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Citywide Read for Children: Animal Crackers by Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan

Which are the biggest and smallest animals? Which are the most dangerous? Why do dogs love people so much? What animals can live in the heat of the desert, or deep below the oceans? Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan are animal crazy and have put the answers to all these questions and more in Animal Crackers, a book bursting with information and illustrations about animals of all types.

We are delighted to announce Animal Crackers by Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan (The O’Brien Press) as the 2021 Citywide Reading for Children choice.

This book of animal facts, illustrated with animal art/doodles, activities and quiz pages, is a highly interactive and fun book suitable for boys and girls aged 6-12 years.


The campaign is run by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with The O’Brien Press, and runs during October and November 2021. The aim of the initiative is to encourage children to read for pleasure.

There will be author and illustrator events for primary school classes organised by Dublin City Libraries.

An online family quiz and draw-along will take place on Wednesday 27th October at 10.30am. Book Now

There will also be a fun midterm break event for children in Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, and an online class event in the National Library of Ireland. All events are free.

 “We are delighted and honoured that Animal Crackers has been chosen as the 2021 Citywide Read. We love libraries! As children we borrowed and read all kinds of books, especially animal books, and we’ve never stopped visiting the library. In fact lots of the research for Animal Crackers was done in our local libraries. We hope that children all over Dublin will enjoy reading our book and discovering lots of new animal facts. We can’t wait to go Animal Crackers with young book fans and their parents and teachers!” Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan.

Multiple copies of the book will be available in all Dublin City Libraries as well as in all good bookshops.  Children can borrow the book in any library across the country. An activity booklet and other online resources to accompany the book will be available for children and teachers on

The project is funded by Dublin City Council’s Public Library Service and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb is an award-winning children’s writer. Her books include Blazing a Trail: Irish Women who Changed the World (illustrated by Lauren O’Neill) and A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea: Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood (illustrated by Steve McCarthy), both winners of Irish Book Awards.

Sarah also runs creative writing clubs for children and teens, reviews children’s books for the Irish Independent, and programmes children’s and family events for book festivals and MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland). A part-time children’s bookseller, Sarah is passionate about bringing children and books together and was awarded the Children’s Books Ireland Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books in Ireland. Her latest book, The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street will be published in September.

Alan Nolan

Alan Nolan is the author and illustrator of Fintan’s Fifteen, Conor’s Caveman and the Sam Hannigan series for the O’Brien Press. His latest books, Sam Hannigan and the Last Dodo, and Animal Crackers (with Sarah Webb) are both out now. Alan lives in Bray, County Wicklow with his wife, three sons and an evil cat called Chewie.  Alan also featured regularly on during lockdown with fun ‘how to draw’ segments.

The Book:

Crammed full of facts, pictures and cartoons from Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan, Animal Crackers is the perfect book for children who want to know more about our furry, feathered (and scaly!) friends.

With a special section on Irish wildlife, and the ‘Irish Animal Detective’ activities, children will want to explore their gardens, parks and beaches to seek out all kinds of native animals. Animal Crackers also provides fun facts and engaging activities that kids will love – from how to draw your favourite animals to suggestions on how you can help save the planet!


Leonard and Hungry Paul is 2021 One Dublin One Book

Dublin City Council is delighted to announce that Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession is the One Dublin One Book choice for 2021, following on from Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey in 2020.

One Dublin One Book aims to encourage everyone in Dublin to read a designated book connected with the capital city during the month of April every year. This annual project is a Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin City Libraries and encourages reading for pleasure. 

Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens, says “On behalf of Dublin City Council Libraries, I am delighted to have the opportunity of promoting this wonderful book by Rónán Hession.  It reminds us all that life is precious and that there are many challenges facing us as we negotiate daily life.  The book is uplifting and positive and gives comfort at this time.  The book is a treasure and will hopefully encourage many more readers to seek refuge and sustenance from reading.”

A new One Dublin One Book edition of Leonard and Hungry Paul (Bluemoose Books) will be available to borrow from all public libraries nationwide, electronically via BorrowBox, and to buy from all good book shops. There will be online events in April to accompany the reading initiative. 

“I am sincerely grateful and proud that Leonard and Hungry Paul has been chosen as this year’s One Dublin One Book. I would like to thank Dublin City Council for this great honour. I was born in Dublin and have lived and worked here all my life, so this means a lot to me. And of course, I have spent countless happy hours firing my imagination with the books I have borrowed from the wonderful libraries we have throughout Dublin. Leonard and Hungry Paul is a gentle book about two friends learning to engage with the world without becoming overwhelmed by it. I hope my fellow Dubliners find it a source of peace and enjoyment in the year ahead.” says Rónán Hession.

The Book

Leonard and Hungry Paul are two quiet friends who see the world differently. They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom that is the 21st century. It is the story of two friends trying to find their place in the world. It is about those uncelebrated people who have the ability to change the world, not by effort or force, but through their appreciation of all that is special and overlooked in life.

The Author

Rónán Hession is an Irish writer based in Dublin. His debut novel Leonard and Hungry Paul was published by Bluemoose Books in the UK and by Melville House Books in the US. Leonard and Hungry Paul has been nominated for a number of prizes, including the Irish Novel of the Year and the British Book Award for Best Debut. Rónán has also been longlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards for Short Story of the Year. Rónán’s second novel, Panenka, will be published in May 2021. As Mumblin’ Deaf Ro, he has released three albums of storytelling songs. His third album Dictionary Crimes was nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year. 

The Publisher

Leonard and Hungry Paul is published by Bluemoose Books 

The Arts Council announces Colm Tóibín as the Laureate for Irish Fiction 2022-2024

The Arts Council announces Colm Tóibín as the Laureate for Irish Fiction 2022-2024

The Arts Council is delighted to announce the appointment of Colm Tóibín as the Laureate for Irish Fiction 2022-2024. He is taking over the laureateship from Sebastian Barry, who followed inaugural Laureate Anne Enright. His three-year term will begin this month.

The Laureate for Irish Fiction is an initiative of the Arts Council. The role seeks to acknowledge the contribution of fiction writers to Irish artistic and cultural life by honouring an established Irish writer of fiction, encouraging a new generation of writers, promoting Irish literature nationally and internationally and encouraging the public to engage with high quality Irish fiction.


Chair of the Arts Council, Professor Kevin Rafter said, “The Arts Council is very proud to award Colm Tóibín the honour of Laureate for Irish Fiction from 2022 to 2024. Colm is one of our finest writers with a recognised international reputation. His novels and short stories are not just acclaimed by critics but they are also loved by readers. I know he will bring his tremendous intellect, and endless energy and empathy, to the role of Laureate for Irish Fiction.”


Speaking about the choice, Canadian critic, broadcaster and member of the international selection panel Eleanor Wachtel said, “I’ve been following Colm Tóibín’s work for almost 30 years and have long admired his intelligence, erudition, wit and compassion.  From his thoughtful essays to his engaging fiction, he’s remarkably talented and prolific, full of warmth and enthusiasm –a true man of letters, generous both as a writer and as a reader.  It’s thrilling that he has agreed to be Ireland’s new Laureate for Fiction.”


When asked about his appointment, incoming Laureate for Irish Fiction Colm Tóibín said, “I am honoured to be appointed Laureate. I am proud to follow Anne Enright and Sebastian Barry in establishing a public role for a writer of fiction in Ireland. I will do what I can to work with a community of readers so that fiction continues to enrich our lives, allow us to see the world more clearly, or with a deepened sense of mystery.  I will also work with fellow writers and aspiring writers to enhance the role novels and stories play in Irish life.”


Following today’s announcement, Colm Tóibín will begin his public programme.


In partnership with Libraries Ireland, the Laureate for Irish Fiction with present The Art of Reading, a monthly book club for library book clubs across the country and offered as an online event for readers everywhere on the last Thursday of every month. 


The Art of Reading will be hosted by Colm Tóibín. Over the course of the year, the Laureate will discuss a selection of titles by Irish writers, highlighting outstanding Irish writing and celebrating the reader and book clubs.  In some cases, the Laureate will be joined by the featured writer in conversation about their book. The first online book club event will be available for streaming on Thursday 24 February.  In this event Colm will be in conversation with Claire Keegan about her recent book Small Things Like These.


Readers, book lovers and book clubs everywhere are invited to join in the Art of Reading with the Laureate, to read these outstanding books and tune in every month for the discussion.


Sign up for The Art of Reading Book Club monthly events via Facebook at and follow @LaureateFiction on Twitter #TheArtofReading and Instagram laureateirishfiction.


The Laureate’s annual lecture will be delivered in the autumn, in Galway.


More details about these and other Laureate events and activities can be found on the Arts Council’s website,


Colm Tóibín Biography

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy Co. Wexford in 1955 and educated at University College Dublin. He lived in Catalonia for several years before he returned to Dublin to work as a journalist, becoming Features Editor of ‘In Dublin’ in 1981 and editor of ‘Magill’ in 1982. In 1987, he received a bursary from the Arts Council to support his early writing. His three travel books are: ‘Bad Blood: A Walk along the Irish Border’ (1987); ‘Homage to Barcelona’ (1990); and ‘The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe’ (1984). His ten novels include ‘The Master’ (2004), winner of the Dublin IMPAC Prize and the LA Times Novel of the Year; ‘Brooklyn’ (2009), winner of the Costa Novel of the Year; and ‘Nora Webster’ (2014), winner of the Hawthornden Prize. His two collections of stories are ‘Mothers and Sons’ (2006), winner of the Edge Hill Prize, and ‘The Empty Family’ (2010), shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award. His plays include ‘The Testament of Mary’ (2011), nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. In 1993, he was elected to Aosdána and in 2020 became a vice-president of the Royal Society of Literature. He is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. In 1995, he received the E.M. Forster Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2017 he won the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Award from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. In 2021 was awarded the David Cohen Prize. He has taught at Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, Princeton University, the University of Manchester and Columbia University. He is Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.

SEODA – Irish Short Stories in Translation



SEODA – Five jewels of Irish literature travel through translation to UNESCO Cities of Literature in Korea, Portugal, Canada and Iceland.

To mark 25 years promoting Irish literature abroad, Literature Ireland has joined forces with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature for a very special new year’s collaboration with five UNESCO Cities of literature, Bucheon, Wonju, Óbidos, Québec and Reykjavik. Five contemporary Irish short stories are being translated into Korean, Portuguese, French and Icelandic by translators Jiyang Noh, Jeehyun Shin, Vasco Gato, Pascal Raud and Ingunn Snædal. The collaboration is named Seoda, after the word for ‘jewels’ in Irish and is supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Ireland.

Speaking about the project, the Director of Literature Ireland, Sinéad Mac Aodha said, “These stories by Claire Keegan, Danielle McLaughlin, Mary Costello, Kevin Barry and Wendy Erskine represent some of the finest short story writing in Ireland today. The enthusiastic responses to the stories by the literary translators in the five UNESCO Cities of Literature are testimony to the strength of the contemporary Irish short story. We are confident that readers in those cities will respond in the same way.

We are grateful to Dublin UNESCO City of Literature for helping to mark our anniversary in such a fitting fashion, celebrating the translation and promotional work that we do on behalf of Irish literature across the world.”

Speaking on the launch of the project, Anne-Marie Kelly, newly appointed Director of Dublin UNESCO City of Literature said, “The Dublin UNESCO City of Literature designation acknowledges Dublin’s rich literary heritage and its dynamic contemporary literary output. This collaboration with Dublin-based with our sister cities around the word. It will help showcase just a small sample of the great literature Irish writers have to offer today. The project’s name, Seoda, ‘jewels’ in Irish, perfectly captures the unique and priceless nature of these stories which we are delighted to present to our sister cities.”

The stories, selected by Sinéad Mac Aodha of Literature Ireland, include a story which has yet to be published in English, Cell by Wendy Erskine (forthcoming in Dance Move, Stinging Fly Press, 2022) which is being translated into Icelandic, and Sisters by Claire Keegan, first published in her collection Antarctica in 2016, will be translated into Korean in the city of Bucheon. Kevin Barry’s powerful The Coast of Leitrim is being translated into French for the city of Québec.  Mary Costello’s intriguing Sleeping with a Stranger will be available to read in Portuguese. The quintet of translations is book-ended by another translation into Korean, Daniele McLaughlin’s award-wining Dinosaurs on Other Planets.

The Seoda short stories will be available to read on both the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Literature Ireland websites, as well as on the respective Cities of Literature websites in the Spring of 2022.


Seoda Authors and Translators

Claire Keegan, Sisters (translated into Korean by Jiyang Noh, Bucheon)

Claire Keegan is a versatile writer of contemporary fiction. Her first collection of short stories, Antarctica, won the Rooney Prize for Literature in 2000. Her second collection, Walk the Blue Fields, and her short novel Foster were both published to enormous critical acclaim. Claire’s long-awaited latest work is Small Things Like These (2020). She lives in County Wexford, Ireland.


Jiyang Noh

Jiyang Noh studied English Literature at University, and worked as a script writer for radio before becoming an English to Korean translator. Since 2005, she has translated more than 100 books of various genres, including fiction, essay, and children’s books. With her passion for writing, she has also published two essays. Jiyang Noh has translated many acclaimed works into Korean, including books by Roxane Gay and Nicola Yoon.


Mary Costello, Sleeping with a Stranger (translated into Portuguese by Vasco Gato, Óbidos)

Mary Costello is from Galway, Ireland. Her short story collection, The China Factory (2012), was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award and shortlisted for an Irish Book Award. Her first novel, Academy Street (2014), won the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year Award and was named overall Irish Book of the Year in 2014. Her second novel, The River Capture, was published in October 2019.


Vasco Gato

Vasco Gato was born in Lisbon, Portugal, where he currently lives and works as a translator. Since 2000, Vasco has published fifteen books of poetry, a play and two anthologies of poems he selected and translated into Portuguese. He has also translated several novels from English, Spanish and Italian, by authors such as Anthony Burguess, Charles Bukowski, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Iris Murdoch, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Manuel Vilas, Mario Vargas Llosa, Domenico Starnone, Italo Svevo and Roberto Saviano.


Kevin Barry, The Coast of Leitrim (translated into French by Pascal Raud, Quebec)

Kevin Barry lives in Sligo, Ireland. He is the author of three novels and three collections of short stories. His latest novel, Night Boat to Tangier, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2019 and named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times. His awards include the Goldsmiths Prize and the Dublin International Literary Award. He also works as a playwright and screenwriter. He is co-editor of the annual arts and culture publication Winter Papers.


Pascal Raud

Born in France, Pascal Raud moved to Quebec in 2001. He is one of the editors of the Quebec magazine Solaris, the oldest francophone science fiction magazine still in operation. As a writer, he focuses on fantasy and science fiction. Since 2008, he has published around fifteen short stories, and his short story La Mémoire du papillon won the 2021 Aurora-Boréal Award. As a translator, he has published nine novels and numerous short stories. As a queer and immigrant man, he is particularly interested in literature written by those labelled as minorities.


Wendy Erskine, Cell (translated into Icelandic by Ingunn Snædal, Reykjavik)

Wendy Erskine lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her work has been published in The Stinging Fly, and she also features in Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber and Faber), and Winter Papers. Her debut collection of short stories, Sweet Home, was Book of the Year in the Guardian, The White Review, Observer, and New Statesman. Her second collection of stories, Dance Move, will be released in February 2022.


Ingunn Snædal

Ingunn Snædal studied Irish at NUIG in Ireland and Icelandic studies in Iceland. She has lived all over the world, and has worked in jobs from a cook on a road-construction team to a seasonal worker in herring fishing. Ingunn has published six poetry books. The first, Guðlausir menn – hugleiðingar um jökulvatn og ást (Godless People – Thoughts on Glacial Water and Love) won Reykjavík City’s poetry award in 2006. Her third book, Komin til að vera, nóttin (Here to Stay, the Night) received the Icelandic Women´s Literary Prize in 2010. Ingunn’s poems have been widely published and translated into English, Swedish, Turkish and German. Ingunn has translated around 100 books and plays from English, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian.


Danielle McLaughlin, Dinosaurs on Other Planets (translated into Korean by Jeehyun Shin, Wonju)

Danielle McLaughlin’s debut novel, The Art of Falling, was published in January 2021.

Her first collection of short stories, Dinosaurs On Other Planets, was published in 2015 to great critical acclaim, with the title story also appearing in The New Yorker. In 2019, she won the Audible Short Story Award and the Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction. Danielle lives in Cork, Ireland.


Jeehyun Shin

Jeehyun Shin is a freelance magazine editor, an English-Korean translator and a lecturer of undergraduate and graduate courses at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS). She has a BA in English Literature at Yonsei University and an MA in Consecutive Interpretation and Translation at the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation of HUFS. She has translated eight books in different genres including both fiction and non-fiction. She lives in Seoul, South Korea with Soy the 10-year-old Maltese.


Literature Ireland is the national agency in Ireland for the promotion of Irish literature abroad. We work to build an international awareness and appreciation of contemporary Irish literature, primarily in translation.

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature is the fourth UNESCO City of Literature, one of 42 UNESCO Cities of Literature worldwide.



International Writer‘s Residence Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature

International Writer‘s Residence Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature is offering a free one month residency for a writer from another UNESCO City of Literature in September 2022.

The offer is open to published fiction writers from, or affiliated with, any of the other 41 UNESCO Cities of Literature, writing in any genre.

The residency will be a one month stay for one month from September 1 – 30, 2022.

Writers from or with strong ties to any of the 41 other UNESCO Cities of Literature can apply. The applicant must have published at least one work of fiction (poetry, prose, play or screenwriting). Writers of all ages, genders, nationalities and languages can apply as long as the affiliation with a UNESCO City of Literature is strong.


Barcelona City of Literature – Grants for Writers

Barecelona UNESCO City of Literature has announced grants for writers and playwrights.

Started in 2017, the Montserrat Roig writing grants are for writers in any genre (narrative, poetry, non fiction) and in any language  (catalan, spanish, english, french…) which have published at least 1 book (or premiered 1 play, in the case of the playwrights). Form application 2022 until the 27th of January.

Started in 2019, the Carme Montoriol grants, are for playwrights in any language (catalan, spanish, english, french…) who have had at least 1 play premiered in a theatre. Form application 2022 ended.

Both grants offer the possibility to work during 2 months in a private space of a singular cultural equipment in the city and an amount of 3.000€.

Every year, 20 Montserrat Roig grants and 4 Carme Montoriol grants are awarded, divided into 2 shifts of 12 grants each. 


Bronnadh Cónaitheachtaí ar bheirt Scríbhneoirí Gaeilge

Déanann Cathair Litríochta UNESCO Bhaile Átha Cliath comhghairdeas leis na húdair, Réaltán Ní Leannáin agus Meadhbh Ní Eadhra ar bronnadh ár gcéad Chónaitheacht Gaeilge orthu.

Glacann an pobal scríbhneoireachta leis gurb é an dúshlán amháin atá le sárú ag scríbhneoirí dóthain ama a bheith acu chun díriú go hiomlán ar  an scríbhneoireacht. Tá súil ag DUCOL go gcuideoidh na cónaitheachtaí seo leis an mbeirt údar a bhuaigh duaiseanna a gcuid ama a chaitheamh ar shaothar atá tosaithe acu cheana féin a fhorbairt.

Le linn na cónaitheachta seo, is é aidhm an údair Réaltán Ní Leannáin a bheith ag obair ar scéalta osnádúrtha a bhaineann le carachtar atá lonnaithe i mBaile Átha Cliath agus atá ar intinn aici cheana féin. I gcodarsnacht leis sin, tá a ceantar dúchais roghnaigh ag Meadhbh Ní Eadhra, Conamara, mar shuíomh dá húrscéal nua ina ndírítear ar dhéagóirí agus ar an tionchar atá ag na meáin shóisialta agus ceol ar a saol.


Is scríbhneoir bisiúil í Réaltán Ní Leannáin, agus tá ceithre leabhar dá cuid i gcló.  Is é Bláth na dTulach an cúigiú leabhar dá cuid atá foilsithe, díolaim gearrscéalta comhaimseartha Gaeilge, agus ba í Réaltán féin a chuir an díolaim in eagar,. Tá dráma raidió agus ábhar eile curtha i gcrích aici do Raidió na Life i mBaile Átha Cliath agus bíonn sí le cluinstin go minic ar Raidió na Gaeltachta agus Raidió Fáilte.   Bhí a húrscéal Cití na gCártaí  ainmnithe ar an ghearrliosta do Leabhar na Bliana An Post in 2019 agus i mbliana (2021) bhí a dara cnuasach gearrscéalta, Inní ainmnithe ar an ngearrliosta


Is údar óg í Meadhbh Ní Eadhra ón Spidéal i gConamara. Tá cáil bainte amach aici as a stíl nuálach agus nádúrtha scríbhneoireachta. D’fhoilsigh sí a céad leabhar nuair a bhí sí 15 bliana d’aois agus tá trí úrscéal do dhaoine óga scríofa aici, Rua, Fáinne Fí FíFí agus Faye. Tá go leor gradam litríochta mór le rá buaite ag Meadhbh as a prós agus filíocht, lena n-áirítear duaiseanna liteartha an Oireachtais. Foilsíodh gearrscéalta dá cuid in irisí liteartha ar nós Comhar, Feasta, agus The Lonely Crowd, agus ba í a bhuaigh an International Moth      Short Story Prize in 2013. Bhronn Ealaín na Gaeltachta agus Éire Ildánach sparánacht ealaíon ar Mheadhbh in 2018 agus 2020.

Táimid ag tnúth leis na scéalta a scríobhann an bheirt údar a léamh.   

Tá an Roinn Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus na Meán ag tacú leis na Cónaitheachtaí Gaeilge seo.


Irish Language Writer Residencies

Dublin UNESCO city of Literature congratulate authors, Réaltán Ní Leannáin and Meadhbh Ní Eadhra who were awarded our first Irish Language Residencies.

It’s a well-known fact amongst the writing community, that the one challenge writers have is the lack of unhindered time they have to solely concentrate on the task of writing. DUCOL hope that providing these residencies will help both of these prize-winning authors to focus their time on developing work they have already started.

During this residency, author Réaltán Ní Leannáin’s aim is to work on supernatural tales of a Dublin based character she has already in mind.  In contrast, Meadhbh Ní Eadhra has selected her native Connemara as the setting for her new novel featuring teenagers and the influences of social media and music in their lives.

We look forward to seeing how both authors’ stories unfold.

Réaltán Ní Leannáin is a prolific writer, with four of her own books in print. Bláth na dTulach is her fifth outstanding book, this time as editor of an anthology of contemporary Irish language short stories. She has completed a radio play and other material for Raidió na Life in Dublin and is a regular on Raidió na Gaeltachta and Raidió Fáilte. She was shortlisted for An Post Book of the Year in 2019 with her novel Citi na gCártaí and again this year (2021) with her second collection of short stories, Inní


Meadhbh Ní Eadhra is a young author from Spidéal, Connemara. She is renowned for her innovative and natural style of writing. She published her first book at the age of 15 and is the author of three novels for young people, Rua, Fáinne Fí FíFí and Faye. Meadhbh has won many prestigious literary awards for her prose and poetry, including Oireachtas literary prizes. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines such as Comhar, Feasta, and The Lonely Crowd, and she won the International Moth Short Story Prize in 2013. Meadhbh was awarded an arts bursary from Ealaín na Gaeltachta and Éire Ildánach in 2018 and 2020.


Supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Small Grants Scheme 2022




Dublin UNESCO City of Literature supported by Dublin City Council provides small grants up to €5,000 to individuals and organisations which contribute to the promotion of literature in the City.

We are particularly interested in projects that:

  • display innovation and diversity, in line with the objectives of Dublin UNESCO City of Literature’s strategy over the 2020 – 2022 period.
  • prioritise free and accessible events for the public.

Funding is available for activities/ projects that take place between 1st January – 31st December 2022.

We are committed to allocating our limited resources across as many organisations as possible and this may mean that recipients who have been successful in receiving funding in the past may not necessarily be allocated a grant again in 2022. It may however be possible for a partial grant to be given so it is useful for us if you break down your submission into constituent parts to enable us to identify where we may be able to assist in some way.


Grant Application Form

City of Books Podcast featuring JR Thorp

“I had to create her out of nothing,” says author JR Thorp of her debut novel Learwife, which explores the untold story of King Lear’s wife, written out of literary history.

The idea first occurred to Australian-born, Irish-based Thorp at the age of eleven or twelve when she read Agatha Christie’s The Moving Finger. “There’s a girl in that with a complicated relationship with her parents who says as an offhand line, ‘I wonder why Goneril and Regan were like that? What it was like for them growing up?’ It’s just a thought that’s mentioned and then discarded but it stayed with me.”

It started her thinking about family dynamics, and she read and re-read Shakespeare’s tragedy to see what had created those highly-competitive characters. She found only two fleeting references to Lear’s unnamed wife in the entire play.

“Something about her absence was creating this toxicity,” said Thorp. “You’re redirected away from the idea that this woman ever existed.”

She was writing the novel during the 2016 US presidential election, and was struck by “the brutality” of how Hillary Clinton was treated for her “temerity” in wanting to be president, Thorp tells the latest City of Books podcast, presented by Martina Devlin.

“There is still this violent suspicion of women and power and what they would do if they had power and what that looks like: the political manoeuvrings and the alliances and the real intelligence that can happen,” she said.

“I think it also really important for us to hold space for women who have many, many layers of negativity and positivity and who draw us in, not necessarily by being heroines, but by being incredibly indelible – even if we don’t support the choices that they make all the time.”

For more on Learwife


Writer in the Park – Ljubljana UNESCO City of Literature International Literary Residency

Writer in the Park,
Ljubljana UNESCO City of Literature International Literary Residency

Ljubljana, a UNESCO City of Literature since 2015, offers two one-month residencies for writers at the Švicarija/Swisshouse Creative Centre, which is part of the International Centre of Graphic Arts.

May and November 2022 (one month per residency/applicant).

The residency is aimed at foreign published writers with a palpable, factual relation with any of the other UNESCO Cities of Literature that has to be apparent and described as part of the application. This means the applicant was or has been living in one of the other 41 cities of literature or is related to a city of literature through work. The full list of the cities of literature can be found here:
The applicant must have published at least one book of fiction (be it prose, poetry or drama) in their language. There are no restrictions regarding age, race, gender or nationality. Though writers of all genres are currently welcome to apply, a specific focus might be chosen for calls in the following years.

Each resident will get a sum amount of the grant and travel expenses of €1000 gross in total (details regarding potential wire-transfer charges and other expenses can be found in the contract). Each resident will stay in their own, separate and fully equipped apartment with a kitchenette at Švicarija/Swisshouse, along with other artists-residents, artists, and exhibitions.
Local public transportation costs will be covered. Access to the Internet will be provided. Through targeted activities and networking possibilities, suited to each resident’s profile, the organisers will help them get to know the vibrant art and literary scene in Ljubljana. Opportunities for public presentation of the residents’ work will be made possible, as well as meetings with translators, if necessary and/or applicable. During the resident’s stay, some group activities, such as meetings with the organizer, publishers etc., may be scheduled. Residents are required to take care of medical insurance and are responsible for their meals and household. Additional guests cannot be hosted.

The resident is encouraged to show an interest, and partake, in local literary events and other related activities—which will be coordinated according to other local events as well as the needs and interests of the given resident—however, at least one public performance (e.g., a reading of the piece, completed at the residency) is expected. Unless agreed otherwise, there are no additional honoraria for these activities.

Švicarija/Swisshouse Creative Centre is a cultural, educational and social hub located in the heart of Ljubljana’s central park—situated just a few steps from the city centre—which offers public programmes, studio facilities for local artists, and residencies for international artists and experts. Given the current situation, the house may be more empty than usual, which could make the place a bit more suitable for people that seek quiet time for writing.
Švicarija is part of MGLC – International Centre of Graphic Arts, a specialised museum, producer of printed and contemporary art, and provider of artist residencies, based on the heritage of the 20th century art of printing and Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, world’s oldest printmaking biennale which has been running uninterrupted since 1955.

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, was a World Book Capital in 2010. After being awarded a UNESCO City of Literature in 2015, it joined a world-wide network of cities (42 in total), and committed to actively promote literature, reading culture, and engage in activities that would strengthen the collaboration in the field of writing and publishing. Ljubljana bursts with a vibrant art scene and offers an array of diverse literary events from alternative performances to big international festivals. The residency, established in 2018, offers peace and quiet for uninterrupted writing, yet it also offers the possibility to actively engage in the city’s literary life.

The Form should include the following information:
– Name
– Address
– Nationality
– Date of birth
– Originating UNESCO City of Literature
– Relation to originating UNESCO City of Literature
– Books published (most recent; at least one; if translated, list languages)
– Current interests and projects (up to 150 words)
– What will you most likely focus on during the residency: manuscript/project/networking/other
– Preferred month (May/November/no preference)

Contact via this email or call +386 41 541 306 in case of any questions.
A draft of the contract is available upon request.

31 January 2022
Results will be announced by the end of February 2022.

Writer in the Park, Ljubljana UNESCO City of Literature International Literary Residency is supported by the Municipality of Ljubljana, Department for Culture, and Švicarija/Swisshouse Creative Centre.

Dublin Art Book Fair 2021: Manual Guest Curator Dr Lisa Godson


Temple Bar Gallery + Studios presents Dublin Art Book Fair 2021: Manual (DABF21), the eleventh edition of Ireland’s only art book fair, sponsored by Henry J Lyons. Taking place both online and on-site, the gallery in the heart of Dublin’s Cultural Quarter transforms into a centre for art and artist books.

Dublin Art Book Fair champions artists and creative, small and independent publishers, Irish and international, with books on art, design, visual culture, philosophy, architecture, select fiction and poetry. With an unprecedented quality of submissions for the Artist Book Section received this year, you can look forward to a particularly strong representation of books made by artists.

Guest curated by cultural historian Dr Lisa Godson, her theme, Manual, considers forms of publication, printed matter and books made to provide guidance, instruction and understanding. Programme Leader of the MA Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Godson is interested in themes of Manual and its usefulness to contemporary creative practice and methodology. Featuring talks, tours, workshops and book launches, Godson considers visual culture of the everyday and how information is materialised. Her programme brings a focus to stories of Manual employed as a tool around social change and justice, as well as reflecting on the materiality of the book, the shape of words and the habit of reading.

Highlights from this year’s DABF events programme include Dr Lisa Godson’s in-person keynote at the DABF launch exploring how everyday material cultures compel us to navigate the world in particular ways and how manuals – taken here to mean particular forms of instruction – have materialised particular ways of knowing how, as well as knowing that. Johanna Drucker’s live online talk on the physical aspects of the written world and habits of reading. Community activist Dr Michael Barron’s live online talk making the case that manualising social change processes is urgent, increases transparency and trust, and is fundamental in supporting democracy in uncertain times. The in-person publication launch of You Have Not Yet Been Defeated. Selected Works 2011-2021 by Alaa Abdelfattah, one of Egypt’s longest imprisoned political activists, including recorded and live readings by writers Naomi Klein and Ahdaf Soueif, poet Seán Hewitt and sociologist-activist Ronit Lentin as well as a discussion between Annie Fletcher, director of IMMA, and Hussein Omar, historian of political ideas. An array of workshops led by: TBG+S studio artists, Eleanor McCaugheyRichard ProffittAnn Maria Healy and Eimear Walshe; TBG+S Commissioned Writer Nicole Flattery; and architect James Horan joined by Miriam Fitzpatrick and Banbha McCann from Henry J Lyons. A walking tour with Typography Ireland and screening of How to make a book with Steidl at the Irish Architecture Foundation brings Dublin Art Book Fair into connection with the City. Book launches of: Orla Whelan’s Matter Mammal Oil SoarA Manual for Rematerialisation with Nathan O’Donnell, Sarah Pierce, Lisa Godson and participants in the NCAD/IMMA Creative Futures Academy’s module Time-Travel: Rematerialising the Past in Place; ‘States of Entanglement: Data In the Irish Landscape’ authored and edited by ANNEX, the curators of Entanglement, the Irish Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale 2021; and ‘Shavasana – a not so final resting pose’ by Jan Verwoert.

DABF is celebrated for how it embraces art practice publishing, artist-run culture, and participatory events with specialist themes at the intersection of art, design and contemporary culture. Within a friendly and engaging atmosphere of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, you can find such a range of exceptional and hard to find books to delight in. Purchase an Artist Book, as a collector item, or join in the many varied and stimulating events from the political to the poetic by participating artists, activists, writers, thinkers and others at this year’s DABF.

Dr Lisa Godson is Dublin Art Book Fair Guest Curator 2021. A cultural historian, Godson is Programme Leader of the MA Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design. Her theme for DABF, Manual, draws attention to the dual nature of books as material objects with a stable physicality and as the repositories of content that can be experienced and understood in multiple registers. With an aligned programme of talks, tours, workshops and launches, Godson considers visual culture of the everyday, how information is materialised and how artists use typography.

Dublin Art Book Fair 2021 is sponsored by Henry J Lyons and supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.


New City of Books Podcast Featuring Carlo Gébler


Why do the Greek classics continue to fascinate us? Writer Carlo Gébler says it’s because we live in a world “in churn” – people have lost trust in institutions and governments.

Consequently, many fiction writers, from Colm Tóibín to Pat Barker to Catherine Dunne, have revisited the Greek myths for the certainty they offer – merciless though it is.

And Carlo is no exception. His latest novel I Antigone is a retelling of the Sophocles tragedy. Set in the seventh century BC, it speaks in the voice of Antigone, who is both daughter and sister to King Oedipus – telling her father’s biography to set the record straight.

Famously, Oedipus killed his father and married his mother, and Carlo sets out to humanise the myth, taking the starting point that Oedipus is unable to escape his fate.

In the latest City of Books podcast for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, he tells host Martina Devlin that he chose Antigone as his narrator because she has “skin in the game”.

“The tabloid version is her father is bad, but she’s giving something more nuanced. She is absolutely adamant that she’s going to say yes but it’s more complicated than that.”

He says the story remains compelling thousands of years later because it is a family tragedy.

Carlo has previous experience of adapting classics for a modern audience, including a retelling of Aesop’s Fables and Boccaccio’s The Decameron.

More here on I, Antigone by Carlo Gébler published by New Island: