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The Art of Reading: Colm Tóibín and Nicole Flattery

Laureate for Irish Fiction Colm Tóibín in converation with writer Nicole Flattery about her debut novel ‘Nothing Special’.


This free event takes place in Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse Street, Dublin 2 on Thursday 1st June at 6.30pm and is part of the Art of Reading series curated and hosted by Colm Tóibín, Laureate for Irish Fiction 2022-2024. Over the course of 2023, the Laureate will meet a different library book club each month to discuss a work of contemporary fiction by an Irish writer, highlighting outstanding Irish writing and celebrating readers and book clubs.

This event will be recorded and available to watch online or to listen to as a podcast, so that readers, book lovers and book clubs everywhere will be able to join in the Art of Reading with the Laureate.

The Arts of Reading Book Club is an initiative of the Arts Council and the Laureate for Irish Fiction, in partnership with Libraries Ireland.

Details of previous events here:

Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery (Bloomsbury)

New York City, 1966. Seventeen-year-old Mae lives in a run-down apartment with her alcoholic mother and her mother’s sometimes-boyfriend, Mikey. She is turned off by the petty girls at her high school, and the sleazy men she typically meets. When she drops out, she is presented with a job offer that will remake her world entirely: she is hired as a typist for the artist Andy Warhol. This blistering, mordantly funny debut brilliantly interrogates the nature of friendship and independence and the construction of art and identity. Nothing Special is a whip-smart coming-of-age story that brings to life the experience of young girls in this iconic and turbulent American moment.

Nicole Flattery’s work has been published in The London Review of Books, The New York Times, The Stinging Fly, Sight and Sound, The Dublin Review, BBC Radio 4, Winter Papers and the 2019 Faber anthology of new Irish writing. Her story “Track” won the 2017 White Review Short Story Prize, and her story “Parrot” won the Irish Book Awards Story of the Year prize in 2019. Her first book, the story collection SHOW THEM A GOOD TIME, won the 2020 London Magazine Prize for Debut Fiction and the Kate O’Brien Award.

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy Co. Wexford in 1955 and educated at University College Dublin. His ten novels include The Master (2004), winner of the Dublin International Literary Award 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. He was awarded the Rathbones Folio Prize in 2022 for his most recent novel The Magician (2021) which was also shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. 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. He published a collection of poetry Vinegar Hill in 2022.

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