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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.




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:

New Episode – City of Books Podcast with Colum McCann

Described as a once-in-a-generation novel, Colum McCann’s latest book is something he calls a hybrid: “It does blur the line between fiction and non-fiction but it’s honest,” he says.

In an interview with the City of Books podcast, the multi-award-winning writer talks about his hope that the book, Apeirogon, may contribute to peace in the West Bank because it makes space for both the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. It fictionalises the true story of two fathers, an Israeli and a Palestinian, who each lose a child in the conflict.

Elsewhere in the interview, Colum admits he can’t write poetry but is drawn to it, talks about writers he has known including Frank McCourt, and describes it felt to sit in the classroom as a teacher read aloud from one of his father’s children’s books about a young soccer star called Georgie Goode – modelled on George Best. He also reads from his novel.

City of Books is supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries in association with MOLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland. It is produced and presented by Martina Devlin.

:: Apeirogon is published by Bloomsbury


James and Nora: Portrait of a Marriage by Edna O’Brien

RTE Radio One will broadcast a half hour programme to coincide with the publication of Edna O’Brien’s new book James and Nora: Portrait of Joyce’s Marriage. The  novel which was first published in America in 1981 has been republished by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.  In it, Edna O’Brien paints a miniature portrait of an artist, idealist, insurgent and filled with a secret loneliness. In Nora hew as to find accomplice, collaborator and muse.

James and Nora – a reading by Edna O’Brien will be aired on RTE Radio One at 6.30pm on Saturday 13th June 2020. The book will be published on Bloomsday – 16th June.  

Correspondences – A Call to End Direct Provision in Ireland

Our latest book review is of Correspondences – an anthology which calls for an end to Direct Provision. It is edited by Stephen Rea and Jessica Traynor. All proceeds from the sale of the anthology go to MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland) The anthology pairs writers, photographers and visual artists in the direct provision system in Ireland with Irish artists and writers.


New Episode – City of Books Podcast with Margaret Kelleher


The brutal murder of five members of one family in 19th century Ireland, and the trial which followed it, are the subject of Professor Margaret Kelleher’s book – discussed in our latest City of Books podcast.

The episode was recorded before the Covid 19 restrictions in the historic Green Street courthouse in Dublin, scene of the trial. Professor Kelleher of UCD is joined by President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

All proceedings during the 1882 trial were conducted in English but some of the accused, from Connemara, spoke only Irish and didn’t understand what was happening.

Prof Kelleher’s book is The Maamtrasna Murders: Language, Life and Death in Nineteenth-Century Ireland, published by UCD Press.

City of Books is hosted by author and journalist Martina Devlin for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Council, in association with MOLI the Museum of Literature Ireland.



UCD Festival 2020

The UCD Festival @home 2020 takes place this weekend from Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th May – with online workshops , expert talks and discussions.

There is a wide range of discussions and conversations including literature, sport, business and architecture. Some of Ireland’s leading sports stars will join us on Saturday to discuss leadership, teamwork and resilience in a time without sport. Also, UCD alum and RTÉ presenter Rick O’Shea has curated a strand of stimulating conversations featuring alumni and friends of UCD. They include celebrated authors Colm Tóibín, June Caldwell, Helen Cullen , Anne Griffin, Mark O’Connell and our 2015 Citywide Read author Dave Rudden.