Literary news in round-up

Mahon’s hot streak

There’s nothing like a winning streak and hot on the heels of his Irish TimesPoetry Now Award for Life on Earth(Gallery Press), Derek Mahon has been shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize 2009 for the same collection.

The other three collections on the shortlist are The Lost Leader(Faber) by Mick Imlah, the Times Literary Supplementpoetry editor who died in January aged 52; Rising, Falling, Hovering(Copper Canyon Press) by CD Wright; and Primitive Mentor(University of Pittsburgh Press) by Dean Young.

Judges Saskia Hamilton, Michael Redhill and Irish poet Dennis O’Driscoll each read 485 books of poetry, including 33 translations, received from 32 countries around the globe for both the international category and the category for Canadian poets. Kevin Connolly, Jeramy Dodds and AF Moritz are the three poets shorlisted for that award this year.

The winners from both prizes, who each receive 50,000 Canadian dollars, will be announced on June 3rd.

More Power to him

Irish writer Kevin Power (above) whose debut novel Bad Day in Blackrock(Lilliput) is up for an Irish Book Award in May had more success this week when he was nominated in two categories on the shortlists for the 2008 Hennessy XO Literary Awards. Power made the Emerging Fiction list with his short story The American Girland the Emerging Poetry list with three poems: An Irish Suburban Love-song, Poetsand Dún Laoghaire.

Writers John Boyne and Sally Nicholls are the judges of these awards, which are now in their 38th year. Up for the First Fiction gong are Tom Clarke, Eimear Ryan, Barry McKinley, Selina Guinness and Donald Mahony. Nominated for Emerging Fiction – along with Power – are Seamus Scanlon, Susan Lanigan, Sharon Irwin, Stephen Wade, Aiden O’Reilly and Colm Keegan. The nominees for the Emerging Poetry prize, in addition to Power, are Stephen Kennedy, Connie Roberts, Louise Mahaffy, David Mohan, Celeste Augé and Melissa Diew.

The winners of each category get €1,500; the winner of the overall Hennessy XO New Irish Writer 2008 title will then be chosen from the three category winners and get an additional €2,500. The award ceremony takes place on April 28th.

Great Irish Book week

The book world, like everyone else, is casting about to see how to improve business and proposals are afoot from the publisher’s umbrella body CLÉ for what they’re provisionally calling a Great Irish Book Week next winter. The idea is to increase sales in bookshops in the dip period of early November by presenting a range of books at special-offer prices agreed with booksellers. The discount would be in the region of 20 per cent and would be funded jointly by participating publishers and booksellers. CLÉ will be asking book publishers to submit up to four recent titles for potential inclusion. These will then be narrowed down to a final 30 books or so which would be promoted during the week.

Böll Memorial Weekend

The Heinrich Böll Memorial Weekend on Achill Island will be officially opened this year on May 1st by Government minister Eamon Ryan. Events include a lecture by Patricia Byrne on The Life and Writings of Brother Paul Carney (1844-1928),the Franciscan monk who was based in Achill from 1869 until 1895. Other participants include Achill-born John F Deane, Hugo Hamilton and René Böll, who will give a lecture on the writing of his father Heinrich and the experiences of the Böll family in travelling to the USSR, Ireland, and Czechoslovakia; See achilltourism.com for more.