If any writer can combine the graphic quality and emotional analysis of traditional realism with the zaniness of actual reality, then it is Sean Mac Mathuna. His new collection of short stories, Banana, with its luscious picture of a green apple on a tempting yellow cover, has just won this year's Gradam U Shuilleabhain for publishers Cois Life. Mac Mathuna uses up-front realist and dramatic techniques to show just how cruel and crazy is life. The great writers of yesteryear have also shown that there is substance to their reputation. Mairtin O Chadhain's lecture, Tone inne agus inniu (Coisceim), given in 1963 but only now published, bubbles over with history, analysis, anecdote, observations and invective, while his collection of songs from Connemara, Faoi Rothai na Greine, edited by his brother, Seosamh, and Rionach ui Ogain, is already a source book. In the same context, we have the reprint by Athol Books of the United Irishmen's one-off Irish language magazine of 1795, Bolg na Tsolair. Another writer whose star continues to shine is Tomas O Criomhthain, additions to whose Blasket Diary, Allagar II, have been edited by Padraig Ua Maoileoin. Finally it's worth mentioning two books in areas not usually associated with writing in Irish: popular science - Nod don Eolach (An Gum) by Matt Hussey; and medicine - an account of some of man's more well-known ailments, Notai on Lia (Coisceim), by Ruairi O Bleine.