Interviewed on RTE Radio about The 32 Anthology
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.
FRI 26 APR 2019 8:00pm | €8/6
Kit de Waal and Anne Griffin will be in conversation with me.
“The Trick to Time is Kit de Waal’s second novel, taking place during the IRA pub bombings in Birmingham in 1974. Born in Birmingham to an Irish mother and an African-Caribbean father, de Waal began her writing career at the age of 45, after leaving school at 15. Seeking to address the under-representation of working-class voices in the arts, de Waal has established a creative writing scholarship.
Anne Griffin has worked with various charities following completion of a postgraduate diploma in Youth and Community Work. A recipient of the John McGahern Award for Literature, Griffin’s debut novel is When All Is Said. The protagonist is 84-year-old Maurice, who sits at a bar and toasts five individuals who have most profoundly impacted on his life in five internal monologues.
7.30pm: Join us for a pre-event whiskey tasting event from Master of Malt and discover the wonderful world of Irish whiskey through the distilleries while remembering the characters beautifully brought to life in Anne Griffin’s poignant bestselling novel, When All Is Said. Whiskies from Midleton and Bushmills showcase the incredible spectrum of flavours found in Ireland’s favourite drink and reflected in the toasts raised by character Maurice Hannigan to his loved ones in When All Is Said.”
I’ve written the introduction to Toby Binder’s wonderful photo book ‘Wee Muckers’ which is launched in Munich tonight! The book is a series of photographs of working class youths in Belfast.
German TV, Das Erste 1, flew over to do an interview with me and I took them around Ardoyne, where I grew up and where The Good Son is set.
Delighted to be appearing at the Cork World Book Fest again this year. More news to follow… save the date!
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.
On the day of the ceremony on BBC Radio 4 Front Row I go behind the scenes of the BBC National Short Story Award with one of its founders and BBC Radio Books Editor Di Speirs. Find out all you need to know about the judging process in Irish Times Culture.
“Over the last few years I’ve worked with a number of literary awards and prizes, and it’s been an education. The behind-the-scenes processes have varied quite significantly. To illustrate with one example; for the £30,000 International Dylan Thomas Prize we read the longlist of twelve books then re-read our chosen shortlist of six, for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize we didn’t read the longlist only the five collections on the shortlist, for the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Prize I was the only judge and reader, tackling around 750 short stories.
This year I was asked to be an ambassador for the BBC National Short Story Award. I first worked with the award a few years back for an event at the London Short Story Festival, which I co-founded and programmed. Now in its 13th year, the award has become a landmark on the short story landscape in the UK and internationally. I have long been a fan of their excellent website, for podcasts and recordings of previous winners and specially commissioned short stories from the best writers in the form. On that note, a little known astonishing fact, BBC Radio 4 is the world’s biggest single commissioner of short stories, attracting audiences of over a million listeners to short fiction.
Due to its unique and powerful position, at times, questions are asked about access to the BBC’s short story feast. As I watched the twitter reaction to the news of the fifth all-female shortlist and the issues raised re its selection process, I realised there were some questions even I had about the way the award worked.
I used my role as ambassador to gain an interview with Di Speirs, founding judge of the award and BBC’s editor of books, who has gone into detail about every step of the judging process, and shares her love for the short story form.”
I’m delighted to be working with Kit de Waal again. We read together at a festival in Morges and for the Royal Society of Literature in London. I’ve also interviewed her for The Irish Times. This time I’ll be interviewing her live in Belfast. Here’s the blurb…
The Crescent is delighted to welcome to Belfast, the author of the Costa shortlisted and Irish Novel of the Year award winning novel, My Name is Leon, Kit De Waal for a Belfast Book Festival Fringe event. She is joining us to discuss her latest novel, The Trick To Time; an unforgettable love story.
Birmingham, 1972. Mona is a young Irish girl in a big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in town, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a dizzying love affair, a whirlwind marriage, an unexpected pregnancy – before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.
Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?
The Trick to Time is an unforgettable tale of grief, longing, and a love that lasts a lifetime.
‘Weaving tragedy and joy, big themes and the minutiae of life, this is a love story to take on the classics’ – Emerald Street
Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 60’s and 70’s. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017.
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.