JP Donleavy at his home,  Levington Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in 2014. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

JP Donleavy, who has died at the age of 91, was best known as the author of The Ginger Man, the critically acclaimed comic masterpiece. It is estimate(...)

Karl Geary: has written a luminous first novel  full of tension and tenderness. Photograph: Ollie Grove

“You were the hero in your dream of saving her, even with everything you didn’t know about her.” Sixteen-year-old Sonny is a romantic at heart, the yo(...)

Maeve Brennan sitting at the fireplace. Photograph from Angela Bourke’s Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker

Few writers possess the daunting mixture of resilience and vulnerability that Maeve Brennan brought to a small but powerful body of work, comparable (...)

It is the most frequently used word in everyday language but remains repugnant in ever decreasing circles. There, where one dares not speak its nam(...)

Robert Pinsky: “There is a very active vital life of poetry in the US, quite contrary to the stereotype that all Americans are vulgar yahoos who don’t care about art.” Photograph: Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe/ Getty Images

The term “poet-in-residence” suggests a leisurely period of domicile: a year at a university, perhaps, or a season in some crumbling mansion by the(...)

From left, Tanya Sweeney, Kelly Kierans, Meredith Gregge and Joanne McNally in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The word “spinster” used to conjure up a vivid and not entirely flattering picture. In rural Ireland in the 20th century, spinsters were something (...)

Peter Swanson: ‘Goldfinger by Ian Fleming... was the first adult book I read. It was filled with sex and violence and it was a real page turner. I thought: Where can I get more books like this?’

Peter Swanson is the author of two novels, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, and The Kind Worth Killing (Faber & Faber, £14.99). His poems, st(...)

Lee Israel, who has died aged 75, was a professional writer who became rather better known after a trial in 1993 as an accomplished literary forger.In(...)

American artist Harry Smith in a room at the hotel in 1969. Photograph: Getty Images

‘I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel” goes Leonard Cohen’s song, marking his fondness for the hotel that served as a byword for the altern(...)

David Sedaris: ‘There is maybe one Starbucks in Melbourne. And when you go to it, and you walk back to your hotel with it? The look in people’s eyes? Scum.’ Photograph: Sonia Recchia/Getty

‘Oh shoot, I have to do that.” David Sedaris takes out his ever-present notepad – the size of a police notebook – and scribbles something down. “To th(...)