In Saturday’s Irish Times, Bernard MacLaverty tells me about Blank Pages, his first new collection of short stories in 15 years; and Nicholas Grene of Trinity College, author of Farming in Modern Irish Literature (OUP), celebrates the subject in a rich essay. Critics are Karlin Lillington on An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang; Kathleen MacMahon on Men in My Situation by Per Petterson, translated by Ingvild Burkey; Eamon Sweeney on Monument Maker by David Keenan; Muiris Houston on Sarah Gilbert and Catherine Green’s Vaxxers; Paschal Donohoe on the landslide by Michael Wolff; Barry Houlihan on The Pages of Hugo Hamilton; Sean Donlon on The Making of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, a memoir by Sir David Goodall Sarah Gilmartin on The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor; and Seán Hewitt on Best New Poetry.
Poetry will be the beating heart of community life in 20 Poetry Towns across the island of Ireland in September. The residents and communities of each City of Poetry will celebrate poetry in their daily life and environment, create common experiences and celebrate the pride, strength and diversity of each city.
As part of this initiative, Poetry Ireland, in collaboration with its local partners, will nominate a poet laureate for each participating city. The chosen poets laureates, who will either be from their respective region or have close ties to it, will be responsible for writing a poem honoring and reflecting their city of poetry and its inhabitants.
Poetry Town is an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with local authority arts offices and is made possible through Open Call funding from the Arts Council of Ireland, and is also supported by the Arts Council of Ireland North. More details on poésietown.ie.
The Polari Awards, the UK’s only literary awards for LGBTQ + literature, were dominated by six titles exploring “the intersections of class, race and sexuality,” organizers said.
Douglas Stuart’s novel, Shuggie Bain (Picador), winner of the Booker Prize, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize of £ 1,000, as well as Rainbow Milk (Dialogue Books) by Paul Mendez; Forcé (Granta) by Kevin Maxwell; Mohsin Zaidi’s memoir, A Detiful Boy (Square Peg); Tomasz Jedrowski’s novel on the Soviet Union, Swimming in the Dark (Bloomsbury); and the collection of poetry by Andreena Leeanne Charred (Team Angelica).
The £ 2,000 Polari Prize Shortlist features Iranian author Golnoosh Nour’s collection The Ministry of Guidance and Other Stories (Muswell Press); the graphic novel Dragman (Vintage) by Steven Appleby; poetry by Caroline Bird with The Air Year (Carcanet) and What Girls Do In The Dark by Rosie Garland (Nine Arches Press); Neil Blackmore’s novel The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle (Windmill); and Diana Souhami’s study No Modernism Without Lesbians (Head of Zeus). The winners will be announced on October 30.
David Walsh has been shortlisted for the Clays Best Sports Writing Award, as part of the Telegraph Sports Book Awards, for The Russian Affair (Simon & Schuster), with Simon Cooper; Maria Konnikova; Ed Caesar; Ian Ridley; and Harry Pearson.
Champagne Football by Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan (Sandycove) has been selected for the CLOC Football Book of the Year, in association with the Football Writers’ Association. No Hiding by Rob Kearney (Reach Sport) and True Colors by Barry Geraghty (Headline) are in the running for the International Autobiography of the Year Pinsent Masons. Kearney is also shortlisted for Arbuthnot Latham Rugby Book of the Year, in association with The Rugby Writers’ Club. The winners will all be announced on September 20.
The Irish Writers Center unveiled a new development opportunity for under-represented writers in Ireland. The Mentor / member duo program will offer 10 selected writers the opportunity to benefit from one-on-one mentoring as well as membership in the Irish Writers Center. This new program is one in a series of 30th anniversary initiatives, including writing course grants, increased payments to writers, and the recent IWC Evolution program.
Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End won the 2021 Theakston Old Peculier crime novel of the year at the Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate last week.
A powerful story of crime, punishment, love and redemption set on the California coast, We Begin at The End is credited by Whitaker for saving his life after being brutally assaulted and stabbed as a teenager.
An unprecedented decision has been taken to recognize Irish author Brian McGilloway’s outstanding political thriller, The Last Crossing, as highly recommended. McGilloway will also receive a hand-engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier for his novel which explores The Troubles from the perspective of former agents who like to think they’ve moved on.
Belfast’s Linen Hall Library is hosting three Zoom Online Literary Events next month that are worth putting in your calendar. See! She’s a Woman Writer: The Authors in Conversation on Wednesday August 11 at 7 p.m. feature Anne Devlin, Sophia Hillan and Medbh McGuckian in discussion with Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, author of the recently published Arlen House book of the same name.
My Life in Loyalism: Billy Hutchinson in Conversation with Dr Gareth Mulvenna takes place on Wednesday August 18 at 7 p.m. From a member of a tartan gang to a prominent loyalist paramilitary, and from progressive Unionist politician to Belfast city councilor, My Life in Loyalism is the remarkable story of Hutchinson as written by Mulvenna. Finally, tune in to The Cinematic Passion of Brian Moore with Brian Henry Martin and Dan Gordon on August 25 at 7 p.m. ET. linhall.com
This year’s AKO Caine Award winner is Meron Hadero. His new winner is The Street Sweep, published by the American magazine ZYZZYVA. She becomes the first Ethiopian writer to win the Caine Prize. Meron writes about the experience of migrants and she studies displacement in her writings in a particularly striking way now in light of current events in Ethiopia.
The New York Review of Books Classics has secured the rights to Paul Larkin’s translation of A Fortunate Man by Henrik Pontoppidan, in order to republish it under its own imprint. NYRBCs will also be releasing their translation of Martin A Hansen’s The Liar next year.
The Steep Curve, Larkin’s second novel in his hexalogy The Good Friday Sting will also be published next year by Colmcille Press.
Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen have revealed that the fourth (and penultimate) book in the popular Aisling series, Aisling and the City: If She Can Make It, She’ll Make It Anywhere, will be released on October 8. After a one-year hiatus, following the unprecedented success of the three previous bestsellers in the series – which have sold over 300,000 copies and won two Irish Book Awards – Aisling fans will be in for a treat. that our eponymous heroine travels to the United States to continue her adventures into adulthood.