To Garth Greenwell, the huge international success of his debut What Belongs to You, “was the biggest surprise of my life”, and he feels “immensely lucky” as “the success of a book has as much to do with chance as anything else”. Its success has allowed him to have a career as a writer and teacher in a way he wasn’t able to in his previous 20 years of writing. He feels relieved, though, that the writing process itself, “the struggle”, just him alone with his notebook and “the pit of doubt and despair”, hasn’t changed. “I wouldn’t know who I would be without it.”
You can read my interview with him about his new novel, Cleanness, in The Irish Times.
I’m excited to interview Man Booker Prize Winner Anne Enright for the second time, this time on home turf. The first time was in Waterstones Piccadilly for Word Factory earlier this year. We also sat on some panels together whilst at a literature festival in Morges, Switzerland.
Next February 9th, I’ll be interviewing her at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace, here’s the blurb…
‘Booker Prize-winning novelist Anne Enright is one of the most celebrated writers working in Ireland today. Her work is part of a great tradition of Irish writing that explores themes of family life, relationships, love, repression and memory.
Enright won the 2007 Booker Prize for her novel The Gathering, a story about the pull of family and the lure of home. Her first novel was The Wig My Father Wore and subsequent works have included What Are You Like?, The Forgotten Waltz and her most recent The Green Road. Her awards also include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Encore Award and the Irish Novel of the Year.
From 2015 to 2018 she was the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction and we are delighted to welcome her to The Helicon where she will talk about her work and career with Paul McVeigh.’
Come along, it should be a wonderful night.
Thursday 22nd November 19:00 – 21:00
at Crescent Arts Centre Cube, 2-4 University Road, Belfast , BT7 1NH
I’ll be interviewing the wonderful Sarah Perry in Belfast in November. I read with Sarah a few years back at a festival in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. Here’s what Waterstones said…
“We are thrilled to welcome Sarah Perry, the author of 2016’s Waterstones Book of the YearThe Essex Serpent, to Belfast in conversation with Paul McVeigh to discuss her new novel Melmoth.
Sarah Perry is the UK’s most extraordinary writer of Gothic literature. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She has been the writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library and the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague. After Me Comes the Flood, her first novel, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize, and won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award in 2014. Her latest novel, The Essex Serpent, was a number one bestseller in hardback, Waterstones Book of the Year 2016, the British Book Awards Book of the Year 2017, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and Dylan Thomas Award, and longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017.
Melmoth is a profound, ambitiously realised work of fiction which asks fundamental questions about guilt, forgiveness, moral reckoning and how we come to terms with our actions in a conflicted world. A compulsive, terrifying and thoroughly modern Gothic novel, and a response to the Irish Gothic classic Melmoth the Wanderer.
Further details: 020892040159″
10pm, Firkin Crane Theatre (€5)
Chris Power lives and works in London. His ‘Brief Survey of the Short Story’ has appeared in the Guardian since 2007. His fiction has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Dublin Review and The White Review. Mothers is his first book.
The Good Son, Paul McVeigh’s debut novel, won The Polari Prize and The McCrea Literary Award. It was shortlisted for The Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, the Prix du Roman Cezam in France and a finalist for The People’s Book Prize. The Good Sonwas chosen as Brighton’s City Reads 2016 and was given out as part of World Book Night 2017. Paul has written comedy, essays, flash fiction, a novel, plays and short stories, and his work has been performed on stage and radio, and published in seven languages.
Alannah Hopkin & Carlo Gébler in conversation with Paul McVeigh
The Munster Literature Centre has put this video online of an event which I chaired at Cork Short Story Festival last year. I hope you enjoy it.
You can read my interview with author Kit de Waal in The Irish Times today.
“When I arrive at Kit de Waal’s she’s in her writing cabin in the back garden of her house in Leamington. De Waal gets a kick out of using the no-frills Leamington while the locals insist on its full title:Royal Leamington Spa. No surprise, really, as though outwardly seeming to have fallen far from the tree in this wealthy, white, middle-England town, this author holds tightly to her roots; Brummie, Irish, West Indian and working class.”
Read the full interview on their site.
Kit’s new novel is the Irish Book Club choice for this month.
de Waal and I shared the stage at a festival in Morges last year and at the above event for Royal Society of Literature
Congratulations to George Saunders on winning the Man Booker Prize for his debut novel Lincoln in the Bardo.
I’ve been lucky enough to have interviewed George twice and was especially honoured to share the stage with him this year at the BBC 3 Free Thinking Festival.
My first interview with him was on the day he won The Folio Prize and the second time was recently on a promotional tour of the UK and Ireland for the release of his award-winning novel.
I hope you enjoy them.
Credit: Paul McVeigh – taken in London before his Folio Prize win
Lisa McInerney Q&A: ‘Heresies was a landscape. Miracles is a portrait’
Last night I was Lisa McInerney’s launch in Dublin. My interview with her appeared in The Irish Times yesterday – you can read it here.
Here’s a snippet…
The Blood Miracles is a follow-up to The Glorious Heresies. It was always your intention to write a trilogy.
Yeah, I think it was. It felt to me very early on like each should be part of a larger story. I had in my head that very famous hendiatris “sex, drugs, rock and roll”. “Three words, one idea” became “three novels, one broader story”. Heresies was sex, Miracles is drugs . . . which leaves me with a rousing symphonic epic to write for the closer. Each novel works on its own too, I think, so I think it will be more of a set than a trilogy.
You had this overview in mind but how much of the story did you have before you began writing The Blood Miracles?
Quite a bit, which isn’t usual for me. I knew the nuts and bolts of Miracles from the beginning, whereas with Heresies, I knew where it started and where it would end but I hadn’t a clue how I was going to get from one to the other. Miracles came together very differently. But that said, I think it’s more plot-centric than Heresies. It might show in the reading that I knew where I was going with it.
Lisa McInerney last night
I’m looking forward to the first Shrewsbury Literature Festival. On the Friday 25th November I’ll be interviewing Jonathan Coe about his new novel Number 11 in the festival’s first ever event. Here’s the info…
“Jonathan Coe is SFL’s first Patron and we are delighted that he will be with us over the Festival weekend. He is the author of numerous novels, including “What a Carve Up!”, “The Rotters’ Club” and the Shropshire-based “The Rain before It Falls“.
Jonathan was born in Birmingham and spent many happy childhood holidays in Shropshire. He tells us that he is looking forward to returning to Shrewsbury for the festival in November.
Jonathan’s latest novel is “Number 11” and he will be discussing this book and many other things with the writer, Paul McVeigh, in our very first event!”
On Saturday 26th November I’ll be running a writing workshop and then reading from and talking about The Good Son at 5pm.
I hope to see some of you there.
The Good Son:Currently Shortlisted for The Polari Prize
Appearances: Kildare Readers Festival with Lisa McInerney, Oct 15
Wivenhoe Bookshop with AL Kennedy, Oct 29
Outburst Festival Belfast, Nov 14
German Tour: Olpe, Nov 15/Munich, Nov 16/Regendburg, Nov 17/Hamburg, Nov 18
Shrewsbury Literature Festival: Nov 25/26