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Seána Kerslake – Reading Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey

Seána Kerslake is one of Ireland’s most uniquely talented young actors and we’re delighted to call her a friend of the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature office. We had been really looking forward to hearing her read from Tatty at Liberty Hall this month, as part of Dublin One City One Book, and very much hope she can be with us when that event is re-staged later in 2020.

In the meantime, treat yourself to this wonderful rendering of the voice of Tatty in a special video Seána has made for fans of the book.

You won’t be disappointed!
Part 1 of 4, Don’t miss out, click to subscribe

City of Books Podcasts


Calling all bookworms. Dublin City Libraries is delighted to announce an exciting new initiative to mark the tenth anniversary of the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature designation.

City of Books is a podcast in which host, author and journalist Martina Devlin, talks books to all sorts of people who believe books matter – and that you can never have too many books.

It’s sponsored by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature in association with MOLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland.

Be sure to subscribe to City of Books now.

Episode 1 The Fine Art of Reading features Robert Ballagh and Mary Costello. Artist Robert Ballagh talks about why Samuel Beckett thought he kept him waiting for breakfast, how his postage stamp design infuriated Northern Irish political leader the Rev Ian Paisley, befriending Nobel scientist James Watson and getting on the wrong side of Britain’s Prince Philip. He also discusses his autobiography A Reluctant Memoir, published by Head of Zeus. Later in the episode, writer Mary Costello takes a tour of the iconic James Joyce Tower in Dublin where Joyce set the opening chapter of his masterpiece Ulysses. During her walkabout in the 200-year-old building, she explains why she is drawn back again and again to Joyce’s work and why her latest novel The River Capture is inspired by him.

Episode 2 Life Lessons with Marian Keyes. Marian Keyes international bestseller talks about everything from why she believes in supporting other women, to why bulimia is possibly the cruellest addiction. Marian also talks about her latest novel Grown Ups.

Episode 3 One City One Book plus Finance Minister’s Books at Bedtime. Martina Devlin chats with author of Tatty Christine Dwyer Hickey and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

Episode 4 – Ships at a Distance Have Everymans Wish on Board. Author and editor Sinéad Gleeson speaks about what makes Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey so powerful, as well as her experience when The Long Gaze Back was the 2018 One City One Book choice.

Episode 5 – If You’re A Child You Know Where The Power IsAuthor Carlo Gébler talks about The Country Girls Trilogy, written by his mother Edna O’Brien, which was the 2019 Dublin One City One Book choice. He also speaks about children feeling powerless in an adult world, and shares some life lessons from 30 years spent teaching in prisons.

Episode 6 – South Dublin Noir Meets White Knuckle Crime: Author and journalist Sinéad Crowley speaks about the Dublin One City One Book initiative, reveals some of her favourite choices over the years, and also talks about her Detective Claire Boyle crime series.

Episode 7 – The Child’s Eye – Marita Conlon-McKenna is the much-loved author of many books for children and adults. They include her children’s classic about Ireland’s Great Famine, Under The Hawthorn Tree. She talks here about the magic of storytelling, why famine stories continue to grip us and the powerful use of the child’s voice in Tatty – the 2020 Dublin One City One Book choice.


They are available on the usual platforms including Apple and Spotify.




International Dublin Literary Award and ILFDublin partnership

The International Dublin Literary Award and International Literature Festival Dublin announce new partnership

Dublin City is renowned across the world for literature, designated the 4th UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, and today two of the country’s most acclaimed celebrations of the written word announced the beginning of a new partnership.

The International Dublin Literary Award, now in its 25th year, is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English, with the winner receiving €100,000. International Literature Festival Dublin is Ireland’s premier literary event, hosting the finest writers in the world annually to debate, provoke, delight and enthral. Both are initiatives of Dublin City Council.

It was announced today that, from this year on, the recipient of the International Dublin Literary Award will be announced during the International Literature Festival Dublin.  

Both traditionally take place in the earlier part of the year but, due to Covid-19, will now happen this autumn. The shortlist of 10 books for the International Dublin Literary Award will be announced on 3rd September and the overall winner will be announced on 22nd October, during ILFDublin’s reimagined 2020 festival. Shortlisted authors will also be featured in this year’s festival programme – details to be confirmed.

This announcement today highlights the continued commitment of Dublin City Council to the award as well as the key role DCC plays in ILFDublin.

Chief Executive Owen Keegan said today, “It gives me great pleasure to announce this exciting new chapter, bringing together two esteemed Dublin City Council initiatives. With shared ambitions to celebrate and promote international literature, as well as the rich literary heritage of Dublin City, this partnership between the International Dublin Literary Award and International Literature Festival Dublin seems like a perfect fit.”

In 2021, the award longlist will be announced at the start of the year with the winner announced in May. ILFDublin will also return to its usual May dates for the 2021 Festival.

The International Dublin Literary Award is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English and is sponsored solely by Dublin City Council. The award aims to promote quality literature internationally. It is unique from other awards as the books are nominated by libraries in major cities throughout the world and it is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality – provided the book has been published in English or English translation.

156 novels were nominated for the 2020 Award, with 119 Libraries taking part from 40 countries worldwide. 54 of the titles are in translation, spanning 21 Languages. The 6 person judging panel is made up of Irish editor and columnist, Niall MacMonagle; Scottish author and editor Zoë Strachan; Yannick Garcia, a Catalan writer and translator based in Barcelona; Cathy Rentzenbrink, a Sunday Times top ten bestseller of the year writer; and Indian-born translator and champion of the novel, Shreela Ghosh. The non-voting Chairperson is Professor Chris Morash, Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.

International Literature Festival Dublin annually gathers the finest writers in the world to debate, provoke, delight and enthral. Attracting visitors from around the world, it is a destination for those who wish to celebrate the very best of Irish and international talent. With readings, discussions, debates, workshops, performance and screenings, the festival creates a hotbed of ideas. Whether it’s the mix of poets, writers of fiction and non-fiction, lyricists, playwrights and screenwriters, International Literature Festival Dublin brings new faces and house-hold names together in ways that surprise and inspire. Further details of the 2020 reimagined festival which will take place this autumn will be announced in the coming weeks. 

ILFU Utrecht International Story Contest 2020

Enter the ILFU International Story Contest and win a chance at 10,000 euros in prize money

The ILFU International Literature Festival Utrecht is all about telling stories and holding a finger to the pulse of our times. This turbulent year 2020 simply begs for new stories to tell.
Stories from every possible perspective and any possible format to help us understand our past, our future, and the here and now. But we also need stories that move us, comfort us, and offer us relaxation and pleasant distraction.
The ILFU has therefore organised the International Story Contest with the theme: ‘Rise’. The winner will receive the grand prize of 10,000 euros, and will have a place of honour at the 2021 ILFU.

Tell us a story about ‘Rising’ in less than 3 minutes
There are many ways to tell a story, and the ILFU Story Contest is open to all of them: submissions of prose, poetry, non-fiction, film, photography, animation, music, song, rap, theatre, spoken word, dance, storytelling, vlogs, Instastories, TikTok videos or cross-overs of any of the above may compete in the contest.
The only requirement is that they can be told, watched or read in less than 3 minutes.

An expert jury made up of author Joke van Leeuwen, DJ Sagid Carter, actress and singer Manoushka Zeegelaar Breeveld, television host Dolores Leeuwin and storyteller Sahand Sahebdivani will select the winner from among the many submissions. The members of the jury have all proven their expertise in telling stories in a wide range of disciplines.
The jury will announce their Top 30 at ILFU 2020, and the winner will be announced on 3 October 2020.

The winner will receive the grand prize of 10,000 euros, and will have a place of honour at the 2021 ILFU. The 30 best stories will be published online and may win one of the additional prizes.

For full details please visit 

Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme 2020

Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature are delighted to support Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe as she receives one of 23 one-to-one mentoring from professional writer-mentors over the coming year from Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme 2020.

We look forward to working with her over the next year. Congratulations!!

Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe is a poet, pacifist and fabulist. She is the founder of the P[l]ay It Forward Fellowships, poetry editor at Skein Press, and co-editor of a forthcoming commemorative anthology with The Ireland Chair of Poetry. 

Essays and features appear in T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine, TED News, Doha News, Dissident Voice, Culture Unplugged and The New Indian Express, among others. Poems are widely published or forthcoming, most recently in Banshee, Poetry Ireland Review, Rattle, The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, and Winter Papers. She has been commissioned to create work for the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture celebrations by Poetry Ireland, the Rio 2016 Olympic Truce by the Qatar Olympic Committee, and the Shine Your Light campaign with RTÉ. 

The recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award in Literature (2019/20) from the Arts Council of Ireland, Nidhi currently also serves as a Global Peace Ambassador with the Institute for Economics & Peace. Her work has been awarded the Jaipur BookMark First Book Club Award (2018) for a novel-in-progress, inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Student Prize (2019), highly commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award (2019) for best unpublished first collection, selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series (2020), and twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poetry is forthcoming in Autumn 2021.


New Episode – City of Books Podcast with Richard Ford


Richard Ford is listing his failures. He wanted to be a lawyer in the US Marines. That didn’t work out. He wanted to be “a lawyer, period”. That didn’t work out. He became a writer – that certainly counts as a success for the Pulitzer Prize winner.

Even so, between novels and short story collections he sometimes imagined he was through with fiction. There had to be other jobs he could do, he thought.

But he kept going, he tells Martina Devlin in the City of Books podcast for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature. And that’s been the case for half a century.

Although when he’s between books, he claims to “flounce” around meeting people for lunch, travelling and generally finding reasons not to work.

Today, Ford is the elder statesman of American letters, and notched up a string of awards. But he has strong Irish links, as is readily apparent in his latest work Sorry for Your Trouble. It’s a short story collection with an elegiac tone, shot through with Irish characters and places.

Ford, whose forebears emigrated to the US from Co Cavan, has written eight novels, a memoir about his parents and four short story collections. Books includes Canada and The Sportswriter. In addition, he has shared his insights as writer in residence at Trinity College Dublin.

Sorry For Your Trouble is published by Bloomsbury.




Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme 2020

Congratulations to the 23 writers who will receive one-to-one mentoring from professional writer-mentors over the coming year.

We at Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries are delighted to support Words Ireland in their National Mentoring Programme 2020.

The 23 writers were announced today, 7th July! A full list of can be found HERE 

Here’s a bit more about one of the lucky recipients Triona Campbell. We look forward to working with her in the future.

Photo: Michael Donnelly

Triona Campbell is an award-winning television producer who has been creating content for kids and young adults for over two decades.  To date, she has garnered two International EMMY nominations and two Kidscreen awards for her work in this area. Currently, she is producing “Gamer Mode”, a TV series on video games and technology for RTE.  She can also be found asking questions on the upcoming RTE podcast “Gamer mode parents edition: Raising Digital Natives”.

A graduate of Trinity College’s Drama department Triona got her first break in the arts working backstage at the Olympia panto with Twink and Dustin (she is THAT old, and she has been a Panto addict ever since). Alongside working in film and television, she spent time developing story ideas at a monthly children’s writers’ group at the Irish Writers Centre,  and, dipped her toes in further by taking several of Sarah Webb’s writing for children courses. In 2019, Triona decided to do the Masters in Creative writing at the Oscar Wilde Centre in Trinity and left it wholly smitten by Children’s/YA writing.

Her first work as a writer was a radio drama/podcast series for kids “YOUNG PIRATE QUEEN” based on the fictional adventures of a young Grace O’Malley.  The series created by Triona is in postproduction, was produced remotely during the COVID 19 lockdown and is due to air online and on RTE Radio Jnr in September 2020.

In between writing and creating television, she also writes short pieces on Instagram @storyrealms (where she tests out new material and book ideas). She is currently working on her Debut Novel, “PLAY”, a high concept thriller set in the world of Video Games. She is delighted and grateful for the support of Words Ireland, National Mentoring Programme 2020, Dublin City Centre mentorship supported by the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries in developing this work.

For updates and more information see



A City as a Writers’s Workplace Online Photo Exhibition

The International online exhibition “A City as a Writer’s Workplace” brought together 100 photographs and texts from writers and artists from around the world. The exhibition, organized by Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature is presented in English and Russian.

The idea of the exhibition is to collect photographs and short texts telling about those places in the city where the authors like to write. The project helps to understand the writer’s relationship with a city and allows authors of different countries to know more about each other’s work. Photos are also supplemented with links to writers’ websites so that readers can familiarize themselves with the author’s texts. Initially, applications were only accepted from the UNESCO Literary Cities Network members, but authors from other cities also showed interest in the project, so the organizers expanded the exhibition.

“The online exposition includes photos from different parts of the world: Europe, Australia, Russia, New Zealand, the USA, Israel, the UK, South Korea, China, South Africa, and India. It is very curious to explore how the working conditions of the authors are changing today: some write at home at the desk, in a cafe or a garden, others sketch poems right on their smartphones, ride a bike or look for solitude in the writer’s residency. Some writers are inspired by the colours and sounds of the city. It turns out that many authors still write by hand. The Coronavirus has made changes in the writers’ work, and they told us about it in their texts. Authors miss the places to which the pandemic has closed access,” said Gala Uzryutova, an author of the idea and the exhibition curator, the “Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature” program coordinator, poet, and writer.

View the exhibition

Christine Dwyer Hickey and Sinéad Gleeson win Dalkey Literary Awards

Congratulations to Christine Dwyer Hickey who has won the inaugural Dalkey Literary Award – Novel of the Year – for her latest novel The Narrow Land (Atlantic Books) Sponsored by Zurich, the award was announced by Dalkey Book Festival on Saturday night. Christine also won the 2020 William Scott Prize for Historical Fiction last week for the same book! Christine’s 2004 novel Tatty (New Island Books) is our 2020 Dublin One City One Book choice.

Sinéad Gleeson won the Emerging Writer Award for her debut collection Constellations: Reflections from Life (Picador Books). Sinéad has also been shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize in the Biography section. The James Tait Black Prizes are awarded by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. The prizes are Britain’s longest-running literary awards.

Edna O’Brien has been shortlisted for the same prize in the fiction category for her latest novel Girl – which recently won the Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award. 

More details on the Dalkey Literary Awards here 

You can also find the winners video announcements here:


New Episode City of Books Podcast with Liz Nugent

Domestic noir doyenne Liz Nugent’s work has been enthused over by Graham Norton, who describes her latest hit Our Little Cruelties as part rollercoaster, part maze.
In this interview for the City of Books podcast with Martina Devlin, Liz talks about coping with pain stemming from a childhood brain haemorrhage, and overcoming challenges large and small – such as typing all her work one handed: “Shakespeare wrote all his plays one-
handed with a feather,” she says.
She also reveals the identity of her favourite fictional antihero (clue: he’s sexy but mean), why she finds it easier to write male characters, and unravels her eclectic career path to becoming a bestselling author of four domestic noir bestsellers.
More about Liz’s books here:

City of Books is sponsored by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Council, in association with the Museum of Literature Ireland (MOLI).

Available where ever you get your podcasts!!


Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust Opens Call for Submissions to Special Commemorative Anthology


The Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust is delighted to be able to invite submissions to an anthology of original poems, essays and reflections by emerging poets in response to the work of creative mentors, to celebrate the work of the Ireland Chair of Poetry.

The Ireland Chair of Poetry was established in 1998, to commemorate the awarding of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature to Seamus Heaney and, more widely, as a way to permanently mark and recognise Ireland’s extraordinary literary achievements. As we approach the 25th anniversary of Heaney’s Nobel Prize win, we look to mark the occasion by honouring the contribution and legacy of writers like Seamus Heaney, the Chairs of Poetry and their peers, among a new generation of poets emerging in the literary landscape.

Conceived and edited by the awardees of the inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Student Award 2019, Mícheál McCann, Summer Meline, Marcella L.A. Prince and Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, the editors wish to recognise this tradition and celebrate the unique and formative relationships that exist between new writers and their creative mentors. We hope, through this anthology, to spark an intergenerational dialogue by bridging established, well-known names in Irish literature with newfound, diverse voices, and illuminate the literary heritage, traditions, themes and resonances unfolding in contemporary Irish poetry.

We invite new/emerging poets to respond to this call by submitting work inspired by a mentor who has had a tangible, direct or indirect, impact on their life, work, imagination, themes, style and/or practice. This can take the form of either:

— an original poem, inspired by one of a mentor’s poems/collections/oeuvre, including a short note (250 words) on why the work/poet that inspired it is particularly meaningful to you; or

— a personal or critical reflection, essay, letter or other form of print media engaging with some aspect of a mentor’s practice, process, creative or critical thought in the form of lectures, talks, archival materials and/or personal interaction or correspondences.

The submission and eligibility guidelines are available to download by clicking here.

The equality, diversity and inclusion form is available to download by clicking here.

The submission window is open from Wednesday May 6th and will close at midnight on Monday July 6th.

To submit please email your work with a brief covering letter and a short biography (80 words) to: 

All queries should be directed to: