Exciting News for Irish Writers

In case you missed it, here’s a great 20 minute film featuring highlights of the 2014 Listowel Writers’ Week by Steven Byrne of Digivue Productions.

Exciting News for Irish Writers

The literary world is buzzing with exciting news for Irish writers at the moment. Mind you, Irish writers are always in the news for the right reasons!

Dubliner Rob Doyle’s debut novel, Here Are The Young Men, and published by The Lilliput Press, has been snapped up by Bloomsbury and it looks like it will also be adapted into a major film. Incidentally, it was The Lilliput Press who also released debut novelist Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart and Elske Rahill’s Between Dog and Wolf.

Set against a backdrop of Celtic-Tiger Ireland, Here Are The Young Men features teenagers Matthew, Rez, Cocker and Kearny, who spend their first summer of post-school freedom roaming the streets of Dublin, fuelled by drugs and dark fantasies. Speaking in yesterday’s Irish Independent Rob Doyle said, “It all came about so rapidly. There were rave reviews and suddenly there was a buzz about it.”

Rob Doyle
Rob Doyle

Like many other aspiring authors, he was “punch drunk” with rejections from publishers in London and America. “It was a difficult time. There’s a happy ending in my mind. It’s a dream come true, but it was really tough. However, I would tell any aspiring writer to persevere.”

Rob Doyle was one of the featured writers at our inaugural New Writers’ Salon in 2013, as well being awarded a Listowel Writers’ Week Spring Residency at Cill Rialaig Artists’ Retreat in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry in 2014. We’re delighted at his news and wish him continuing success.

Swansea University’s Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Announced

Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2014 winner, Eimear McBride, has been longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Award for her novel, A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing. The winner, who will be announced in November, will receive £30,000.

Eimear McBride at Listowel Writers' Week 2014
Eimear McBride at Listowel Writers’ Week 2014

The Award, which features international works across all genres – prose, poetry and drama – is now in its seventh year and is open to authors under 40. 2014 year is also the centenary year of Dylan Thomas’s birth.

The longlisted books are as follows:

Daniel Alarcón, At Night We Walk in Circles

Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries

John Donnelly, The Pass

Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Emma Healey, Elizabeth is Missing

Meena Kandasamy, The Gypsy Goddess

Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May

Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion

Nadifa Mohamed, The Orchard of Lost Souls

Owen Sheers, Mametz

Tom Rob Smith, The Farm

Rufi Thorpe, The Girls from Corona del Mar

Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway

Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees


Two Irish Authors In The Running For This Year’s Man Booker Prize

The other exciting news for Irish writing is that Irish authors Joseph O’Neill and Niall have been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize.

The Award, worth £50,000, was opened up last year to authors of any nationality writing in English. Previously, the 46-year-old prize had only been open to authors from the Commonwealth and the Republic of Ireland. The decision to drop its geographical borders came in the wake of the launch of the inaugural Folio Prize, (seen by many as a rival) and which was won by American writer, George Saunders, for his short story collection, Tenth of December.

Joseph O'Neill at Listowel Writers' Week 2009
Joseph O’Neill at Listowel Writers’ Week 2009

A native of Cork, but now living in the US, Joseph O’Neill has been nominated for his novel The Dog, described the publisher as “a tale of alienation and heartbreak in Dubai.” His 2008 novel Netherland previously made the Booker longlist and won The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2009.

Also nominated is Clare based writer, Niall Williams, for his eighth novel History of the Rain, which is a family saga. Niall has directed a number of Literary Workshops at Listowel Writers’ Week over the years.

David Mitchell, English author of Cloud Atlas is also in the running. David is currently writing a 6,000 word short story on Twitter in 140 character instalments. Every sentence ends in a hook and each new instalment builds the suspense. Here’s his ‘bite-sized chunk’  from 14th July: “The pill’s just kicking in now. Valium breaks down the world into bite-sized sentences. Like this one. All lined up. Munch-munch.”

The shortlist of six will be announced on Tuesday 9 September and the prize will be awarded at London’s Guildhall the following month.

The longlisted books are as follows:

Joshua Ferris (US) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Richard Flanagan (Australia) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Karen Joy Fowler (US) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Howard Jacobson (Britain) – J

Paul Kingsnorth (Britain) – The Wake

David Mitchell (Britain) – The Bone Clocks

Neel Mukherjee (Britain) – The Lives of Others

David Nicholls (Britain) – Us

Joseph O’Neill (Ireland) – The Dog

Richard Powers (US) – Orfeo

Ali Smith (Britain) – How to Be Both

Niall Williams (Ireland) – History of the Rain

The shortlist of six will be announced on Tuesday 9 September and the prize will be awarded at London’s Guildhall the following month.

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