Monday, 20 October 2014

Laureate for Irish Fiction nomination

I am delighted to have been nominated for The Laureate for Irish Fiction. Big thanks to whoever nominated me! The website for the Laureate, which will be awarded in January 2015, reads:

"The Laureate for Irish Fiction will be awarded by the Arts Council to an Irish writer of national and international distinction. The honour will be used to promote Irish literature nationally and internationally and to encourage the public to engage with high quality Irish fiction. The Laureate will have a three-year term. Over the period, he or she will teach creative writing to students at University College Dublin and New York University, will spend time developing his or her own work, and will participate in a number of major, public events and promotions. The Laureate will receive a total of €150,000 over the three years."

Bring it on, says I. I am in New York as I write and the idea of having a long spell here, to teach writing, is swoon-worthy.

Here is the list of 34 nominees:
Anne EnrightAnne HavertyBelinda McKeon 
Bernard MacLaverty Catherine Dunne Christine Dwyer Hickey 
Claire Keegan Colum McCann Dermot Bolger 
Donal Ryan Edna O'BrienEimear McBride
Emma DonoghueEoin McNamee Evelyn Conlon 
Hugo HamiltonJaki McCarrick Jennifer Johnston
John BanvilleJohn Boyne John MacKenna 
Joseph O'ConnorLiam Mac Cóil Michael Coady
Niall Williams Nuala Ní Chonchuir Patrick McCabe 
Paul Murray Peter CunninghamRé O Laighleis
Roddy Doyle Sebastian BarryTom Kilroy 
William Trevor 
More here.

Friday, 17 October 2014


I'm looking forward to seeing Joely Richardson as Emily Dickinson in an off-Broadway production of The Belle of Amherst next week. Lovely Joely, lovely Emily.

This picture is by Carol Rosegg for the Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


I'm reading from my latest novel The Closet of Savage Mementos this Saturday at 2.30pm, at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght, as part of the Red Line Book Festival. I'm reading with Dónal Ryan, Dermot Bolger and John Sheahan. Blessed amongst men.

The festival is on all this week and my friend Shauna Gilligan is giving a free writing workshop on Saturday in Lucan Library, 10am to 1pm, Bookings: 01 621 6422.

After Red Line I am off to New York to meet my agent and my new editor at Penguin USA for lunch, then a meet-n-greet at the Penguin office. And after that I head to New Mexico where I am giving a talk on historical fiction, and my first reading from Miss Emily, at the Uni. of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Excited doesn't even come close!!

Friday, 10 October 2014


John Lavin of the Wales Arts Review was in Cork in September at the Cork International Short Story Festival. As an afterword to the festival he interviewed some of the writers who took part for the current issue: Colin Barrett, Paul McVeigh, Valerie Sirr, Matt Rader, Órfhlaith Foyle and myself. More here. John also wrote about his own impressions of the festival, including the Richard Fod brouhaha, and you can read them here.

And, Wexfordians! I'll be reading in the library this Saturday, 3pm, from my latest novel. Free, but book: 053 919 6759. They made a sticky-together image:

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Here are sketches from Alex Fage, of some of the writers who took part in the Cork International Short Story Festival this year. Check out his blog here. Alison MacLeod is top left. That's Sara Baume with the blunt fringe, middle far-right. (Sara is interviewed on the Dublin Book Festival site ahead of her appearance in November.) I'm top right, looking (welcomingly) slim.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


The launch and opening of Lines of Vision at the National Gallery of Ireland went great last night - there were lots and lots of people there, and the prosecco and wine were flowing. It was all very civilised and glamorous. I love posh events, I must say. There was a private reception for the writers, before the opening, in 5 Leinster Street, a beautiful section of the gallery that overlooks the inner atrium. It was great to meet and chat with writers I know like Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Dónal Ryan and Eoin MacNamee. Also there were literary stars (and brilliant people) Jennifer Johnston, Evelyn Conlon, Enda Wyley, Peter Sirr, Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan, among many others.

I was delighted to meet up again with some of my fellow Italo-Irish Literature Exchange crew, namely Seán Hardie, Bill Wall and his wife Liz. Seán's wife is the poet Kerry Hardie and she has a beautiful war poem in the book inspired by Pierre Bonnard's Le Déjeuner, in which Marthe de Méligny speaks. (Marthe was Bonnard's wife.) Many of the images are in copyright so I can't reproduce them here but you can look at the Bonnard here and, my choice, Jack B. Yeats's Men of Destiny here.
John Lavery - Return from Market 
It was also lovely to reconnect with writer Noëlle Harrison who now lives in Norway. Noëlle took John Lavery's Return from Market as her inspiration, to write a sensual story about regret and self realisation.

William (Bill) Wall used Seán Keating's famous An Allegory as a stepping off point for an intriguing political prose poem.

Curator/editor Janet McLean, President Higgins, Sabina Higgins and gallery Director, Seán Rainbird
President Michael D. Higgins opened the exhibition (with a suitably mellifluous speech about the importance of cruthaíocht/creativity in our lives). We were allowed into the exhibition before the President joined us with his wife Sabina. It was fantastic to see the paintings from the book all exhibited together - very moving somehow.

My painting (my painting!) is the first one you see as you come in the door, which is sort of nice. We weren't allowed photograph it, but here's the nameplate:

The exhibition of Lines of Vision runs until April 2015. There are dozens of events on around the exhibition and book: readings, talks, plays. I am taking part in a study morning on Jack B. Yeats on the 15th November and I will also be leading a writing workshop next March for over 55s. 

And, of course, the gorgeous book, produced by Thames and Hudson, is available nationwide and online. It costs €25 and would make a fab gift. If you can't afford the book, do go to the exhibition - it's beautiful and it's free!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Lines of Vision: Irish Writers on Art will be launched by President Higgins tonight at 6pm at the National Art Gallery. The book contains stories, poems and articles inspired by artworks from the gallery and it celebrates the National Gallery of Ireland's 150th anniversary. I have a wee story in it based on a Jack B. Yeats painting. I'm looking forward to the private reception for the writers before the main event at 6pm. The book is accompanied by an exhibition which opens to the public on Wednesday.

There are lots of literary events taking place around the book/exhib, including a study morning on Jack B. Yeats that I am doing on the 15th November with Roddy Doyle, Moya Cannon and Dermot Bolger. The morning can be booked here.

The Sunday Times had a review of the book this past weekend by Cristín Leach Hughes. She said of my story: 'Nuala Ní Chonchúir spins a quick, gripping yarn about gunrunning from Jack B. Yeats's 'Men of Destiny'.' Here's a photo of the review, which will be readable if you click on it and zoom in: