Poets launch Unlaunched Books podcast

A preview of Saturday’s books pages and a roundup of the latest literary news

Poets and Irish Times reviewers John McAuliffe and Seán Hewitt, along with Victoria Kennefick, will host a new weekly podcast, Unlaunched Books. They talk to poets, critics, curators and readers about the books they would have been launching and talking about during the months of April, May and June 2020, before the pandemic led to the cancellation of all poetry festivals and launches in Ireland.

Episode 1 features Colette Bryce talking about her new book, The M Pages; director of Poetry Ireland Maureen Kennelly on an event she had hoped to host and writer Selina Guinness on a poem that speaks to this moment.

Saturday’s books pages feature interviews with Maggie O’Farrell and Desmond Morris; and reviews including Nicole Flattery on Andy Warhol: A Life As Art by Blake Gopnik; John Self on Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell; Laura Kennedy on No Visible Bruises: what we don’t know about domestic violence can kill us by Rachel Louise Snyder; Dani Gill on Kate Elizabeth Russell’s My Dark Vanessa; Matthew O’Toole on Lyra McKee: Lost, Found, Remembered; Rabeea Saleem on Amnesty by Aravind Adiga; Mary Cregan on Inferno: A Memoir by Catherine Cho; Seán Hewitt on A Bite of the Apple by Lennie Goodings; Sarah Gilmartin on Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler; and Seán Hewitt on new collections by Frank Ormsby, Gerard Smyth and Mina Gorji.

The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey and Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor have been shortlisted for the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction, along with The Parisian by Isabella Hammad; To Calais, In Ordinary Time by James Meek; The Redeemed by Tim Pears; and A Sin of Omission by Marguerite Poland.


Fitzcarraldo Editions has been awarded the 2020 Republic of Consciousness Prize for the novel Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated by Irishman Frank Wynne. The £10,000 prize pot though, which is half-funded by the University of East Anglia, will be shared among the five presses shortlisted for this year’s award in what is an extremely difficult time for small businesses and freelancers.

Lilliput Press will be publishing Estelle Birdy’s debut novel, Ravelling, next spring, another success for the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair. Birdy is a a recent graduate of UCD’s Masters in Creative Writing and lives in Dublin’s Liberties where her novel is set.

Poetry Day Ireland takes place online this year on April 30th and the theme is "There will be time". Whether you share a poem, read a poem, or programme your own online event, everyone is invited to join in and celebrate. For details visit poetryireland.ie

Creative Corona is an initiative of the MA in Creative Writing at UCC, which like many courses, has been interrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For details visit creativewritingucc.com