Tom Hanks and Stefanie Preissner to make literary debuts
William Trevor lecture; Bernard MacLaverty interview; Féile Fidelma; Barry and O'Loughlin on Walter Scott prize longlist
Tom Hanks is to make his debut as a fiction writer this autumn with Uncommon Type: Some Stories. Photograph: Getty Images
Hollywood star Tom Hanks is to make his debut as a fiction writer this autumn with Uncommon Type: Some Stories, to be published by William Heinemann. Not one to give up the day job, he has also signed up to read the audiobook. Uncommon Type features 17 stories, each involving a different typewriter (Hanks is an avid collector of vintage typewriters and owns more than 100).
In the book, there is a story about an immigrant arriving in New York City after his family and life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war; another about a man who bowls a perfect game (and then another, and another) becoming ESPN’s newest celebrity; another about an eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant on the hunt for something larger in America; and another about the junket life of an actor.
“I read a story by Tom in The New Yorker several years ago,” said Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Alfred A. Knopf, “and was struck by both his remarkable voice and command as a writer. I had hoped there might be more stories in the works. Happily, for readers, it turns out there were.”
Hanks began writing the book in 2015. “In the two years of working on the stories,” said Hanks, “I made movies in New York, Berlin, Budapest, and Atlanta and wrote in all of them. I wrote in hotels during press tours. I wrote on vacation. I wrote on planes, at home, and in the office. When I could actually make a schedule, and keep to it, I wrote in the mornings from 9 to 1.”
Closer to home, Can’t Cope/Won’t Cope screenwriter Stefanie Preissner is to publish her first book, Why Can’t Everything Just Stay the Same? (and other things I shout when I can’t cope) this autumn with Hachette Books Ireland.
Preissner, whose theatre show, Solpadeine is My Boyfriend, became RTÉ’s most downloaded podcast as a radio play, said: “The book covers everything from social media to ageing to relationship break-ups.”
As a child, being in new places made Preissner ill – hence, her family holidayed in the same apartment on the same island off the Spanish coast for nine years in a row. Why Can’t Everything Just Stay the Same? is a book about the many ways in which she has changed, despite her best and sustained efforts to stay the same.
The Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing hosts a lecture by its director Ian Sansom entitled William Trevor: A Huge Alas the in Trinity Long Room Hub on Thursday, March 23rd, at 6pm. “We cannot choose our parents but we can perhaps choose our literary precursors,” said Sansom. “William Trevor’s example has been an inspiration to me and doubtless to many other writers. In this lecture I want to explore his legacy and in particular – in this age of loose talk and bombast – I want to consider what we can learn from his depiction of human frailty and failure.”
Laureate for Irish Fiction Anne Enright interviews Bernard MacLaverty about his novel Grace Notes this Thursday, February 23rd, at 6.30pm at Ballymun Library, Dublin 9. Free but booking essential on 01-8421890 or firstname.lastname@example.org The event, part of the Readers’ Voice Series celebrating Ireland’s Book Clubs, will be livestreamed on Facebook.
The Féile Fidelma, first held in 2006, is now the longest-running three-day gathering of fans devoted to the work of a single living author. This year’s Féile Fidelma Weekend takes place in her “home town”, Cashel, Co Tipperary, from September 8th-10th, and will be opened by Seán Canney TD, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works.
Peter Tremayne, author of the international bestselling Sister Fidelma Mysteries, which are set in seventh-century Ireland, will give a talk entitled Fidelma: Pseudo-History and History. Tremayne is the pseudonym of the historian and author Peter Berresford Ellis, whose family are from Cork. For details, visit cashelartsfest.com. The 28th title in this series, Night of the Lightbringer, is due out from Headline Books in June. This year’s gathering is to be opened by Seán Canney TD, Irish Minsiter of State OPW. The last gathering was opened by the then Irish Minister of State for the Environment Alan Kelly TD who called the series ‘a national treasure’. The author Peter Tremayne is the fiction writing pseudonym of the historian and author Peter Berresford Ellis whose family are from Cork. The series has been translated into a score of languages.
Two Irish authors have made the 13-strong longlist for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017: Sebastian Barry for Days Without End (Faber) and Ed O’Loughlin for Minds of Winter (riverrun).
The Walter Scott Prize Longlist 2017
Jo Baker A Country Road, A Tree (Doubleday)
Julian Barnes The Noise of Time (Jonathan Cape)
Sebastian Barry Days Without End (Faber)
Richard Francis Crane Pond (Europa)
Linda Grant The Dark Circle (Virago)
Charlotte Hobson The Vanishing Futurist (Faber)
Hannah Kent The Good People (Picador Australia)
Ed O’Loughlin Minds of Winter (riverrun)
Sarah Perry The Essex Serpent (Profile)
Dominic Smith The Last Painting of Sara de Vos (Allen & Unwin Australia)
Francis Spufford Golden Hill (Faber)
Graham Swift Mothering Sunday (Scribner)
Rose Tremain The Gustav Sonata (Chatto & Windus)