Wednesday 24 January 2018

A brace of writers and a Cross competition

Madeleine Keane

Madeleine Keane

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.

Now Quercus have published her second novel, Asking For It, a searing story which takes sexual consent, betrayal and truth in the age of social media, as its central theme.

On Wednesday week, Louise will be in conversation with Petra Hulova, widely regarded as one of the most fascinating young novelists working in Europe today.

Hulova became an overnight sensation in 2002 with the publication of her debut All This Belongs to Me - one of the most widely read Czech books of the decade. She has since published six bestselling books.

To celebrate Prague's recent awarding of UNESCO City of Literature, these exciting young writers will discuss their work in the Oak Room on the Mansion House on Wednesday September 23, at 7pm. Admission is free but booking essential - for more information visit

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Lunch with a leading literary agent and a publishing scout and a classy, expensive pen - of such stuff are writer's dreams made. Here's your chance. Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin of the brilliant writing resources website has just launched a short story competition in association with Cross Pens for aspiring writers.

Submit 1000 words of fiction before the closing date (Oct 1) and you could be in with a chance to win this opportunity of a lifetime. A crack team of internationally bestselling writers - John Boyne, Sinead Moriarty and Alex Barclay - has been assembled and they, along with Vanessa, will judge the entries.

The lucky winner can chose a pen from the stunning Cross collection (to the value of €250) and also enjoy lunch on October 17, with Vanessa and one of the UK's top literary agents, Simon Trewin of WME, which is widely considered one of the world's leading creative agencies. So get to it budding scribes! For full terms and conditions of the Cross Pens short story competition go to

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