Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
But once again the majority of the Live Mic fraternity bewrayed their total Me Fein, self-centred interests. We had many of these people turning up just for the open mic competition we organised and no other event, in spite of us bringing the best of Irish writing from home and abroad and eminent American writers from Boston and San Francisco who had never appeared at Irish festivals before. (Watch out for Martin Espada at a festival near you soon, he impressed so much he received an invitation back to Ireland from another member of the audience the night of his reading).
We put up a 200 euro prize, paid a professional thespian-poet judge a modest fee of 150 euro, we had the expense of room hire, sound equipment hire, staff time, all to cater for a group of people who, in the main, had no interest in any other writer except themselves. Were they grateful for our efforts in catering for their rarefied, self-centered interests? Were they fuck!
One complained that she wasn't allowed to read two pieces instead of one like everyone else, another person accused the time keeper of robbing her of minutes in her performance. As I said already a majority of these people attended no other event. I'm delighted to report that the prize went to John Walsh of Galway who did attend other events at the festival (not that the judge would have known).
But I'm left thinking why should I do anything for this largely selfish constituency in the future.
Friday, February 12, 2010
(ETHEL LILIAN VOYNICH IS 95 YEARS OLD)
Ethel Voynich is easily the best-selling Irish author of all time. Yet nobody knows about her in the country of her birth. Voynich's novel The Gadfly sold over 2 and half million copies in Russia and even more in China. It was adapted as a film in 1928 and again in 1955 with a specially-commissioned soundtrack by Shostakovich and made into a Chinese mini-television series in 2005. Click on the picture above to be brought to video showing her being feted in New York by members of the Bolshoi Ballet on the occasion of her 95th birthday in 1959.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
At the 2008 Frank O'Connor Short Story Festival in Cork, Ireland, interviewed by Patrick Cotter, Yiyun Li touches on how she develops character, about her family background, dealing with political interviewers, her experience of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, her love of Irish writers and much else. 26 minutes in total.
Watch Yiyun Li interviewed by Patrick Cotter in Travel & Culture | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
We’ll have Jennifer Johnston who will be enjoyed not only by the regular attendees of literary festivals but also those bourgeois types who drag themselves out solely for a name familiar to them from the broadsheet review pages and TV culture programmes. I’m contemplating a scheme where entry to the Johnston gig will be free to anyone who regularly attends the other events but will cost 15-20 euro for those who just come to see her. Reading with Jennifer will also be an exciting young American and near namesake Adam Johnson who has published short story collections, a novel and who teaches in the writing department of Stanford. Sharing the stage with Adam and Jennifer will be Denyse Woods who has published a number of literary novels with Penguin and some potboilers under the pseudonym Devlin. Denyse has just been appointed as Artistic Director of the West Cork Literary Festival for 2010.
Other fiction writers featured this year will be Conal Creedon whose plays were recently received with glowing reviews in New York and Mary Leland who has published two novels, a story collection and who was just recently shortlisted for the Davy Byrne’s Award.
I like to feature mostly poets during this festival because of our concentration on fiction during the Frank O’Connor Short Story Festival. Derek Mahon, Paula Meehan, Bernard O’Donoghue, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and Desmond O’Grady are all being featured, teamed with Cork City resident authors. Featured Cork authors with recent new books include Eugene O'Connell, Thomas McCarthy whose The Last Geraldine Officer has received rave and considered reviews from Maurice Harmon and Bernard O’Donoghue; Martina Evans whose Facing the Public continues to mine the Macroom of her childhood for literary gold; we are honoured that Theo Dorgan will be launching with us his first original full-length poetry collection since the last century Greek – featuring poems all of which focus on Greece and Greek culture.
Other out of town poets of note attending include big guns such as Ciaran O’Driscoll, Gerard Smyth, Patrick Moran, Mary O’Malley and Michael Coady who has just published a substantial new collection.
Last but not least we are featuring one of the USA’s most famous of contemporary poets (one who has yet to be exported as successfully as some others) Martin Espada who has been described as the leading Latino poet writing in English. He has published in Southword a brilliant essay on sense of place. His work is noted for its political commitment without being polemical. He is very much influenced by Pablo Neruda and other Iberian-language poets. For my money, he is the only foreigner who has written successfully about Ireland in poetry without sounding like a tourist.
A timetable can be found here . A fully-downloadable programme should be available next week.