Ireland Literature Guide

The Ireland Literature Guide is an Irish online resource for Literature from Ireland

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ready money is Aladdin's lamp - The John Murray Archive

The National Library of Scotland is currently attempting to purchase and present one of the world's most significant literary and cultural archives from the past 250 years, the John Murray Archive. It contains over 150,000 items, including letters, manuscripts and journals from some of the greatest writers from 1768 to 1920. The image on the left is an original annotated proof of Don Juan by Lord Byron. In order to complete the purchase they need a final 6.5 million. Please give a donation

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stately, plump Paul O’Hanrahan will come from the stairhead...

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.
There is going to be a reading by Paul O’Hanrahan of the first chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses, known as the telemachus from the Homer source, at the spot where it is set in the now Joyce Tower, the mortello tower at Sandycove, which he rented with Gogerty. It is Thursday, August 31, 2006 and I think you have to book, so ring here: Tel: +353 1 280 9265 Fax: +353 1 280 9265.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You can't fool the children of the revulsion

It is with great interest I note that The Pope's Children by David McWilliams has become the Publishers' Book of the Year, for the reason that:
"The Pope's Children has simply been a publishing phenomenon. We can't recall the last time we had to reprint a book so frequently and so frantically. "
Does this not tell us more about the state of the nation than the contents of the book itself?

Monday, August 28, 2006

I don't think I am any good. If I thought I was any good, I wouldn't be.

Tonight in town there is a reading of John Betjeman poetry in that creepy old church at the top of stephen's green, which doesn't seem that fitting for the celebration of the work of a jolly little man, please note i left out the F*T word there. I am heading along myself just to heckle Mahon, and his awful 'voice' and to clap with great appreciation the words of Cronin.

Poetry Ireland presents a reading of the poetry of John Betjeman.
With Anthony Cronin, Derek Mahon and guests.
Unitarian Church, 112 St. Stephen¹s Green West, Dublin 2
August 28th, 7pm, Admission Free
Tel . 01 478 9974, email

Friday, August 25, 2006

U2 by U2 - A biographical greatest hits - A cover review

A biography written by U2 themselves, U2 by U2, will be released on September 26, 2006. Talk about everything you can't leave behind. However, I am glad to see that Bono on the cover is sporting a mullet and looking very like Sonia O'Sullivan in the early days. I always imagined her running across the line singing Gloria. Anyway the world does not need this.

Although all the money will go to Drop the Amnesty for International Greenpeace I doubt very much that it will merit every bookstore window in Dublin being packed with this eyesore. By now you will realise I have not read the book but am remarking on the cover only.

However, this cover does say to me 'do you remember when we were broke', which I think is exactly what Ireland needs to hear right now.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

No more false presentations of Ireland in Print Please - Maureen Lipman's awful article in the Guardian

Do we really need another English attempt to redefine our landscape or culture along English middle-class ideals?

I was sitting in a stained pub on Sunday morning in the home town and the barman was making the pub smell of cheap dinners when I found an article on a visit to Cork by Maureen Lipman. At least she said it was Cork but really I think it was some middle-class daydream of mixing Celtic Mystic Ireland and the cosmopolitan cappachuino Ireland, its all the views (both scenery and viewpoint) perfectly suited to visiting but impossible for living.

After reading this article a few miles from Cork I felt nothing but rejection, how can this Virgil Pastoral exist so near and not exist at all for me. We, the uncovered (not covered at all) Ireland, the majority, lie between the cracks of media perception already, and we certainly don't need an age old attempt at Empire. see Edward Said for details.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Japanese students do a haiku version of Seamus Heaney's Life

It seems that five Japanese students went to Magherafelt to be incubated in the Heaney nest. They went around to any area that was mentioned in a poem or by reference from the poet himself in order to fully understand and appreciate the work of the great man. Mr Kielt told the Belfast Telegraph: "I am not trying to interpret Heaney, but to put the poems in context and to explain the history of the area. To let them experience the real Ireland, to get right into the heart of the country."

So I suppose they finished the tour by moving to Dublin and getting huge tax breaks.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Apparently it is happening in the UK too - Heaney in the Forward Poetry Prize

In my last post, I mentioned the mounting number of 'cash for couplets' type prize funds that are currently appearing in Ireland. Then I came across this prize giving 'best in show' competition, when I was researching the poetry of Seamus Heaney, as old famous seamus is nominated for the best collection section:

Forward Prize for Best Collection (worth £10,000)
Kate Bingham - Quicksand beach
Paul Farley - Tramp in Flames
Vicki Feaver - The Book of Blood
Seamus Heaney - District and Circle
Robin Robertson - Swithering
Penelope Shuttle - Redgrove's Wife

That is 10,000 pound sterling!!
I am in fact only mentioning this as I will never even get listed.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, August 18, 2006

You can't buy culture, you can only sell it - Another massive amount for a writers Award

Where is all this money coming from? There is now a sudden boom of money being poured into the lack-lustre causing many to become aware of the fact that as the money in Ireland grew the ability to produce art of any value diminshed. Please be aware of the fact you can't buy culture you can only sell it.

With a total prize fund of €45,000, the annual Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards will offer unprecedented support and exposure for emerging writers in a range of genres. Awards will be made to the best first book published by an author within each of the following four categories: Fiction, Poetry, Children’s literature and Biography/Non-fiction. A fifth special category will be The Irish Writers’ Centre Award for the best first book published in any genre in the Irish language. The Glen Dimplex New Writer of the Year 2006 will be chosen from the five category winners. Each category winner will receive a prize of €5,000. There will also be an overall award for the Glen Dimplex New Writer of the Year with a prize of €20,000. The Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards are organised in association with the Irish Writers’ Centre and will be judged by a fifteen-strong judging panel which will include Colm Tóibín.

The winners of the inaugural Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards will be announced at a presentation ceremony on 2 November 2006 at The Four Seasons Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. It promises to be a fantastic evening and we would greatly appreciate your attendance and support for the event.

The ceremony will be attended by all leading literary figures in the publishing industry. Myles Dungan of RTE will be the Master of Ceremonies and John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, is our guest of honour.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A bunch of Beckett - BeckettFest - 19 Beckett Plays by the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre

The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre are about to put on 19 of Samuel Beckett's plays. This is a terribel idea and one which no doubt the great 'Shem' himself would be against. Running so many of his plays together will cause an Andy Warhol type repetitive print for consumer access to often very disturbing and very moving plays. I am all for popular access but for plays that were so extreme in the dictates of their presentation, to present them in this manner seems to run contrary to the wishes and perhaps the goal of their creator.

If you feel the same about mass productions of Beckett plays please leave a comment

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One to watch - Improbable Frequency at Traverse, Edinburgh

Improbable Frequency, by Arthur Riordan and Bell Helicopter

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006 Longlist announced

Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006 longlist:
Carey, Peter Theft: A Love Story (Faber & Faber)
Desai, Kiran The Inheritance of Loss (Hamish Hamilton)
Edric, Robert Gathering the Water (Doubleday)
Gordimer, Nadine Get a Life (Bloomsbury)
Grenville, Kate The Secret River (Canongate)
Hyland, M.J. Carry Me Down (Canongate)
Jacobson, Howard Kalooki Nights (Jonathan Cape)
Lasdun, James Seven Lies (Jonathan Cape)
Lawson, Mary The Other Side of the Bridge (Chatto & Windus)
McGregor, Jon So Many Ways to Begin (Bloomsbury)
Matar, Hisham In the Country of Men (Viking)
Messud, Claire The Emperor’s Children (Picador)
Mitchell, David Black Swan Green (Sceptre)
Murr, Naeem The Perfect Man (William Heinemann)
O’Hagan, Andrew Be Near Me (Faber & Faber)
Robertson, James The Testament of Gideon Mack (Hamish Hamilton)
St Aubyn, Edward Mother’s Milk (Picador)
Unsworth, Barry The Ruby in her Navel (Hamish Hamilton)
Waters, Sarah The Night Watch (Virago)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar - Freud

Allegiance to new Irish Nationalism?
Behind the search for deeper meaning there is very often little more than the meaning of the search itself.

Regardless of Mel Smith's drumming up of media interest for the play Allegiance,( running at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh), by breaking the smoking ban with a cigar, the 'stir' that should have been created by the subject matter has yet to manifest itself. Do the followers of 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' know that Michael Collins got on quite well with Winston Churchill, not on stage unfortunately, but in history. Is the recent search for a new Irish nationalism, forged very much by British imperialism, slightly abashed by this friendship. Or is it just that sometimes the fruits of the search will not bare enough coverage as the covering the search itself.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Will the on-air Francis MacManus Short Story Competition change stories into radio-plays?

The Francis MacManus Short Story competition is quite a well known and well contested prize of thousands of euro for on-air short stories. The interesting thing about this competition is that the results will be read out on air which mught change the format of the story. It could be that these stories may end up more like radio-plays due to the fact that they will be presented on and maybe for Radio. I bet that the winning story, not mine, will have plenty of dialogue. Details below:

The annual competition for original short stories for radio is this year celebrating twenty one years on air. The competition commemorates the life and work of Francis Mac Manus, (1909 - 1965), Writer and Head of Talks and Features in Radio Eireann, who was a major figure in encouraging Irish writers and developing radio as a medium for the expression of ideas and the promotion of new writing. Over the past twenty one years The Francis Mac Manus Awards have resulted in the broadcast of over 500 original stories from new and emerging writers and encouraged many now celebrated Irish writers who went on to win success and acclaim in Ireland and abroad.

The 2006 competition offers prizes of €3,000 and a commemorative trophy for the overall winner with €2,000 and €1,000 for the second and third prize-winning stories. The three prize-winners plus a selection from the shortlisted stories will be broadcast on RTE Radio 1 in 2007.

The closing date for entries is Monday, 30th October 2006. A copy of the rules and regulations and an entry form can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to :

RTE RADIO 1 Short Story Competition, RTE Radio Centre, Dublin4.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Meet and Greet for Nobel winners in Edinburgh

Your chance of asking a question to Irish poet Seamus Heaney or British playwright Harold Pinter is getting less and less. Tickets for the readings by both Nobel Prize winners at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival are getting scarce. However, it might not be a huge miss if Heaney insists on banging on about the Scotch-Irish and how there is a line drawn between Ireland and Britain and all those above it are us and everybody below is them. Pinter on the other hand could go into stories about touring plays in Ireland with McMasters all those years ago.

Either way I would like to go so if anyone has an idea on how to get a ticket please leave a comment.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Gates of Gold reopen at Trafalgar

Irish playwright Frank McGuinness’ Gates Of Gold, exploring the relationship between Hilton Edwards and Michael MacLiammoir, the founders of Dublin’s Gate theatre, runs from 21 November to 16 December 2006 at the Trafalgar. It is a play that illustrates how the Wildean lifestyle of the two theatre lights made it possible for a generation of Irish to old their head up in Europe. The humour of the play is always black and bitter but very funny none the less. This is a good play to illustrate McGuiness' view of women in the role of Kassie which is outstanding in its mother Russian nurse maid conventions.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Beckett was not Political - Eagleton at it again

In an artice for New Left Review, the literary critic Terry Eagleton tries to frame an argument for the writings of Samuel Beckett being political out of the fact that Beckett faught with 'Gloria' in the French Resistence. Terry, this is rubbish.

For your jaundiced view of Irish writing being the cultural support for 'free the people' nationalism please stick to O'Casey and leave Beckett's name off the work-sheet at your marxist mill.

As a brief aside, I have only been introduced to Terry once, and the 'person' in front of me abused him from a height, which left me grasping the hand of a bemused, befuddled and slightly stammering old dolt.

In the words of Beckett, 'CRITIC!!!'

Friday, August 04, 2006

Roger Casement shared a tent with Joseph Conrad

Roger Casement shared a tent with Joseph Conrad in the Congo and became the
inspiration behind his most famous novel, Heart of Darkness.

On the 90th anniversary of Roger Casement’s execution for treason in 1916,
is it not time for Ireland to recognise the humanitarian achievements of
the man both Africa and South America

Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane told the BBC that Sir Roger Casement's
story was remarkable.

"Some may call him a traitor, but at the end of the day he was very
passionate about Irish republicanism, about Irish people, their national
identity, their culture and their language," she said.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Yeats at the National Library

"But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!"
- Politics William Butler Yeats

I went to see the massive Yeats collection at the National Library on Kildare Street in Dublin. It is well worth a look even if it is just to get an idea of just how odd a man he was. Still, I doubt if Ireland would be Ireland today if it was not for him.

Opening Hours:
Monday - Wednesday: 10am - 7.45pm
Thursday - Saturday: 10am - 4.45pm
Closed Sundays & Bank Holidays

Exhibition contact details:
Telephone: +353 1 6030 277

Guided Tours:

* Free public tours are provided at 11am and 3pm every day.
* Group tours are provided by appointment and are also free of charge.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Bank Book

I have a book that I read only in bank queues. I take it with me whenever I have to go to Bank of Ireland and did at one stage get through an entire chapter while in the queue. At the moment it is Liam O'Flaherty's 'The Informer', no irony intended.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Derek Mahon is very relevant Today

This is one of the first Irish poems I read and I think at this time in world history it may be time to read it again. It reminds us that there are those who are right now cowering before the standard issue and will afterwards seem to us as different and as distant as the forgotten everyday.

A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford
by Derek Mahon

Let them not forget us, the weak souls among
the asphodels –
Seferis, Mythistorema

For J.G. Farrell

Even now there are places where a thought might grow –
Peruvian mines, worked out and abandoned
To a slow clock of condensation,
An echo trapped forever, and a flutter
Of wildflowers in the lift-shaft,
Indian compounds where the wind dances
And a door bangs with diminished confidence,
Lime crevices behind rippling rainbarrels,
Dog corners for bone burials;
And a disused shed in Co. Wexford,

Deep in the grounds of a burnt-out hotel,
Among the bathtubs and the washbasins
A thousand mushrooms crowd to a keyhole.
This is the one star in their firmament
Or frames a star within a star.
What should they do there but desire?
So many days beyond the rhododendrons
With the world waltzing in its bowl of cloud,
They have learnt patience and silence
Listening to the rooks querulous in the high wood.

They have been waiting for us in a foetor
Of vegetable sweat since civil war days,
Since the gravel-crunching, interminable departure
of the expropriated mycologist.
He never came back, and light since then
Is a keyhole rusting gently after rain.
Spiders have spun, flies dusted to mildew
And once a day, perhaps, they have heard something –
A trickle of masonry, a shout from the blue
Or a lorry changing gear at the end of the lane.

There have been deaths, the pale flesh flaking
Into the earth that nourished it;
And nightmares, born of these and the grim
Dominion of stale air and rank moisture.
Those nearest the door growing strong –
‘Elbow room! Elbow room!’
The rest, dim in a twilight of crumbling
Utensils and broken flower-pots, groaning
For their deliverance, have been so long
Expectant that there is left only the posture.

A half century, without visitors, in the dark –
Poor preparation for the cracking lock
And creak of hinges. Magi, moonmen,
Powdery prisoners of the old regime,
Web-throated, stalked like triffids, racked by drought
And insomnia, only the ghost of a scream
At the flashbulb firing squad we wake them with
Shows there is life yet in their feverish forms.
Grown beyond nature now, soft food for worms,
They lift frail heads in gravity and good faith.

They are begging us, you see, in their wordless way,
To do something, to speak on their behalf
Or at least not to close the door again.
Lost people of Treblinka and Pompeii!
‘Save us, save us,’ they seem to say,
‘Let the god not abandon us
Who have come so far in darkness and in pain.
We too had our lives to live.
You with your light meter and relaxed itinerary,
Let not our naïve labours have been in vain!.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Neil O'Shea Presents An Evening With Great Irish Writers

He performs a one-man show out of extracts from Irish writers: Swift, Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, O’Casey and Synge, that highlights the serious and sometimes humorous aspects of their work.

An Evening With Great Irish Writers
From Mon 31st July until Sat 12th August
Ticket Prices all seats €16 concessions €14
Irish Actors Theatre Company
Studio Performance at 8.15pm.

Box Office Information:

Opening Hours: 10.30am -19.00pm

Telephone Ireland: (01) 679 5720
Telephone International: +353 1 679 5720


Technorati Tags: , , , ,