Booker Prize shortlist, Bob Johnston bids farewell to The Gutter Bookshop, Culture Night, Novel Fair and more—Books Ireland Industry News
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Paul Lynch and Paul Murray shortlisted for the Booker Prize
Last night the six authors shortlisted for the Booker Prize were announced, and the Irish literary world was alive with congratulations to Paul Murray and Paul Lynch who made it through to the final of the world’s most renowned book prize, while commiserations were with Elaine Feeney and Sebastian Barry who were one of the four Irish writers to make the longlist, the Booker’s dozen.
The Bee Sting by Paul Murray was hailed as “at once hilarious and heartbreaking, personal and epic,” while Prophet Song by Paul Lynch was received as timely and unforgettable. Both authors have commented that their novels were influenced by the volatile times we are living through.
Of the six-strong shortlist the judges said that “together these works showcase the breadth of what world literature can do, while gesturing at the unease of our moment.”
Paul Lynch said that it was a wondrous moment for him and he was so pleased to be sharing it with these superb writers including his friend Paul Murray. “Seamus Heaney wrote in North: ‘Expect aurora borealis in the long foray…’ Last night, there was light in the sky.”
The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.
The 2023 winner will be announced on Sunday November 26 at an award ceremony with the winner receiving £50,000 and a trophy designed by the late Jan Pieńkowski.
Find out all you need to know about this year’s prize here.
Tonight, Friday 22 September, is Culture Night—and what a day to be talking about it said Director of the Arts Council, Maureen Kennelly on today’s RTE’s Morning Ireland saying that the Booker Prize shortlists are just one of the fruits borne from living in a golden age of Irish literature and arts—not least because of government support and funding.
What began as an acorn of idea, an event taking place in Temple Bar 18 years ago, has grown into a kaleidoscope of arts events taking place all over the country, some carrying on late into the night, featuring everything from dance to spoken word to theatre to visual art and everything in between.
Kennelly extended a sincere thank you to all the incredible range of partners who are working to make Culture Night one of the biggest and brightest events yet, with hopes that numbers will exceed last year’s 750,000 turn out across the island. Find out everything that’s on here.
The RTÉ Francis MacManus Short Story Prize announces shortlist
Staying with shortlists and prizes, we are awash with exciting announcements. The prestigious Francis MacManus Short Story Competition released its shortlist, after reading over 1700 submissions.
This year’s stories “were a delight to read and a testament to the great Irish tradition of storytelling,” said judge Kathleen MacMahon. “There were stories that surprised us, stories that made us laugh, and stories that took the form in a new and exciting direction.”
Artificial Intelligence for Psychotherapists, by Ilona Adams
Tessa and Vivianne, by Julie Cruickshank
It All Began with the Turlough, by Caoimhín Gaffney
Breathe, by Robin Livingstone
The Warbler, by Caitríona McArdle
On Craigavon Bridge, by Peter McCauley
Mr Hoo, by John O’Donnell
You, by Nadine O’Regan
The Turkish Rug, by Natalie Ryan
Off Season, by Jamie Samson
See the full shortlist here.
The Edge Hill Short Story Prize Shortlist announced
The Edge Hill Short Story Prize is another illustrious award to release its shortlist, which this year is an all-female line up and includes two debuts. The annual prize seeks to highlight the diverse voices and exceptional talents of contemporary short story writers, celebrating both emerging and established authors.
Previous winners include acclaimed authors such as Sarah Hall, David Szalay, Tessa Hadley, Kevin Barry and Daisy Johnson.
Total by Rebecca Miller (Canongate)
Love in the Time of Chaos by Rosemary Jenkinson (Arlen House)
Cat Brushing & Other Stories by Jane Campbell (Riverrun)
Animals at Night by Naomi Booth (Dead Ink Books)
This Train is for … by Bernie McGill (No Alibis Press)
An Post Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Longlist announced
Writing.ie has announced the longlist for this year’s An Post Writing.ie Short Story of the Year, which is judged by literary agent Simon Trewin, author Henrietta McKervey and Bob Johnston of The Gutter Bookshop.
The shortlist will be announced on 19th October, when the public will be able to read the six shortlisted stories and vote for their favourite. The winner will be revealed at the Gala Awards Dinner on 22nd November at The Convention Centre in Dublin.
The longlisted authors
Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Celia de Fréine
Shortlists announced for The Great Reads Award
School students choose the winning books for The Great Reads Award, which has been running for eight years with ever more participating schools from all around the island. The award encourages young people to engage critically with novels, and to share their enthusiasm for reading.
Junior Category shortlist
Nick Brooks for Promise Boys
Méabh Collins for Freya Harte is Not a Puzzle
Amy Clarkin for What Walks These Halls
Xena Knox for Sh!t Bag
M. J. Sullivan for Game Over: Rise of the Raid Mob
Sam Blake for Something Terrible Happened Last Night
Candice Brathwaite for Cuts Both Ways
Triona Campbell for A Game of Life or Death
Jenny Ireland for The First Move
Clara Kumagai for Catfish Rolling
Voting is open now, until December 15th, and you can vote here.
Dublin Book Festival reveals programme for November
Dublin Book Festival has revealed its programme for this year’s events running from 8-12 November.
It encompasses authors in conversation, special launches and celebrations to attend, poetry readings, stimulating panel discussions, walking tours exploring the history and nature of the city, professional development workshops, family events, and a full schools programme.
Featuring everyone from Anne Enright and Claire Kilroy, to John Connolly, Paul Lynch, Una Mannion and John Boyne there will be established voices and emerging, poetry and prose, with the opportunity for children to enjoy readings and draw-alongs with some of their favourite authors.
Browse the full programme now and book your tickets to join everyone this November.
The Irish Children’s Book Challenge
Children’s books are the subject du jour, with Discover Irish Children’s Books, a campaign spearheaded by renowned children’s author and advocate Sarah Webb to support Irish children’s authors and publishers.
In association with the Discover Irish Children’s Books campaign, reviewer and children’s writer Ruth Ennis kicks off The Irish Children’s Book Challenge.
Every day for the month of October there will be a prompt to share and recommend a book on social media. Find out all you need to know about joining in here.
Farewell to Bob at The Gutter Bookshop
There is some bitter sweet news as Bob Johnston, beloved bookseller of so many readers both in Dublin and across the country, is saying farewell to his 14 years running The Gutter Bookshop. Dubray Books will be taking over the book stores in Dublin and Dalkey but retaining the wonderful staff and the name. This comes as Dubray has reached the big five-oh milestone this month, celebrating half a century in business.
Talking about his decision to call time on his life at The Gutter—to focus more on writing amongst other things—Bob said he knew Dubray would continue to run the bookshops in a customer focused style, which is all he could ever hope for.
“On a personal note, I really want to thank everyone—loyal customers, authors, publishers, festivals, friends, family, our amazing staff, and everyone else—who have made The Gutter Bookshop such a huge success over the past 14 years. It’s time for me to “turn the page” and “begin a new chapter” but I hope that I’ll always be looking at the stars…”
We wish Bob all the very best in his new adventures, and Dubray warm wishes for the future.
Poetry Ireland welcomes new members to the team
Poetry Ireland welcomes Megan Johnson as new Publications Assistant and Eoin Fullston into a new role of Programme and Production Assistant. Megan is an NUIG graduate where she oversaw the production of the 30th edition of ROPES Literary Journal in 2022, and has worked at Literature Ireland and MOLI. Eoin is an actor and producer, and a TCD and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama graduate.
The Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair
The Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair is open for submissions until 30 September 2023. The now renowned competition gives 12 first-time novelists the opportunity to pitch their debut novels to national and international publishers and literary agents.
This competition has been a life-changing opportunity for writers across the island of Ireland and worldwide, with Novel Fair winners going on to win or be nominated for The Rooney Prize, Costa First Novel Award, Irish Book Awards, Carnegie Award, Kate O’Brien Award, Great Reads Ireland Award, The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award, The Yoto Carnegie medal, Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize for Literature, Comedy Women in Print Award, and many others.
Since it began, 32 winners have gone on to publish their debut novels as a result of the Novel Fair.