The Irish Literary Times provides up-to-date coverage of Irish literary news and events in a magazine format via articles available online.
The site is curated by Gerard Beirne an Irish poet and novelist now living in Canada. His most recent collection of poetry is Games of Chance:A Gambler`s Manual (Oberon Press). His novel The Eskimo in the Net (Marion Boyars Publishers) was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award and was selected by the Literary Editor of the Daily Express as his Book of the Year “scandalously ignored by the Man Booker judges...”.
William Crawley presents a special edition from the UK City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry. William Crawley speaks to Roy Hattersley about his latest book 'The Devonshires' and local authors Brian McGilloway and Claire Allan review new publications from Paul Lynch and Maggie O'Farrell.
Kinahan also discusses the feisty women who brought us into the 21st century and the idea of accepting our own mortality
Deirdre Kinahan is an internationally produced Irish playwright whose well-known works includeHue and Cry and Bogboy. Her most recent play, These Halcyon Days, is currently playing at theIrish Arts Center in New York City.
These Halcyon Days is a sweet and funny story about a friendship that forms between two people who meet while in a nursing home. Though the two have different backgrounds and opposite reactions to their present predicament, Patricia and Sean's bond is real and helps both of them deal with the strain of their last days. TheaterMania spoke with Kinahan about her inspiration for the play's two main characters and why, for her, the story is personal.
Seán Lysaght’s speech from the launch of The Blue End of Stars at Ballina Arts Centre on 17 July 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a privilege to be here this evening to present Michelle O’Sullivan’s debut collection of poems, The Blue End of Stars. There is always a special focus of attention when a new writer appears in book form for the first time; this is all the more the case when the book in question carries the Gallery Press imprint. The Gallery Press has been in existence now for over forty years and has established itself as the premier publisher of poetry on this island.
When I got the news a few months ago that I would soon have a Gallery neighbour in Ballina, I looked through some poetry journals to find examples of Michelle O’ Sullivan’s work; in a back issue of the Poetry Ireland Review I found two poems beside her name, and I read the following line:
Taije Silverman, Max McKenna, and John Timpane joined Al Filreis to discuss William Butler Yeats’s “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” [text], surely his most famous early poem (written in 1888; published in 1890) and a staple of his poetry readings into the 1930s. Yeats’s father had read Waldenaloud to him; Thoreau's pastoral simplification had been alluring for him as a teen, when he fantasized living on an uninhabited island in Lough Gill (near Sligo) — Innisfree. In the poem, the speaker, now longing for an orginary Ireland “while I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey” of the city (presumably London), expresses his desire to build a small cabin on the isle and, like Thoreau, to plant rows of beans and “have some peace there.” The romantic torque generated by such Irish/English splitting produces at the same time a brilliant but makeshift, extra-cultural — one might almost say, dramatically dislocated — prosody. The striking sound made by this poem is a topic that draws special attention from our three talkers.
It was to Donegal, in the most northwestern tip of Ireland, that in the 1990s I headed, in order to build a house. The very placenames so rough and musical, the country dotted with lakes and hemmed in by the mountains of Errigal, Muckish, Blue Stack, Doonish West, and Snaght.
Stephen Rea and his wife, Dolours, were the ones who led me there, Stephen in his wry Belfast way saying, “It’s the best of the north and the best of the south without the fuck-up of either.” In this he was gloriously mistaken.
The venture would have its excitements and its obstacles, dramas and melodramas, and the getting of a site at all necessitated a wiliness to interpret that no might possibly mean yes and that any yes was equivocal.
Colum McCann’s ‘Irish book’ is an emigrant’s take on Frederick Douglass and George Mitchell in Ireland
‘You could write about this fat bastard in Central Park,” Colum McCann laughs down the phone, enthused by the idea (his) of talking about his new book TransAtlantic even as he heavy-breathed his way through an habitual five-mile run through Manhattan’s pastoral retreat.
Scan the decades of other National Book Award winners and it is difficult to imagineWilliam Faulkner, say, or John Cheever encouraging an image of them at their least tweedy and bookish and with bare-naked shins on show. But McCann has made his slow-burning ascent to take his place as one of the most recognisable names in international literature without ever losing his reputation for affability and a heartening lack of preciousness.
a Táin Bó, a Spring Show, a video a trodden dream, a parish team, a tax-break scheme a prison cell, an Angelus bell, a clientele a brinded cow, a marriage vow, a domestic row a tattered coat, a puck goat, a telly remote a game of tig, a slip jig, a U2 gig a restored tower, a Holy Hour, a pressure shower a ticking clock, a summer frock, a shock-jock a hazel wand, a dipping pond, a page 3 blonde a canal bank, a returned Yank, a septic tank
Mary Lavin had a curiosity, wit and wisdom that made her essential reading , whether on the pages of the ‘New Yorker’ or in her many collections and novels
On the last day of August 1967, the author Mary Lavin boarded the SS United States with her youngest daughter, Caroline Walsh. They were headed for Manhattan; from there, they would make their way to the University of Connecticut (UConn), where Lavin had been appointed writer-in-residence. By this time, two decades into her career as a fiction writer, Lavin had published nine collections of short stories and had a contract with theNew Yorker ; she had twice received a Guggenheim fellowship and was in demand for readings and speaking engagements at several American universities.
Maggie O'Farrell's sixth novel is another class act, writes Viv Groskop.
During the heatwave of summer 1976 a devoted husband and father of three gets up from the breakfast table and goes out to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. Robert Riordan was recently retired, but still there was nothing to suggest to his wife Gretta that he was unhappy or about to do a disappearing act. Gretta is adamant that she has no idea where he is or why he has gone. Robert and Gretta's grown-up children descend upon the family home to scratch their heads and console their mother.
Season Of Yeats - a new festival bringing the story of two of Sligo’s greatest sons to life with 10 days of Music, Theatre, Exhibitions and the Spoken Word We welcome you to the first Tread Softly…, a new festival bringing the story of two of Sligo’s greatest sons to life with 10 days of Music, Theatre, Exhibitions and the Spoken Word. We sincerely hope you, both visitor and resident, will find events and activities to brighten up your summer and make your Sligo experience all the more enjoyable.
A group of 23 TY students from St Mary’s Holy Faith, Killester are launching their very own book of short stories.
Through the medium of Fighting Words, a creative writing centre in Dublin, the class developed their writing skills and wrote short stories with the help of authors, Roddy Doyle and John Banville. The students attended the writing classes one day a week since the start of the school year, compiling short stories on a wide range of topics, including parental divorce/separation, death, runaways and tales of mystery and adventure.
Shauna Gilligan's first novel is called Happiness Comes from Nowhere. I'm delighted to chat to her about her writing time, it might spur me on a little as I've written nothing for days....oh the shame :)
Welcome to the blog Shauna, you're working on a phd as well as your own writing - so how many hours (or minutes!) do you get to dedicate to fiction in an average week, or is there an average week?!Thanks for having me on your blog, Niamh.Yes, I’m doing a PhD in Writing (University of South Wales) and I’ve got my Viva Voce on June 12th (that’s the oral exam where you defend your PhD thesis) so I’m nearly there with that one, thankfully!
Colum McCann on journeys of inspiration, his intensive research process, and his new novel.
The annoying writerly adage says to write what you know. Great – if you possess a particular passion for accessing the extraordinary in the humdrum. Terrific – if your past is rich with enough adventure or incident to provide a lifetime of inspiration.
But what if it isn’t?
This is the problem that Colum McCann confronted in the summer of 1986, when he came to America, to Cape Cod, with the intention of writing a novel. It’s a problem he has been constructively solving ever since, over the course of two story collections – Fishing the Sloe-Black River (1994) and Everything in This Country Must (1998) – and five novels – Songdogs (1995), This Side of Brightness (1998), Dancer (2003), Zoli (2006), Let the Great World Spin (2009), which won the National Book Award, and the forthcoming TransAtlantic.
Disgrace by J.M Coetzee was a huge influence. The way it dealt with racism, at an acute, oblique, yet unique angle was fascinating. The strong plot and three act structure, the one horrendous act and the fall-out after it, colours all of my book. Of course, Coetzee’s refusal to take on cultural ventriloquism, was a technique I would follow also. Our society is rapidly become a more multi-cultural one, and of course, as time moves on, it will be faced with issues it has not before faced. Disgrace, although written in the present tense – like Beatsploitation –
Two Dedalus Press collections are among the four shortlisted for the 2013 Strong / Shine Award for debut volumes of poetry, to be presented at the Poetry Now at Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival in September.
Eleanor Hooker's The Shadow Owner's Companion and Mary Noonan's The Fado House are two striking and assured debuts and are joined by first collections from Rebecca O'Connor,We'll Sing Blackbird (Moth Editions) and Michelle O'Sullivan, The Blue End of Stars (Gallery Press).
‘I have to keep pushing at the edges of what I can do’
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 16:33
Many young Irish writers confront the notion of the ridiculous. And why not? We are, after all, up to our necks in the stuff on a daily basis. But to hear a debut novelist admit to a concern with the sublime – well, that’s something of a rarity.
Yet here is Paul Lynch, author of Red Sky in Morning , calmly setting out his literary stall.
It’s five years since Irish novelist John Boyne’s life was changed forever when the film adaptation of his harrowing novel, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, catapulted him into the premier-league of international writers.
I'm fascinated as to how other writers write, especially those who write across forms, Nuala Ní Chonchúir who blogs at WomenRuleWriter has has published one novel, four collections of short fiction, three poetry collections AND she teaches creative writing part time- so I'm delighted to be able to ask her some nosey questions about how she juggles it all!
Welcome to the blog Nuala, can you tell me how many writing hours you have on an average week, or is there an average week?