Friday, August 14, 2009

Reading In September

The Munster Literature Centre have announced the line-up for this year's Frank O'Connor Festival (check out for full details).
I'm scheduled to read at the School of Music in Union Quay (Cork...) at 7 p.m. on Friday, 18th September, sharing the bill with Simon Van Booy, one of the shortlisted writers for this year's Frank O'Connor Award.
I don't do many public readings, tending as I do to turn into a quivering mess when stood in front of expectant faces, but it will offer a chance at some (much needed) publicity for my book of stories, In Too Deep, and I suppose at the very least it will be an experience. Please come along if you can...
The line-up for the entire festival looks pretty good, actually. Some middle- to heavyweight hitters will be on show and it should make for a pretty good week, all things considered. Also on the Friday, at 4 p.m. in the City Library, Nuala Ní Chonchúir will be officially launching her third collection of short stories, Nude.
Wait, let me clarify. It's not that she'll be launching her new collection in the nude; that's just the name of the book. Nude. Got it? Good.

Monday, August 3, 2009

John le Carre

I've just started John le Carre's latest novel, A Most Wanted Man, and sixty pages in, they old boy has got me. I've always loved le Carre's novels, as much for the bleakness of their atmosphere as for their enviable plotting. If you bother to look, you'll surely find copious comparisons in the media between his writing style (and, I suppose, subject matter) and that of Graham Greene, yet Greene is generally quite highly lauded in literary circles whereas Mr. le Carre tends to be gently tucked aside and more or less dismissed as a serious writer. Well, I'm sure his books sell well and I doubt that he requires validation from the critics, but I do think he tends to be unfairly treated in reviews. At his best, I think he is as good as it gets, a sharp stylist adept at dealing with difficult subject matter. And I'd take The Spy Who Came In From The Cold over most of the Pop-Idol, hip-as-Miles style outings offered up by today's so-called literati.
Next up for me, two imminent releases: 'Noah's Compass' by Anne Tyler and 'Inherent Vice' by Thomas Pynchon. Tyler will, I'm sure, be solid and beautifully dependable (one of my favourite ever writers). With Pynchon, well, fingers-crossed for another V...