Thursday, September 27, 2012

Central Library revised opening hours!

Revised Opening hours come into effect starting Monday 1st October 2012

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday 9.30am - 7pm
  • Wednesday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Thursday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Friday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Saturday Open: 9.30am - 1pm. Closed for lunch: 1pm - 2pm. Open: 2pm - 5pm*
  • Sunday Closed
*Closed on Saturday before public holidays

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Irish Writer wins prestigious award in UK

Author and columnist Martina Devlin has been named 2012 winner of the Royal Society of Literature's prestigious VS Pritchett Memorial Prize.

Martina Devlin is the winner of the annual award for an unpublished story which is now in its 13th year. It was founded by the Royal Society of Literature at the beginning of the millennium, to pay tribute to the writer VS Pritchett. This year's judges were Jane Gardam, Aamer Hussein and Penelope Lively and the prize will be awarded in London in November. The winning piece is called Singing Dumb and is about a young girl in a rural community minding her three-year-old brother who, unfortunately, is run over by a car.

Ms Devlin has won a Hennessy Literary Prize and has been shortlisted twice for the Irish Book Awards. She writes a weekly column for the Irish Independent and contributes regularly to RTÉ Radio One's Sunday Miscellany.
(rte website; 20/9/2012)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Man Booker Prize shortlist 2012 announced!

Back in July the Booker judges announced a wide-ranging and defiantly highbrow longlist that wasn't afraid to ignore big names. Now we have a shortlist that, at a time of seismic change in the industry, rewards tiny publishers running on enthusiasm and strong coffee and, true to form, only two well-known authors remain.

Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies is a sequel of sorts to her 2009 Booker winner Wolf Hall, and Will Self's Umbrella is a bravura stream-of-consciousness tour through 20th-century history and psychiatry.

The debut novels are Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis, a hallucinatory portrait of opium smokers in Old Bombay, and Alison Moore's The Lighthouse, an unsettling tale of a man and his memories on a walking holiday.

The last two authors on the list, if unfamiliar, are not new: Tan Twang Eng, who conjures a Japanese garden in Malaya in The Garden of Evening Mists, has been longlisted before; and Deborah Levy, whose Swimming Home shows the middle classes falling apart on the French Riviera, has an impressive back catalogue.

To view the shortlist in pictures please click on the following link;

The longlist was rich in comic exuberance from authors such as Nicola Barker, Michael Frayn and Ned Beauman. They've gone, to leave a group of books that are often downbeat in theme, suffused with ageing, addiction, depression and regret – not to mention the execution of Anne Boleyn.

Refreshingly, it was style that made these novels stand out. "It was the pure power of prose that settled most debates," said the chair of the judges. "We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways."

So can Mantel win again for volume two in her grand, expanding project to reimagine Thomas Cromwell and his age? It would be a surprising decision, surely, from a judging panel that appreciates the shock of the new.

It could be said that the other frontrunner, Self's Umbrella, is not exactly novel either, treating the subject of modernism in high modernist style, with a loving debt to James Joyce. But it's the best book yet from an author whose position on the margins deserves to be embraced by the mainstream, and would make a fitting winner indeed.
(Guardian Tues 11th September 2012)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guardian First Book Award 2012

Chad Harbach's highly praised debut The Art of Fielding is competing with an Iraq veteran's "raw, visceral" novel about the impact of war and a journalist's account of the time she spent living in a Mumbai slum on the longlist for the Guardian first book award.

Eleven titles have been chosen for the Guardian's £10,000 prize, from Mary Costello's collection of Irish short stories The China Factory, released by small publisher Stinging Fly Press, to Harbach's novel, which follows the story of baseball player Henry Skrimshander and arrives garlanded with praise from Jonathan Franzen and John Irving. For the second year running, Guardian readers nominated a title, this year choosing Sarah Jackson's "assured and mysterious" poetry collection Pelt.

To view the complete longlist in pictures please click here

Publishers submitted 94 titles for the prize, and judges Ahdaf Soueif, Kate Summerscale, Jeanette Winterson and Guardian deputy editor Katharine Viner, chaired by Guardian Review editor Lisa Allardice, called in many more. Army veteran Kevin Powers was chosen for The Yellow Birds, a novel about a soldier's return home after a year in Iraq, Patrick Flanery for his book about the fictional great South African writer Clare Wald, Absolution, and Charlotte Rogan for The Lifeboat, in which an ocean liner capsizes in 1914, stranding passengers in a lifeboat for three long weeks.

"In fiction we've got novels like The Art of Fielding, a popular and critical hit earlier this year, alongside lesser known titles such as The China Factory," said Allardice. "One criticism of new writing is often that it doesn't engage with contemporary events or recent history, but something like The Yellow Birds, a very raw, visceral account of the Iraq war written by a young soldier, shows this can be done.

"Judging a prize like this, you do very quickly become aware of trends and foibles. Semi-autobiographical novels seems to have given way to whimsical child narrators. The one on our longlist which might seem to fall into this category is Kerry Hudson's novel Tony Hogan Brought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, but the voice is so fresh and the writing so energetic that we felt it needed to be included."

Four non-fiction titles make this year's line-up: New Yorker journalist Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, her account of her time living in the Annawadi slum built on rubbish dumps at the edge of Mumbai airport; Susan Cain's Quiet, about the power of introverts, Faramerz Dabhoiwala's The Origins of Sex; and Lindsey Hilsum's Sandstorm, about the Libyan revolution.

"The non-fiction we've chosen is wide-ranging both geographically, from Mumbai to Libya, and across subjects from sex to silence," said Allardice, who is joined on the judging panel by authors including Jeanette Winterson, Kate Summerscale and Ahdaf Soueif. "We've tried to put together a lively list which reflects the diversity of first books this year."

Reading groups across the country, run in partnership with Waterstones, will now help the panel pick a shortlist, which will be announced in late October. The winner will be unveiled on 29 November, joining names including Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Foer and last year's winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, who took the prize for his "biography" of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies.

The longlist

The China Factory by Mary Costello (Stinging Fly Press)
Absolution by Patrick Flanery (Atlantic)
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (Fourth Estate)
Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Sceptre)
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (Virago)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (Portobello)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Viking)
The Origins of Sex by Faramerz Dabhoiwala (Allen Lane)
Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution by Lindsey Hilsum (Faber)

Readers' choice
Pelt by Sarah Jackson (Bloodaxe)