Fuerteventura: The ocean has never been so blue
The glamorous blonde in the skinny jeans roared at us: "Come on my lovelies, smile you're on your hols," before ringing the bell, declaring the bar open and urging us all to partake of her...
The glamorous blonde in the skinny jeans roared at us: "Come on my lovelies, smile you're on your hols," before ringing the bell, declaring the bar open and urging us all to partake of her...
In the lovely Languedoc area of south-west France lies the University of Saint-Chinian, a young (mythical) college, where staff and students...
Madeleine Keane checks into Muckross Park Hotel for a relaxing trip to the Kingdom.
For me, long and listless January is always lifted by the huge postbag I receive in response to our annual Great Arts Quiz. And this year was no exception. What a cultivated group of readers...
The old bullring, packed with thousands of tense spectators held its breath as two small children scrambled to the top of the human tower, like a pair of little limpets. Filming it on my mobile, I captured the collective gasp that swept through the arena as the nine-storey steeple of people collapsed and my shock, dropping my phone, as they all came falling down on top of each other, a tangle of tumbling human dominoes.
Last Wednesday I gave Anthony Cronin a sudden deadline: today's poem was needed before the country closed down for Christmas. It was duly dispatched within 24 hours and while there is much sadness at his passing, it is magical that his words are on the page today.
In nearly 40 years of knowing her, I only ever met one person who didn't like Gillian Bowler.
'It's been a weird, weird week for all of us - and over the next four years we'll need you," Ryan Tubridy told his audience of writers, publishers, editors and booksellers as he presented the first gong of the night (his Listeners' Choice, which went to Liz Nugent's Lying in Wait) at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards last Wednesday.
They say time flies when you're having fun. So while it seems like only yesterday that this newspaper proudly put its name to the Newcomer of the Year award, in fact six years have passed since this important laurel was inaugurated into the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards.
Talk about pressure: I'm wearing a wetsuit, rash vest and helmet (never a particularly glamorous look) and about to take my turn surfing very powerful artificial waves in an indoor pool in front of a sizeable audience of French locals who are already laughing at our efforts. My two compadres, who gamely went first, have both been unceremoniously flung backwards down the pool within seconds of touching the water.
Ida Perkins is the eponymous heroine of Jonathan Galassi's debut novel. A poet of exceptional talent, Perkins has that rare ability to touch both the critics and the masses and her ouevre has turned her into an iconic American figure.
A quartet of siblings gather for a three-week summer holiday at their grandparents' rectory. There's the eldest, Harriet, a quiet revolutionary, and her sister, flighty former actress Alice, who is accompanied by her ex-boyfriend's moody son Kasim. The youngest is Fran, harassed mother...
Madeleine Keane of The Sunday Independent spends an unforgettable week in the Sunshine State.
Anyone with an interest in 1920s Europe and the creative geniuses who stalked its beaches and bars will fall for this. Liza Klaussmann, whose first novel Tigers in Red Weather demonstrated her talent for creating stifling, atmospheric stories has taken the riveting true tale of Gerald and Sara Murphy (several factual books have already been written about the couple) and fashioned it into a fascinating novel about love, lust and loss set against the sultry backdrop of the Cote D'Azur .
One definition of joy: discovering a new author. Early One Morning is Virginia Baily's (pictured) second novel but so captivated was I by it, that I've added Africa Junction (her first) to my list.
As the great Sinatra sang ‘if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere’. He was warbling about New York of course, that fabulous but notoriously difficult metropolis from where the happy news reaches us that an Irish woman is triumphing on Broadway.
Madeleine Keane hops on board a direct flight from Dublin to Cornwall.
Everything about 'the land of honey' glistens and glimmers, says an enchanted Madeleine Keane.
'Did that play of mine send out certain men the English shot?' asked Yeats in his poem The Man and The Echo. Writers certainly played a significant role in the revolution and in turn the Rising would have a profound influence on the literature which followed down the century. It's apt therefore amidst all the ceremonial celebrations and historical hubbub to highlight some of the many literary and cultural events happening countrywide.
As my darling granny used to tell me, the devil makes work for idle hands. Well here's a new way to keep those fingers free from Satan's grip. A new online publication, idler.ie, aims to direct great short-form creative writing directly to you via your smartphone or tablet.
She reminds me she’s an island girl as we bowl past the lakes of Virginia where we used as children visit our only brother in boarding school.
From handsome local guides to historic villages, Madeleine Keane is charmed by her trip to Burgundy.
'My mother always told me there was no career in being a tart. I'm delighted to prove her wrong," said Susan Jane White as she received the Avonmore Cookbook of the Year Award for The Virtuous Tart. Resplendent in red, the happy cookery writer whose healthy musings had their naissance in this newspaper, was among a chic gathering of book industry folk (or lots and lots of lovely talented people under one roof as my dashing dining companion put it) at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2015 last Wednesday evening.
He'd gone off for a long walk, he told us and while it was great craic, he was back now. And so he was, among his people. Ryan Tubridy, or the boy who eats books for breakfast, as I once dubbed him, joined a starry array at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre last Wednesday for the launch of this year's BGE Irish Book Awards shortlists. We're ten years old now, so spirits were high as Dave Kirwan, Bord Gais Energy's book-loving leader, and Keelin Shanley, who will be our host on the big night (November 25 at the DoubleTree by Hilton), along with Ryan, formally launched proceedings.
Listening to Edna O'Brien on Tuesday night, in town to talk about her latest novel, I was transported back to one of the most moving moments of my professional life in recent years. The occasion was the Irish Book Awards 2009 and Edna, accepting the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award, declared, "to have Seamus Heaney say what he said and to have it said in this room is something...
'When I was in my 20s, I was wracked by insecurities. I thought I was too thin, my face wasn't symmetrical, I never had the right clothes. I was always the loudest in the room but I never really said anything. I was always the one the boys wanted to hang out with, but never the one they wanted to get married to."
Amory Clay's start in life does not augur well. Her parents announce, via The Times of London, the birth of a son. And with this unforgettable opening are we introduced to the intriguing and infuriating Amory. Despite, or perhaps because of, a mother who "managed to conceal whatever affection she felt for her children with great success" and a father driven so insane by war that he requires a lobotomy, Amory survives and thrives; as do, somewhat improbably, her siblings, one becoming an internationally successful concert pianist, the other a poet of sensitivity and flair.
Louise O'Neill exploded onto the Irish book scene last year with her dazzling first novel Only Ever Yours. With its dark, dystopian exploration of female identity, it was shortlisted for several literary prizes and won this newspaper's Best Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards last November.
For his bounty/There was no winter in't. Niall MacMonagle uses a quote from his favourite writer to dedicate his latest anthology of poetry to one of Ireland's most loved poets. Reverently removing a typewritten letter from Windharp, he reads the missive containing Seamus Heaney's characteristically gracious message replying to Niall's request for a poem. Since that exchange the much loved bard has died but it is typical of Niall that he would dedicate this volume to him.
The tidal wave of Transatlantic praise which preceded this novel's European launch, followed by its appearance on the Man Booker longlist and the bookmakers' favourite seal of approval, perhaps explains the tepid appraisal it has received in these quarters. A Little Life is this Japanese-American's second novel. Her first, The People in the Trees, explored the gruelling subject of child abuse, from the perpetrator's point of view. In A Little Life, she flips the concept and we are instead shown the devastating legacy and inescapable shadow engendered by the sexual exploitation of innocence.
Many summers have passed since I first declared to my daughters that I was instituting 'Reading Hour.'
Madeline Keane and her sister take a Holland America cruise in the Med, and find an easy and enchanting way to travel.
Christmas came early to Books last week with hundreds of cards fluttering into the office. We were really delighted with the fantastic response to the competition we ran on these pages a couple of weeks ago. To celebrate the Books are My Bag Popular Fiction Award, we were offering five sets of the six shortlisted titles.
Paul Durcan received The Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards last Thursday night. In an amusing and moving short address the poet was in characteristically subversive and playful form.
By the end of the evening the Reverend Mother was pregnant, but that's writers for you. Receiving the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award, Paul Durcan was in characteristically subversive, playful form and his poem, dedicated to his greatest support, his late mother, in the form of a letter home from the convent, had his glamorous audience convulsed.
"Ballynahinch feels like slipping into a beloved old cashmere cardigan," writes Madeleine Keane of a short break in one of Connacht's finest castles.
Madeline Keane takes her kids to West Mayo for a self-catering holiday that's poetic in more ways than one...
Newsflash just in, the Ireland Literature Exchange, along with the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing, is coordinating a new pan-European flash fiction competition, Flash Europa 28.
I was sulking. On an industrial scale. Plans for a long-awaited idyll in Ibiza with childhood friends had been de-railed. A considerate colleague, keen probably to vaporise the nuclear rays of discontent emanating from across the desk, arranged a replacement break for me.
I hope you all picked up and enjoyed the first book of our four-part collection of Summer Reads last week. Today the second in the series is available. The Adoption is Anne Berry's moving novel about motherhood, family and identity.
You can't say we don't spoil you here at Books. Not only have we sorted your summer reading, we've even organised a holiday on which to read them!
If everything goes according to plan, I'm currently lying on a Spanish beach, reading and swimming, having just organised your holiday reading. I'm delighted to announce the imminent launch of our four-part 'Beach Reads' collection with Dunnes Stores.
Great news for lovers of Shakespeare's greatest oeuvre - a stunning "Hamlet" is slated for the autumn. To mark the 450th anniversary of the Bard of Avon's birth, this year's Dublin Theatre Festival will present his most famous play in a spectacular production from one of the world's great theatre houses, Berlin's Schaubühne. Directed by Thomas Ostermeier, whose last festival production of Hedda Gabler in 2006 was a sell-out hit, this remarkable show will transform the stage of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to resemble a huge graveyard, covered in earth, blood and water. Since its 2008 première this Hamlet has toured worldwide to enormous critical and audience acclaim, to cities including Buenos Aires, Taipei, Sydney, Seoul, Athens and London. Now it makes its Irish première, officially opening the next Dublin Theatre...
Having just drawn breath after the excitement of hanging out with Salman Rushdie, Amos Oz et alia last weekend, we're bracing ourselves for yet another onslaught of international literary heavyweights in a few days. Louis de Bernieres, Jung Chang and Jeremy Paxman are just some among a constellation of distinguished names descending on the town of Kells from Wednesday next when the Hay Festival - offspring of the famous Welsh festival at Hay-on-Wye - kicks off.
To begin at the beginning: it is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent . . . . and all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.’
Last spring, I fulfilled a long held dream of doing part of the world-famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela and, along with one of my daughters, completed 115 exhausting but exhilarating kilometres along the popular French route, ending up in Santiago.
THE programme for Listowel Writers' Week was launched in typically ebullient fashion.
WATERFORD. A county I've been drawn back to time and time again. When I was about 10, my mother sprang me from school one Friday afternoon and piled me along with my siblings into the back of a station wagon with her best friend, an elegant redhead called Tonia, and her two children.
Designed to look like the famous prow, Titanic Belfast is captivating and moving.
I'm packing my bags prior to the fourth Waterford Writers Weekend Programme. Taking place from March 20-23, this year's Writers Weekend celebrates writing in all its forms.
"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills." Karen Blixen's wistful refrain had echoed in my head since I watched Out of Africa a couple of days before setting off on my adventure there in October with my teenage daughter Julia. So it was with delight that I discovered that the second leg of our trip started in a place called Karen (apparently named after the great Dane), a district of Nairobi, and home to Giraffe Manor, a quirky cross between a Scottish baronial home and a sanctuary for these long-legged beauties.
The end of the frenzy of the last few weeks is in sight and in a few days' time the turkey will be a carcass, the carpet a curtain of pine needles and the head-zinging stress of it all a distant memory. So time to relax and enjoy the Great Arts Quiz, now such a firm family tradition that I recognise the handwriting on a lot of the entries that flood into Talbot Street year after year. As ever I'm indebted to my erudite quiz-setter, Alison Walsh, who has trawled the artistic year with characteristic élan. There's also the usual glittering prize for the hard work. I hope art lovers and artists everywhere...
'He's just bliss," enthused a radiant Sinead Cusack, "I am a fan forever." The actress, still translucently beautiful in her sixties, was rhapsodising about one of our finest novelists, John Banville, to whom she presented the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.
On the list of surreal moments in my life, this one is right up there. It's a Saturday evening in late October and I'm up on a plateau, leaning on a jeep, watching the sun sink over nearby Mount Kenya. Surrounded by a herd of white rhino, I drink Gordon's gin and tonic while I discuss the fate of a recent poacher with Ole, my charismatic Masai warrior guide. "They shot him dead," he tells me coolly.
WHEN a gorgeous Italian man collects me from Pisa's Gallileo airport all murderous thoughts towards Michael O'Leary quickly dissipate. The combination of returning to lovely Tuscany and Paolo's charm as he speeds towards Florence eradicates any lingering effects of surly service.
My Gatsby mom-ent this summer happened on a sultry Sunday morning. We raced across Nantucket Bay in a small cruiser, weather-beaten Cap'n Joe, dazzling in his nautical whites, at the wheel. Approaching the wooden jetty, we saw a tall dark handsome man, who greeted us warmly and led us past a terrace, immaculately laid out for Sunday lunch, into his oak-panelled bar where he cracked open a bottle of pink champagne while we watched the thrilling last set of Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph before taking a picnic to a nearly deserted beach and frolicking in the Atlantic surf for the afternoon.
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The middle-aged Irish woman looks into my eyes, congratulates me as she rolls up my certificate of achievement and asks: "How did you do it?" I meet her gaze and reply: "I just kept on keeping on." It's an epiphanic moment.
For all the pomp and pageantry, there was pathos and poignancy in some of the images emanating from the coverage of the Queen's Speech. Diamonds glittered, politicians appeared to share jokes and Black Rod did his thing, which raised the annual ghost of a grim grin from Her Majesty. But,oh for a psychoanalyst – and a Freudian one at that – to deconstruct the photograph which appeared of QE2, the Duke of Edinburgh and their first born and his second wife.
I adore the occasional road trips with my girlfriends. The setting can be anywhere from Brittany to Bellinter and the focus is always fun. My travelling companion is usually one or other of my two closest friends – G and T (I kid you not.) This time it was the turn of Dee, a clever, capable working mother whom I've known all my adult life. So on a recent Saturday morning, this stylish blonde pulled up in a navy Merc and off the pair of us set in rare sunshine, chattering 19 to the dozen.
'P'oetry is more than words on a page. Which is why it's so valuable. If it's doing what it should be doing, you will have a visceral response to it."
To celebrate my elder sister's significant birthday, only a castle would do. Jane is a year older than me and today hits her half-century. So earlier this month -- and with my younger sister's birthday also falling round this time -- the three sisters set out (on our late mother's birthday -- with the exception of dad, we're all Virgoans and Librans in our family) on one of our road trips.
Are a middle-class, middle-aged mother and her teenage daughter in truth an effective cover for a pair of international terrorists?
He was no relation, but I loved him. John B Keane, whom I met intermittently down the years was a wonderful man -- warm, funny, engaging, intelligent. And it is testament to his vivid spirit that his home town is still a magnet for outstanding writers.
'O tell her, brief is life but love is long.'
The hug of warmth and delight between a pair of poets captured the magical essence of a very special evening for book lovers last Thursday night.
OH Jackie! She still has the power to fascinate even though nearly half a century has passed since the shattering event that made her the world's most famous widow. Her famously breathy voice hasn't been heard for many years -- she died in 1994 -- but cue headlines and rolling news: Jackie Speaks!
Plenty of poetry popped up in the competition we announced a couple of weeks ago. To celebrate the naissance of the first poetry pop-up shop in the world, we launched a search for "Hope in Verse".
A moribund blonde sits in her pale blue frock, head listing to one side, a stiff, painted mannequin. Then the music of Leo Delibes and the machinations of Doctor Coppelius ignite life in this beautiful doll and so the magic that is the ballet of Coppelia begins.
MANY years ago Elizabeth Taylor was asked about her favourite poem. No contest; she instantly quoted from Gerard Manley Hopkins' The Leaden Echo and The Golden Echo, an elegiac lament for beauty and its transience.
There was some good news last year. Dublin was finally and deservedly granted UNESCO City of Literature status -- a permanent designation which honours the city and its writers.
When you're invited to a beautiful European capital for a spot of soft lobbying, you can hardly say no. And so I rose at 4am one wet, dark dawn earlier this month. The vast empty spaces of Terminal 2 made up for the unspeakably early start; it helped greatly, too, that I was among my people. Book people that is.
SEMINAL moments come and go, but this was a very special one. My first-born had achieved a law degree, so, with my younger child happily ensconced in Spiddal doing a three-week stint learning Gaeilge, I felt both mother and elder daughter had earned a week of sun and relaxation.
LAST summer, the word "staycation" started to feature in my conversation. "Why?" cried my children in consternation. Well, Mummy has always liked to stay in touch with the zeitgeist, and it was time to get loyal to the Irish economy (to make up for the guilt at doing the Christmas shop in Lisburn) and she was sick to the back teeth of airports and it was going to be a fabulous summer according to everyone. Also we had a new addition to our household. I don't have the spine of steel that would have let me put her in kennels -- not for her first summer, anyway -- and it would prove an interesting experience to book a holiday with a pet in Ireland.
It was an emotionally charged evening -- kickstarted by the charming bluntness of a rugby hero, writes Madeleine Keane
An eclectic group of writers drank coffee and exchanged literary gossip in the sunshine on Tuesday as the shortlists for the Irish Book Awards 2009 were rolled out. Sebastian Barry, Professor Ivor Browne, Cecelia Ahern, Paul Howard (Ross O'Carroll- Kelly) and Hugo Hamilton among others joined publishers, agents and editors for the launch of the fourth year of The Irish Book Awards, which honour Irish writers across the publishing spectrum.
Madeleine Keane recalls a last holiday with her mother, in Catalonia.
I EMERGE from the Metro Luxembourg, and there, out of the crisp Paris evening, she materialises. My baby, not only all grown up, but a Parisienne to boot in her ballet pumps, a crimson beret perched on her head.
Let's face it, there's hardly going to be a lemming-like rush to join the Sympathisers for Prince Charles club. He's a spoilt 60-year-old who's had his every whim indulged since he was born with a canteen of silver cutlery in his mouth.
WE know the world's gone all radical and trendy about putting controversial, charismatic guys in top jobs, but we at the PAT department dropped our celebratory glass of champagne and stopped singing Hail to the Chief when we heard the latest rumours about the new head of the Arts Council. The chat going round the artistic world is that Bill Cullen is being tipped to replace Olive Braiden as honcho-in-chief at Merrion Square.
You'd almost feel sorry for Sarah Palin. Almost. The ire she has attracted -- especially from other high profile women -- has shown there's more than one pitbull-wearing lipstick out there.
SHE hasn't gone away, you know. You can still depend on Cherie Blair to bring some gaiety to our lives. Forget the fact that the world is in financial meltdown and that politicians everywhere are scrabbling to stop the global economy from imploding. Cherie takes this moment of crisis to liken her husband, Britain's former prime minister to another English premier.
Say what you like about Heather Mills -- and believe me, people do -- you have to admire her indomitability. It took one squeak out of her ex-husband to unleash a torrent. Sir Paul McCartney attending a charity event with his new amour, US heiress Nancy Shevell, took the ungallant step of announcing to the world: "We are so happy." Ungallant if only because the ink is hardly dry on his fiercely fought decree nisi.
MY mother was the age I am now -- 44 -- when she took me to London on one of our jaunts. I was 20, reading English and French at UCD. We two were taking time out together to visit the city she grew up in for a long, lovely weekend of friends, theatre, shopping, art galleries. A perfectly pleasant, typical mother/daughter mini-break. (In fact we had a similar London break with my two sisters five weeks before Terry's untimely death suddenly this summer.) But with mum, the journey always had an extra, dazzling dimension.
Is there any end to our exciting adventures here on the books page? In our never-ending quest to enchant our readers, we're delighted to launch our very own Sunday Independent Books Festival.
A geek's paradise is how Ryan Tubridy described Thursday night's brilliant party in the Mansion House to celebrate the Irish Book Awards. And indeed for anyone who loved writers, it was heaven. The roll call of literary luminaries was stellar -- William Trevor, Joseph O'Connor, Anne Enright, John Banville, Roddy Doyle, Marian Keyes -- all gathered with publishers, agents and retailers under a canopy of stars in the Round Room for a gala black tie dinner. Indeed, the shortlists contained no fewer than three Booker Prize winners and a Pulitzer award winner.
SO THAT duplicitous, unctuous, oleaginous opportunist finally got his comeuppance, and at the hands of a law lord. And Mohamed al Fayed was censured too. What bliss it was to see the unspeakable Paul Burrell roughed up by the elegant Lord Justice Scott Baker as he attempted to wind up the Diana inquest in London last week. Bertie probably wouldn't agree, but a distinguished lawyer in full eloquent flow can be a joyous sight to behold. Lord Justice Scott Baker in directing the jury who, six months and 250 witnesses later, retired (a trifle tired no doubt) to consider the verdict, told them precisely what he thought of what the butler thought he saw. Or lied about what he saw.
LOVE secrets: infidelity, cheating, deceiving, betraying; precious childhood secrets, harmful family secrets, gossips and hearsay; state secrets and secret societies. Secrets are a part of our everyday lives and imaginations and yet can only work if they remain a secret. They are therefore, the perfect stuff of literature. And so where better to debate the world of secrets than a literary festival?
IN WELCOMING President and Madame Sarkozy to England on Thursday, Gordon Brown said he wanted an "Entente Formidable". He need have looked no further than this son of an Hungarian immigrant and his singer spouse, who last week showed they have guts and glamour to burn.
JUST as one high-profile, vicious, rock 'n' roll divorce hoves out of view, is another one on the horizon? As the ink barely dried on the nasty McCartney/Mills decree nisi, rumours did the rounds that Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie are on the point of breaking up.
Take a Look at Me Now (Bantam Press). Most of us can remember a defining moment in our lives when time stood still and our lives changed forever. For Lily Ormond, that moment came late one night when she answered a knock on the door and discovered her sister Alison had drowned.
This Champagne Mojito is the Last Thing I Own (Penguin Ireland). Ross O'Carroll-Kelly thought he had it all: nice gaff, cool car, plenty of dosh, a stake in Dublin's trendiest nightclub and a face that made boyfriends jealous -- and a beautiful wife and kids... All that remained was for him to totally mess it up.
Visit mosts book shops and the odds are the shelves will be dominated by pale pink covers with their skittish matchstick figures clutching bunches of flowers and/or bottles of bubbly. Chick-lit, girlie books, sex 'n' shopping tomes, bonkbusters -- call them what you will, popular fiction is here to stay. Often dismissed by the cultural elite, this genre of storytelling has its authors laughing all the way to the bank as women in their droves devour these books.
Ship of Dreams (Poolbeg) evokes the physical devastation which the sinking of the lavish Titanic caused and the long-reaching human consequences for generations to come. The eventful year for the survivors that follows in New York includes the story of Devlin's great-great uncle, Tom O'Brien from Limerick.
The Last to Know (Poolbeg). A story within a story. Eve knows exactly what she wants. After nine good years and two lovely kids together, it's about time Liam made an honest woman of her. Meanwhile, Brooke works in a publishing company and comes across a manuscript about three Irish women but doesn't know who the author is.
Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife (Penguin Ireland) catalogues the highs and lows of life as a young mum. Imagine Bridget Jones with two untameable tots, throw in some extra laughs, and you have the ultimate demented housewife! Susie's journal chronicles a hectic year in the life of a stay-at-home mother, whose one ambition is to possess an outfit that is free of snot stains.
Who says writers are a wild and Rabelasian lot? Coffee, iced water and Danish pastries were the order of the day when authors, agents and publishers gathered on Wednesday for the launch of the Irish Book Awards. The venue was Fire at the Mansion House, where we'll all regroup on April 24 to hand out the glittering prizes. The is the second year of the awards, which grew out of the small but perfectly formed acorn that was the Sunday Independent Hughes and Hughes Irish Novel of the Year.
WHAT a difference a prize makes. Anne Enright's dark tale of child abuse, suicide and alcoholism was quietly minding its own business when along came a Man called Booker and sent its sales soaring. By year's end The Gathering had notched up over 34,000 copies.
FOR AN industry supposedly overrun with clever liberals the "war on terror" has not, so far, been met with a very entertaining response from Hollywood. The films dealing with it have been overly worthy and overly wordy. The latest is Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs, which takes its name from a comment made by a German officer during World War I, comparing British soldiers' bravery with the calculated criminality of their commanders. Redford makes it clear that this is how he sees the current dynamic between the Bush administration and the American troops in the Middle East.
EVEN if it means international public opprobrium and a fortnight in the Priory, I must put it on public record that I'm sick to the back teeth of Shilpa Shetty. I abhor the way she was treated in the Big Brother house - though I think jealousy, not racism, motivated the chavs to treat her with such contempt. After all, she's pretty, charming, wealthy etc.
IT'S all happening west of the Shannon these days. There's the war of the water. If you complain about the fact that in glamorous Galway in 2007 you've to buy Evian to achieve the simple task of brushing your teeth, you're accused of political opportunism. Give out about septic tanks seeping into reservoirs of HO which will ultimately be used to bathe newborn babes and you're
FOR A breathtaking combination of glamour and gravitas, it would be hard to beat Trinity College Dublin. As the location for the inaugural Irish Book Awards, the august dining hall of the old college was just perfect. Flutes of champagne and a string quartet greeted the guests last Thursday night as Ireland's literary set descended on the fabled cobbles to celebrate one of the
THREE eye-wateringly wealthy couples had their various days in court last week, and in their own ways lived out F Scott Fitzgerald's famous dictum that the rich are different.
ABRACE of brittle blondes dominated last week's headlines. The lucky one was Britney Spears, though she still cut a deeply troubled figure, in and out of rehab, shaving off all her hair. At least she has the choice. Not so Anna Nicole Smith.
ONE would have thought that Ralph Fiennes was a long-term fully paid up member of the Mile High Club. A good-looking guy who has to take numerous flights in pursuit of his work it seemed more than likely that the actor was used to congress at high altitude. But no, it emerged that the handsome 'English Patient' followed meekly when an Australian air stewardess invited him into
THERE is, it has to be said, a touch of the schizophrenic about Sarah Ferguson. One moment she's a maternal icon, the next a vamp looking for love. Recently she was voted the American Cancer Society's Mother of the Year. "I can safely say one of the best things I've done is be a good mother," she said accepting the award with her customary humility.
TWO 'boys' dominated the launch of the Irish Book Awards 2007 and the announcement of the shortlists. One was a victim of the 20th-Century's most heinous event, the Holocaust. John Boyne's extraordinarily powerful novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was prominent on the shortlists: it was nominated for the Hughes and Hughes Irish Novel of the Year, the Dublin Airport Authorit
POOR Madonna! The slings and arrows are coming in every direction. If you thought the controversy surrounding the adoption of her Malawian baby boy had gone away, you'd be very wrong. In fact, the star is reportedly so depressed about the whole business that she's thinking of moving back to New York.
YOU try your best. By commuting via Dart you don't clog up the already jammed arteries of our town, you reduce your carbon footprint and save your own sanity.