Australian Writers Cate Kennedy and Paddy O’Reilly in Conversation with Paul McVeigh
About this Event
Cate Kennedy is a novelist, short story writer and poet whose work features in the school syllabus in Australia. When writing about her favourite Australian fiction, the late Eileen Battersby recommended Cate Kennedy’s second short story collection Like a House on Fire (2012) and said: ‘Australia’s response to the art of Alice Munro, Cate Kennedy is a singular artist who looks to the ordinary in a small rural community and is particularly astute on exploring the fallout left by the aftermath of the personal disasters that change everything. Her debut collection, Dark Roots (2006) heralded the arrival of a fully-formed master of the form ….’ The Irish Times
Paddy O’Reilly is a multiple award-winning Australian writer whose novels and stories have won and been shortlisted for many major awards, and have been published, anthologised and broadcast in Australia, China, Europe, the UK and the USA.
‘In her latest collection, Peripheral Vision, Paddy O’Reilly proves to be one of Australia’s most accomplished authors of the long-wave story. Peripheral Vision has expansive energy, and will fascinate readers with a taste for open endings and vivid voices.’ The Australian
April 24, 2021, 12:30pm Cúirt International Festival of Literature
ONLINE (YOUTUBE) / PAY WHAT YOU CAN
“A thoughtful, witty and heartfelt debut novel, Bryan Washington’s Memorial explores the challenges of intimacy, hard-won vulnerability and building relationships while dealing with your own shit. Fans of Sally Rooney will enjoy Memorial, a story about relationships and what binds us together. When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying, he leaves to visit him in Japan just as his mother arrives to visit, leaving her in the incapable hands of his live-in boyfriend, Benson. He and Mitsuko become unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that is at once moving and hilarious.”
“Bryan Washington is a writer from Houston. His fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, the BBC, Vulture and The Paris Review. He is also a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 winner, the recipient of an Ernest J. Gaines Award, a PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize finalist, a National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize finalist, the recipient of an O. Henry Award and the winner of the 2020 International Dylan Thomas Prize.
Bryan is joined in conversation by Paul McVeigh.”
‘A new vision for the 21st-century novel. It made me happy.’ Ocean Vuong
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.
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.”
‘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.’
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.”