Two new Irish novels that both deal with the same subject have been published recently. Words to Shape My Name by Laura McKenna and The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small by Neil Jordan deal with the former slave Tony Small, servant of United Irishman Lord Edward Fitzgerald. Though both novels tell the same […]Read more "No Small Feat"
I’ve written about Irish novelist John Banville several times. I regard him as one of the finest contemporary prose stylists working in English. He is not everyone’s cup of tea. For every person who is a fan, you’ll find a detractor. His characters are ghastly, they say (well, this is true, but then again, great […]Read more "The Book of Evidence"
He tries desperately to appear wise and clever to people, taking to wearing all black, sunglasses indoors, holding impressive works of literature in the hope that passers-by will be interested, telling the manager of Shakespeare & Co. in Paris that their essay section is disappointing (despite not having any suggestions on how to improve it).
If this sounds insufferable to you, then perhaps Tunnel Vision isn’t for you.Read more "Tunnel Vision"
From month to month, their routine barely deviates, yet a lot has changed … ageing has something to do with it … they have evolved to where they are now and to who they are, each massively influencing the other’s growth … people in love or in what they might in their own delusional state […]Read more "My Coney Island Baby"
It’s Day One of Reading Ireland MonthRead more "Begob! Begorrah!Bejoker?"
Reading Ireland Month starts this week!Read more "The Begorrathon 2019"
There’s always a good reason to listen to decent music, so here’s another chance to look at my list of FIFTY GREAT IRISH SONGS (none by U2). Apologies if some of the You Tube links no longer work.Read more "50 Great Irish Songs"
“I am entering the frozen land, although to which country it belongs I cannot say.” David Park’s novel Travelling in a Strange Land is a brief story about fathers and sons, memory and regret, told from the point of view of a middle-aged man, Tom, travelling from Belfast to Sunderland to collect his son […]Read more "Travelling in a Strange Land"
The Hennessy Literary Awards shortlist for 2018 has been announced. I’m humbled and grateful to be included in the list. I have been shortlisted for my short story, “The Light on the Water”, published last summer in the Irish Times.Read more "Hennessy Literary Awards Shortlist"
The true border ran between the two forces of law and order, the Garda Siochana and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the two police forces sliding darkly past each other like blips on a radar, separated by the whim of politicians, detectives passing each other in the night, their murmurs breaking the static on […]Read more "Undertow"