My cultural life: Conor Bowman, author
Conor Bowman began writing awful poetry at the age of about 11. He has now published four novels and two collections of short stories. In addition he also writes songs. Originally from Galway, he has lived for many years in County Meath where, apart from a shortage of great places to eat and an oversupply of railway stations, life is pretty good. His favourite pub is Fagan's in Moynalvey. His most recent novel Horace Winter Says Goodbye, published by Hachette Ireland, is out now in paperback.
Film: Paddington 2
The only thing I've really watched on TV recently is a six-part drama called Next of Kin shown on Monday nights on TV3. It is the story of a family in London which is drawn into a maelstrom of terrorism and intrigue when one of its members is murdered while working in Pakistan on a medical mission. It's fast paced and very well-written. As for films, Paddington 2 (above) is absolutely fantastic and is probably better than the original. It stars Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins (and, of course, the little bear himself). Take an afternoon off and be amazed and entertained and converted to marmalade!
Playwright: Tom (Kilroy and Murphy)
For me these playwrights are the most important reference points in Irish theatre. I was lucky enough to be taught by one of them while in college and given a lift by the other when I was broke and lost. I think that Christ Deliver Us! and Conversations on a Homecoming are wonderful encapsulations of the human condition. Raw emotion, cutting humour and sheer humanity seep out of both plays and make them essential reference points in the quest to understand who we are as a people.
Music: Elvis Presley
I listen to music mainly in the car on my way to and from work. I have always loved Elvis Presley's (above) music and I think I'd be devastated if he ever died! My favourite albums of his are the gospel record His Hand in Mine and From Elvis in Memphis. The latter was recorded in January/February 1969 in the American Sound Studio in Memphis under the watchful ears of producer Chips Moman. It contains, among others, the songs; In The Ghetto, Long Black Limousine and True Love Travels on a Gravel Road.
Artist: Brian Maguire
Brian Maguire has an exhibition running in IMMA based on his experiences in visiting Aleppo last year. Maguire is a right-handed but left-wing painter; he deals almost exclusively in providing a voice for the voiceless, a helping hand for those who cannot help themselves. His previous work in Juarez, Mexico (portraits of the murdered young women of that city) and his long history of teaching art in prisons, are testament to a man who wears his heart on his easel.
Author: Mia Gallagher
Mia Gallagher's (above) second novel, Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland, is a sprawling, epic, untidy, heartbreaking masterpiece. It is a study of identity, gender, history and much more besides. Mia Gallagher is not afraid to be different and neither is her novel.