Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Thanks to my fellow blogger Total Feckin' Eejit for sending me Frothy Tales by Costa Coffee Writer-in-Residence Davey Spens. We don't have Costa in this neck of the woods but I've always admired their support of literature.

Lucky Davey decided in November 2007 (!) to leave his job and write a novel. Somehow he landed the job of first ever Writer-in-Residence at Costa and, as part of that, he wrote his Frothy Tales, most of which are amusing flashes based on his observance of coffee drinkers. They are light, fluffy and bite-sized, but the book only costs €1.50, and the proceeds go to improve the lot of coffee growers.

In other Costa-related news, Sebastian Barry has won the overall Costa Award - Costa Book of the Year - for The Secret Scripture. Yay! Well done, man. But it was irritating to hear Arts Minister Martin Cullen saying: “The award is due recognition for the incredible talent and creativity that has been fostered by the Irish literary community."

Yes, well, the Irish literary community has gained its successes largely without the support of the State, Minister, as you cut the funding to the only Writers' Centres in the East and the West of the country, and literature in general is the poor relation in the arts. So maybe you might reconsider those cuts in the light of our writers' international reputation and support those who are still up and coming.


By way of a postscript to what I wrote above this morning, in the Irish Times today Sarah Bannan, head of literature at the Arts Council, said the award to Barry, who has received a number of grants from the Art Council in the past, was "proof that investment in the artistic community has borne fruit". Pity then that the Arts Council doesn't do more of that investing.

Fine Gael's Olivia Mitchell hit the mark more clearly when she said Barry’s win “highlights the depth of talent in Ireland’s literary community and the continuing need to aid writers”.


thegirlwhosafraidoffoxes said...

On a totally literary-unrelated tangent, the coffee in Costa is actually quite good - better than any of the other chains in Dublin anyway. They need more branches mind. And in my local one there are sometimes lovely Italian boys working there!

Oh and the supporting literature things as well of course...

Liz said...

The Frothy Tales idea is class - love the association there.

And bravo! for Sebastian Barry... isn't that typical of politicians trying to ride on the tails of a writer's success but without lifting a finger to help out in the first place...!

And Nuala, thanks for info below on Jane Austen short stories...very inspiring! : )

OSLO said...

Here, here Nuala! How typical of a politician.
Delighted for Sebastian Barry. He seems like such a nice, unassuming guy - not that that is a reason to bestow literary awards on people, but anyway.

Davey Spens said...

I subscribe to a thing called google alerts which ping in when Frothy Tales are written about. Sadly since they are only for sale in Costa they are hard to come by overseas, so I have been sending a copy out myself. If you'd like to order one drop me a line and I can mail one over if you're happy to cover postage. Thank you for reading, Davey.

Women Rule Writer said...

FoxyGirl - We don't know what good coffee is where I live...not that I care, I don't drink it! But I'm told...

Liz - I love the idea too. There should be writers-in-residence all over the place, IMO.

Oslo - I just hate their little soundbitey gems. Yes, it's great for Sebabatian Barry but the State didn't get him there. He did that all by himself!!

Davey - welcome! And congrats on the book and the residency. I hope the novel is getting there for you.
I have a copy of 'Frothy' but others may want to order, so thanks for the info.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Hey Nuala ,glad da buke arrived.I note yer man Davo never left a mention on mi blog despite his google ping-pong bat.Proberblee not enough kudos or perhaps tawwt me blug were too korse und lo-brow, Don't know where he got that fukin idea from ;)
Congrats to Sebo Barry ,I have only read 'A long ,long way' by him but realy liked it.Got some of his poetry too somewhere in an old bloodaxe anthology,called 'The new poetry' published in '93 I got it 2nd hand.It also features Eavan Boland, Paul Durcan,Selima Hill,Bernard O'Donoghue,Liz Lochead, Ciaran Carson,Georgr Szirtes,Harry Clifton,Nuala Ni Dhomnaill, Linton Kwesi Johnson,Carol Ann Duffy, Paula Meehan and Ian Duhig among many others.

Ps. Never trust a hippy - or a politician.