Tuesday 24 April 2018

Literary season in full swing

Award-winning author: Colum McCann takes part in an event in Limerick City and County Council offices tonight.
Award-winning author: Colum McCann takes part in an event in Limerick City and County Council offices tonight.

Edel Coffey

As the days lengthen and the weather improves, the literary festivals dust themselves down and it feels like the literary season has begun again. In Limerick, the final day of the Éigse literary festival takes place today, with an event featuring the multi-award winning author Colum McCann. McCann will be joined by another talented Colm, Colm Mac Con Iomaire. The event takes place in the Limerick City and County Council Offices at 8pm and tickets are €15.

If you're in Dublin today, literary magazine The Stinging Fly is hosting a day-long event in the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar.

The evening event is called 'Making It Up' and features writers reading from works in progress and as-yet-unpublished novels and poems, which is always fascinating, almost like seeing an artist's sketchbooks for a masterpiece.

Martina Evans, Niall Griffiths, Lisa McInerney and Jon McGregor will read from their works in progress. McGregor is author of Even the Dogs and the prizewinning This Isn't the Sort of Thing that Happens to Someone Like You and his writing is amongst the best in contemporary fiction. His first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, was longlisted for the Booker prize and he won the IMPAC International Dublin Literary award in 2012 for Even the Dogs. He will be reading from Reservoir 13, which will be published in April 2017.

Lisa McInerney's debut novel The Glorious Heresies saw the young Galway writer praised for her vibrant writing and it has just been shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize. She will read from her yet-to-be-published second novel. The poet and writer Martina Evans has run workshops all over the world and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University, so she knows a thing or two about the creative process. It will be interesting to hear her thoughts at the event.

The Stinging Fly's last issue, 'In The Wake Of The Rising', addressed the commemoration of the Easter Rising and was reviewed in these pages a few weeks ago. It has inspired the afternoon sessions of discussion and debate at this event. The first will start at 2pm and features guest editor Sean O'Reilly in conversation with the aforementioned Martina Evans, novelist Evelyn Conlon and the writer and actor Donal O'Kelly, who will discuss George Orwell's assertion that "The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude."

The second afternoon session takes place from 4pm and looks at the under-representation of working-class life in contemporary writing in Ireland and Britain. O'Reilly will this time be in conversation with English author Niall Griffiths, the aforementioned McGregor and McInerney and poet and novelist Nuala Ní Chonchúir

The writers will discuss the challenges they faced on their own paths to becoming authors, as well as the difficulties they faced in writing about working-class people in a literary culture that is predominantly middle-class. They will examine the question of whether there are in-built prejudices within publishing houses against writing about that covers working-class experiences, as well as exploring if there is an assumption that there is no readership for working-class characters and the problems faced by writers from working-class backgrounds and whether they inherit a belief that they don't have permission to become writers. Tickets for the afternoon and evening events are priced at €10/€8.

Go to www.projectartscentre.ie and www.eigsemichaelhartnett.ie for more information

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