LOOSE LEAVES

 

New verse collectionA poetry anthology reflecting the increasing diversity of cultural life in Ireland and giving first- and second- generation immigrants a chance to showcase their contribution to Irish literature is in train.

Its editors, Borbála Faragó and Eva Bourke, are now calling for submissions to reach them by the end of next month. They hope the collection of immigrant poetry will be published this summer.

"We are asking poets from other countries who live here and who write in English to send us poems for possible inclusion. The term 'immigrant' includes people who were born outside Ireland and came to live here (first generation), and those who were born here but have parents, or one parent born elsewhere (second generation)."

All submissions of two copies of a maximum of 12-15 poems should be typed and have the poet's name, address, and e-mail address at the bottom of each page.

A short covering letter (maximum 500 words), along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope for editors' replies and the return of manuscripts should be sent to Borbála Faragó and Eva Bourke, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.

Barry's big week

The year couldn't have started better than with Sebastian Barry (below) winning the Costa Novel award on Monday for The Sacred Scripture. "You won't read a better book this year," said the category judges Dan Fenton, Pauline McLynn and Matthew Sweet. Barry is now in the enviable position of savouring his win while his hat is in the ring with the four other category winners who will now compete for the overall Costa book of the year award, which will be announced at a ceremony in London on January 27th, presided over by Mariella Frostrup. Each category winner gets £5,000, with the overall winner getting a further £25,000.

Up against Barry are: Sadie Jones, whose novel, The Outcast, took the first novel award; Adam Foulds, whose debut work of poetry about the Mau Mau uprisings in Kenya, The Broken Word, won the poetry prize; and Michelle Magorian, author of Goodnight Mr Tom, who won the children's award for Just Henry, her first new book in 10 years. At the age of 91, Diana Athill, who took the biography award for her memoir Somewhere Towards the End, is the oldest-ever category-winning author in the history of the awards. Athill had a long career in publishing and then took to writing memoirs with gusto. The nonagenarian's advice for all from the vantage point of one who has survived over nine decades is simple: get up in the morning. "What you must do is defy the languid movement, get out of bed and make yourself do something."

Since the overall book of the year award was initiated in 1985 it has been won eight times by a novel. It has only been given once to a children's book, five times each to a biography and a poetry collection, and four times to a first novel. Previous book of the year winners from Ireland include Seamus Heaney (twice) and William Trevor.

Pen this into your diary

Clíodhna Ní Anluain, who compiles and produces Sunday Miscellany on RTÉ Radio 1, and Seamus Hosey, from the station's features and arts department, will be giving tips on writing for radio at an Irish Pen event in the United Arts Club, 3 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2 at 8pm on Thursday.

Hester Casey, winner of the 2007 Francis MacManus short-story award, will read an excerpt from her prize-winning story, while a number of contributors to Sunday Miscellanywill read their previously broadcast pieces. The cost is €3 for members and €5 for non-members.

Booking is essential: e-mail irishpen@ireland.com or phone 087-9660770.

Annual membership of Pen costs €40 a year, or €30 for associate members and an application form for membership can be downloaded from www.irishpen.com.