The March 2019 edition of the Irish Times Books Podcast features an interview with debut author Kevin Breathnach about his acclaimed collection of essays, Tunnel Vision, an original, erudite and entertaining combination of art criticism and self-portrait, published this month by Faber & Faber. It is the work of a young writer, talented but not yet fully formed, and disarmingly aware of this.
Houman Barekat, reviewing in The Irish Times, wrote: “The conspicuous erudition is mitigated by a disarming self-awareness as Breathnach frequently sends up his own earnestness [During] the naive hinterland between adolescence and mature adulthood ... ‘Growing up in public’ is widely held to be unseemly, but in its best moments this candid portrait – of the young writer as flaneur, fanboy, sometime chronic masturbator and occasional cad – makes a good case for ditching that taboo.”
Sally Rooney said: “Kevin Breathnach is making what seem to me substantial contributions to the field of essay-writing. He brings a keen sensitivity to the practice of criticism and a superb critical intelligence to his own intimate personal narratives. His essays demonstrate not only an impressive depth of learning, but an even more necessary depth of feeling.”
This is followed by Ciaran Carty discussing five decades of Hennessy New Irish Writing ahead of this year's awards ceremony on March 28th at Dublin's Smock Alley Theatre. New Irish Writing has helped to launch the careers of many of Ireland's best-known authors, including Sebastian Barry, Joe O'Connor, Colum McCann and Mike McCormack. Carty took over the running of New Irish Writing from founder David Marcus in the late 1980s and he reflects on some of the highlights over the years.
The Books Podcast is sponsored by Green & Black's