| 14°C Dublin

A new chapter for Irish Book Awards


Keelin Shanley. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography

Keelin Shanley. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography

Keelin Shanley. Photo: Patrick Bolger Photography

With so much gloom about, it's heartening to see our indomitable arts industry responding with resilience and imagination. I'm very happy to report that the An Post Irish Book Awards (IBAs) will still proceed, albeit in a digital manner. Dates for your diary include the announcement of the shortlist (October 20), the award ceremony (November 25) and RTÉ's awards show (December 10), which will have a brand new look and host, and will focus on the An Post Book of the Year.

The much-missed Keelin Shanley was a consummate host of the IBAs for several years; I was deeply moved by her courageous, candid memoir A Light That Never Goes Out, posthumously published by Gill Books last weekend.

In February, we also lost the hugely talented theatre designer Monica Frawley. She was working on a book right up to her death, and the publication was completed by her niece Katy West and her husband Vincent Woods. Costume features many character drawings for iconic Irish theatre and opera productions, splendid photographs, insightful texts by Monica and her thespian colleagues, an introduction by Marina Carr and a comprehensive list of Monica's design work from 1978 to 2019 (for copies, visit www.monicafrawleycostume.ie).

Traditionally, this weekend, ECHOES would be taking place. Held annually, the Dalkey festival celebrates its favourite literary denizen, the late Maeve Binchy. This year, her husband Gordon Snell has recorded a reflection on home and what it meant to Maeve.

The organisers are giving away gift packages to five readers; each contains two books, one by Binchy and one by another Irish author - Andrea Carter, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Henrietta McKervey, Sheila O'Flanagan and Jo Spain. Entry details on www.echoes.ie and @echoesdalkey.

Staying on the festival beat, this year's ISLA - the Irish/Spanish/Latin American Festival - will take place on YouTube from October 15-17.

Run by the Instituto Cervantes, the cultural wing of the Spanish Embassy, it will feature contributions from our own John Connolly and Jan Carson, Chilean writer Matías Celedón and Spanish cellist Iris Azquinezer.

I adored the previous summer's Shaking Bog Festival and as we turn towards autumn, director Catherine Nunes treats us to a podcast with poet Seán Hewitt and memoirist Selina Guinness, among others celebrating our connection to the natural world. In partnership with Coillte Nature & Mermaid Arts Centre.

Visit www.shakingbog.ie/podcast

Video of the Day

Most Watched