The Dublin Book Doctor will see you now

Literary listings: An original fundraiser for Alone; WB Yeats bonanza; Encore win for Listowel; Penny Dreadful and Caterpillar writing prizes

The 16 Book Doctors taking part in the fundraiser for alone this Saturday, May 16, and on Saturday, March 23rd, include Paul Howard, Ryan Tubridy, Sarah Bannan, Peter Sheridan, Selina Guinness, Gavin Corbett, Lisa McInerney, Henrietta McKervey, John Banville, David Shafer, Dermot Bolger, Susan Jane White, Eoin McNamee and Christine Dwyer Hickey

The 16 Book Doctors taking part in the fundraiser for alone this Saturday, May 16, and on Saturday, March 23rd, include Paul Howard, Ryan Tubridy, Sarah Bannan, Peter Sheridan, Selina Guinness, Gavin Corbett, Lisa McInerney, Henrietta McKervey, John Banville, David Shafer, Dermot Bolger, Susan Jane White, Eoin McNamee and Christine Dwyer Hickey

 

There is nothing better than getting a great book recommendation, particularly when you trust the person giving it.

As part of the International Literature Festival Dublin, the Dublin Book Doctor is offering book lovers a five-minute consultation with one of a host of well-known authors, who will listen to your tale of woe – an addiction, perhaps, to Nordic noir or a depressing diet of misery lit – and issue you with a signed literary prescription as a pick-me-up, all for just €5, with all proceeds going to the homeless charity, Alone, as everyone involved is giving of their time for free.

The 16 authors (or Book Doctors) taking part include Paul Howard, Ryan Tubridy, Sarah Bannan, Peter Sheridan, Selina Guinness, Gavin Corbett, Lisa McInerney, Henrietta McKervey, John Banville, David Shafer, Dermot Bolger, Susan Jane White, Eoin McNamee and Christine Dwyer Hickey.

It’s aimed at anyone who might be in the reading doldrums or is just on the lookout for a good book recommendation – whether for themselves or their book group, or indeed just a good natter about books. Of course, some of the patients might have always wanted to meet their author in person, which is a nice bonus, or perhaps they are consulting with an author they may not have previously known?

How does it work? Ideally book in advance here. You can turn up on the day, but you risk disappointment. The event is part of the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Gillian Clarke and Una Carmody explain the thinking behind the fun event: “We came up with the idea for the Dublin Book Doctor early in 2015. We work together in Arts Audiences, an Arts-Council funded audience development initiative, and regularly swap books, falling like starving animals on new ones. In all modesty we should also mention that we were members of the winning team of the Battle of the Book Clubs table quiz in 2014. For us, there is nothing like someone whose taste you trust recommending a book or an author. There have been versions of something like this before (including Children’s Books Ireland’s great Book Clinic) but this is different and gives readers the chance to connect with authors directly.

“We are both at an age also when our friends talk regularly about the difficulties faced by older people, so Alone was an obvious choice for the charity to benefit. Then it was a case of working with International Literature Festival Dublin and our own friends and colleagues to put together a list of great authors. Everyone is donating everything for the event, and even the ticketing provider for the festival has agreed to waive their fees for this. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the authors in giving up their time.

“If we could say one thing to anyone thinking of coming along, it would be to maybe take a chance on an author whose work you do not know and break out of a reading rut.”

Saturday, May 16th

Hodges Figgis

2pm - 3pm | Paul Howard

3pm - 4pm | Ryan Tubridy

4pm - 5pm | Sarah Bannan

5pm - 6pm | Peter Sheridan

The Gutter Bookshop

2pm - 3pm | Selina Guinness

3pm - 4pm | Gavin Corbett

4pm - 5pm | Lisa McInerney

5pm - 6pm | Kati Donovan

Saturday, May 23rd

Books Upstairs

2pm - 3pm | Henrietta McKervey

3pm - 4pm | John Banville

4pm - 5pm | David Shafer

5pm - 6pm | Dermot Bolger

Dubray Books, Grafton St

2pm - 3pm | Susan Jane White

3pm - 4pm | Ann Marie Hourihane

4pm - 5pm | Eoin McNamee

5pm - 6pm | Christine Dwyer Hickey

 

The Penny Dreadful Novella Prize

A novella is an overlooked, but certainly not an underused form. Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 – all of these are classics of world literature and yet the form seems to have fallen out of fashion with many of today’s writers. The Penny Dreadful Novella Prize hopes to challenge writers in Ireland and the UK to use this neglected form.

The Penny Dreadful is an Irish literary magazine founded by John Keating and Marc O’Connell in 2011 and edited with Cethan Leahy. It has published writers such as Paul Muldoon, Kevin Barry, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, John Boyne and Roddy Doyle alongside some of the best new and young writers from around the world. Dylan Brennan’s Blood Oranges is the first book to be published by The Dreadful Press.

The prize is €2,000 and publication by The Dreadful Press. Submissions open in June and close in September 2015 with a word limit of between 15,000 and 35,000 words. Adjudicators are Colin Barrett (Young Skins, Stinging Fly Press, Guardian First Book Award) Sara Baume (Spill Simmer Falter Wither, Tramp Press/Heinemann, Davy Byrne’s Short Story Award) and Paul McVeigh (The Good Son, Salt; director of the London Short Story Festival).

Entries are €10 euros per manuscript with a limit of two entries per author. Full details, including complete terms and conditions, are available here.

 

€1,000 Caterpillar prize for children’s story

The Caterpillar, the junior version of the arts and literature magazine The Moth - is launching a new prize for a short story written by an adult for children (aged 7-11).

The magazine, which features stories for children from the likes of Michael Morpurgo, Ian Whybrow and Frank Cottrell Boyce, is passionate about bringing the best of writing to their young readers. They are looking for a story that celebrates all that is good about children’s writing.

The winner will receive a prize of €1,000 and their story will be published in the winter issue of The Caterpillar. The prize is open to established and up-and-coming writers alike, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished. It can be on any subject, and the word limit is 2,000 words. The closing date is September 30th, 2015.

The competition will be judged by the publishers of The Caterpillar and The Moth, Rebecca O’Connor and Will Govan. Entry details appear online at www.thecaterpillarmagazine.com. Commended stories may also be published in The Caterpillar.

WB Yeats celebration at Smock Alley

A unique celebration of the legacy of WB Yeats, Bodies that can Never Tire, will take place Smock Alley Theatre on Friday 22nd May, with proceeds from the event in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

The evening’s entertainment will feature actors Clark Middleton (Birdman, Kill Bill), Séan Doyle (Fair City), Aoife Duffin (What Richard Did, Moone Boy), Aoibhin Garrihy (Fair City, The Fall), Lorcan Cranitch (Love, Rosie) and Maeve Fitzgerald (Pride and Prejudice at the Gate), in a specially commissioned piece interwoven with music, poetry and spoken word. Contributors include Patrick McCabe (The Butcher Boy; Breakfast on Pluto), Katie Donovan (Rootling: New & Selected Poems), Deirdre Kinahan (playwright whose new play Spinning opened at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2014), composer Tom Lane (HARP | a river cantata, Twelfth Night, Abbey Theatre), Songs in the Key of D choir, folk trio The Evertides and hip hop artist Lethal Dialect.

In WB Yeats’ great play, An Baile Strand, Cuchulainn is asked to take an oath to defend the country. Against his will he agrees and sings the oath, including the lines above. Being half man, half god, Cuchulainn himself is a “body that can never tire”, but in these lines Yeats focuses on the artist’s inner drive to satisfy dreams, visions and supernatural impulses. These “bodies that can never tire” are different for everybody and fuel ambition, obsession and revolution. They are central to artistic creation.

The event is part of International Literature Festival Dublin, now in its 17th year. This year attendees include Irvine Welsh, Jon Ronson, Paul Muldoon, Anne Enright, Alexander McCall Smith Anne Applebaum, Elif Shafak and Oliver Jeffers.

Tickets to all events are available online via www.ilfdublin.com Box Office Filmbase, Curved St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (11am-6pm Mon-Sat, 12-5pm Sun) . Tel: 01-687 7977.

Encore for Listowel

Organisers of the Listowel Writers’ Week received a boost this week as one of its star names, Neel Mukherjee, won the £10,000 Encore award for the year’s best second novel.

The Lives of Others, the story of a young man who is drawn into into extreme political activism in 1960s Calcutta, was also shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and the Costa. Alex Clark, chairman of the judging panel, said Mukherjee’s novel “immensely impressed” with its “ambition and depth” . The Encore award, founded by Lucy Astor 25 years ago, has been won in the past by Ali Smith, Anne Enright and Colm Tóibín.

Mukherjee, who was born in India and lives in London, called the Encore “a burst of light in what is usually considered to be dark, damp, bleak territory – the dreaded second novel”. He said he was “thrilled by my good fortune and, looking at the list of past winners, both humbled and deeply honoured” to win.

Mukherjee will be interviewed by Martin Doyle, Irish Times assistant literary editor, on Saturday, May 30th. writersweek.ie

Trinity gets medieval

Medieval dragons terrorising the people of Dublin, grisly discoveries at Swords Castle and the return of an important early 14th-century manuscript to its city of origin after 400 years are among topics to be explored at a symposium in Trinity College Dublin, which aims to bring cutting-edge historical and archaeological research about medieval Dublin to the general public.

Taking place on Saturday, May 16th, in the Robert Emmet Theatre, Arts Building, TCD, the 17th Medieval Dublin Symposium comprises a series of eight lectures, which are free and open to the public, focusing on the archaeology, history and literature of Dublin from the Vikings to the Tudors.

Eamon O’Hara memoir takes silver

Congratulations to Eamon O’Hara, whose memoir of moving to France, A French Renaissance?, won a silver medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Europe, non-fiction category. You can read his article on writing the book here.

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