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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

Words Ireland – National Mentoring Programme

National Mentoring Programme 


Are you a new, emerging or recently published writer? Would you like professional help with your current work-in-progress? 

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature is supporting the Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme, which will ensure that at least one writer or poet from Dublin will benefit from a literature mentoring relationship. 

The mentoring process involves 4 x two-hour meetings between the selected ‘mentee’ and their chosen professional writer over a 6–8 month period. The mentor will read up to 10,000 words of the mentee’s prose, or a selection of poems, in advance of each meeting and share their critical feedback and advice. The work in progress of the mentee is discussed in depth.  

Applications must be made via Submittable. Selected mentees must be willing and able to meet mentors via Skype, Zoom or phone for initial meetings.  

Full application details are available here:  

Deadline is noon on 4 May 2020. 


Quotes from previous recipients: 

It has been a very positive experience for me and I am a lot more confident about my story now. 

Without it, I would have found it very difficult to return to the book, as I had spent so much time on 

it previously and I simply didn’t know what to do with it. Knowing that my mentor was expecting 

work by certain deadlines really concentrated my mind and pushed me forward. 

It’s particularly helpful to have someone engage with your work critically and interrogate not just the MS but your intentions as author. I feel I’m being forced to address issues I took for granted before, which I 

think is a good thing to do before I start the journey to publication. 

I expected to focus on the words, but virtually all of my effort has gone into structure and 

character. I have been encouraged to develop a more global perspective on the work, while also 

attending to minute details about character and narrative voice. 

The experience so far has been invaluable: having thorough, focused attention on my work has 

enhanced my knowledge, especially at this point in my writing journey. 


About Words IrelandThe National Mentoring Programme is run by Words Ireland. It is a grouping of seven national literature resource organisations aimed at supporting writers and developing new audiences for literature. These seven organisations that make up the collective include: Literature Ireland, Children’s Books Ireland, Irish Writers Centre, The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland, Munster Literature Centre, and Publishing Ireland. Its programme is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, but the board work on a voluntary basis. It is chaired by Michael McLoughlin, Chair of Penguin Random House, Ireland.  


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.




So you want to be a writer……..

We are living in strange and uncertain times, and we are all doing our best to keep ourselves, our loved ones and everyone else safe and well by staying indoors.

Maybe you have time now to try your hand at that novel or screenplay you’ve always dreamt about writing?

If so, welcome to your one-stop shop for great online writing supports including courses, magazines, books and reference tools, all FREE and all available with your Dublin City Libraries card.

Our library staff are working behind the scenes.

Here is the latest blog post full of online resources for writers…..



Dublin One City One Book – Postponed

A Message from Dublin UNESCO City of Literature:

It is with regret that we inform you of the postponement of all the Dublin One City One Book events, scheduled in April, due to the covid-19 situation.

It is hoped that the events will be rescheduled later in the year so please watch out for further updates. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to be kept informed.

In the meantime, enjoy reading “Tatty”, taking pleasure in the joy of a good book.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our City of Literature events in the not too distant future.


City of Literature Team

St Patrick’s Festival

Our Citywide Read children’s event with author Shane Hegarty on Monday 16th March will not go ahead due to the cancellation of the St Patrick’s Festival Village.
The City of Literature Spoken Word Poetry Trail will go ahead as planned on 14th March at 1pm



St. Patrick’s Festival will continue to provide a vibrant and diverse world-class celebration of our national holiday for citizens and visitors alike through our extensive Cultural Programme, more than 100 small to medium scale events including music, theatre, talks and trails, exhibitions and more, running from March 13 – 17. Information on these events is available here .


Dublin One City One Book Programme 2020

#1city1book #tatty



Dublin One City One Book 2020  launched the programme for the 2020 Dublin One City One Book Festival at the Mansion House. Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey joins a long list of illustrious titles as this year’s featured book in the Dublin One City One Book Festival.

Dublin One City One Book is a Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin City Libraries, which encourages everyone to read a book connected with the capital city during the month of April every year. Previous titles have included Bram Stoker’s DraculaStrumpet City by James Plunkett, Dubliners by James Joyce, and last year’s choice The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien.

Tatty is a devastating yet hilarious depiction of a troubled family told in the vibrant voice of the little girl lost within it. Set in Dublin during the 1960s and 1970s it follows the girl’s story over a ten year period. Published by New Island, this specially produced edition of Tatty is introduced by writer and poet Dermot Bolger.

Christine Dwyer Hickey is a Dublin-born novelist, playwright and short story writer. She has published eight novels, one collection of short stories and a full-length play. Tatty was shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year 2005, listed as one of the 50 Irish Novels of the Decade at the Irish Book Awards 2010 and was nominated for the Orange Prize (now the Women’s Fiction Prize). Her latest novel is The Narrow Land set on Cape Cod in 1950.

A full programme of events themed around Tatty, most of which are free, take place in April. The author Christine Dwyer Hickey will be taking part in discussions and interviews in venues across Dublin. Other events include film screenings, dramatised readings, family events and musical performances. 

Tatty is available to borrow from any branch of Dublin City Libraries – or indeed any public library nationally. A braille version has been produced by the National Council for the Blind.

Author Christine Dwyer Hickey said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Tatty is a novel that is connected to the city of Dublin in so many ways – it’s an honour to have it chosen as Dublin One City One Book for 2020. When I look back over the previous books on the One City One Book list, from Flann O’Brien in 2006 to Edna O’Brien last year, I feel very privileged indeed to be included and I’m really looking forward to taking part in the many events around Dublin, city and county.

Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens, added: “Tatty is a book about a Dublin childhood, but it is also utterly universal in its themes and will appeal to anyone in our city who picks it up during our festival month this April. We work hard to choose the right book every year and we’ve struck gold with this exquisite story, so expertly woven by Christine Dwyer Hickey, one of Dublin’s finest authors.”

Quote from Lord Mayor Cllr. Tom Brabazon

“We want to encourage everyone in Dublin to read this one book – in order to enjoy a communal experience as readers – an idea that is truly admirable in its simplicity. We hope the book will be read by many, thousands of times between now and the end of the year and that this will lead to plenty of conversations and much discussions among book clubs, friends, family and co-workers.”

Details of all events on

Main Event

Music and Imagination: An Evening with Christine Dwyer Hickey

Thurs 23rd April, 7.30pm Liberty Hall Theatre, Eden Quay, Dublin 1

Free. Booking:       Two tickets per booking only

Join us for an evening with Christine Dwyer Hickey, author of this year’s Dublin One City One Book. Christine is one of Ireland’s most popular writers and her novel, Tatty, teems with the raw energy of working-class Dublin life. She will be discussing the book with well-known literary critic and journalist, Niall MacMonagle. Musical interludes will be contributed by pianist Leonora Carney, trumpeter Colm Byrne and piper Donnacha Dwyer. Your host for the evening will be Mary Kennedy

“City of Books” Podcast Episode 2 with Marian Keyes

Happy Valentine’s Day to readers everywhere. As a Valentine’s present from Dublin City Libraries, we’re excited to announce that the one and only Marian Keyes has recorded an interview for our City of Books podcast, available on February 14th.

It’s wise, witty, candid and revealing. In it, Marian talks about everything from why she believes in supporting other women, to why one of the books she recommends is “a call to arms” – a reminder to women to own their sexual urges and not surrender themselves to men.



Also available on Apple Podcast and Spotify 

Marian, whose latest novel Grown Ups has been garnering enthusiastic reviews, has plenty to say on a range of subjects in this fascinating interview.

  • On period poverty: “If men got periods sanitary products would be free.”
  • On sexism: It damages everyone. “Individual men are really suffering from this very narrow, strict template that they are told to fit themselves inside… they have to present as unhurtable, unwoundable – it’s no surprise that we have such a high male rate of suicide.”
  • On eating disorders: “Probably the most painful of all the addictions because you cannot separate yourself from your drug of choice.” Food is all around and if you don’t engage with it you won’t stay alive, she adds.
  • On reading women writers: “It’s a political choice.” She says female writers need support because they do not receive the review coverage or bookshop support that men do. “Novels written by men are automatically given more weight. I just want to support women,” says Marian.
  • On direct provision: she is “deeply ashamed” of the system: “I just think it is so cruel and unnecessary.” Irish people suffered when they emigrated, she reminds us.
  • On how writing has given her a community: “By writing about disconnection I’ve connected.”

Also on City of Books, librarian Jackie Lynam offers listeners some advance pointers on the wide-ranging One City One Book programme featuring Christine Dwyer Hickey’s memorable novel Tatty. It runs throughout the month of April at venues around Dublin.

City of Books is a monthly podcast brought to you by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries in association with MOLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland.

For more information on Grown Ups by Marian Keyes, follow this link:


Junior Juries

Children’s Books Ireland have announced the Junior Juries’ scheme as part of the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards is open for sign-up! A unique programme for schools, libraries and book clubs, where participating groups choose suitable titles from the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards shortlist, which is announced on the 9th of March. Using a specially devised activity pack each group can engage with the chosen books by taking part in discussions, creative writing and visual art activities which will enhance their reading experience. The children will collectively score the books they have read determining the winner of the Junior Juries’ Award. Get free posters, bookmarks and be in with a chance to receive an author visit, free books and tickets to the shortlist announcement and award-giving ceremony in May! All information can be found here –


“City of Books” Podcast with Martina Devlin




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. Book-lovers featured in early episodes include writer Marian Keyes on her eagerly-awaited new novel Grown Ups, artist Robert Ballagh and High Court president Judge Peter Kelly.

In the first episode, Robert Ballagh talks about why Samuel Beckett thought the artist was keeping him waiting for breakfast, how his postage stamp design infuriated Northern Irish political leader the Rev Ian Paisley, and his experience of ending up on the wrong side of Britain’s Prince Philip. He also discusses his autography 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 describes how she is drawn back again and again to Joyce’s work and why her latest novel The River Capture is inspired by him.

And in a forthcoming episode, UCD academic Professor Margaret Kelleher tells the story of a notorious nineteenth century miscarriage of justice, in which men who spoke only Irish were condemned to death after a trial conducted in English. Her book exploring the subject is The Maamtrasna Murders and she’s interviewed in the historic setting of Dublin’s Green Street Courthouse where the men were tried.

Be sure to subscribe to City of Books now. It’s available on the usual platforms including Apple and Spotify.