are the stars of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival's International Women's Day Celebration on Sunday, March 12th, in conversation with Declan Hughes, Keelin Shanley and Sinéad Gleeson respectively. mountainstosea.ie