NOVELIST and award-winning author Joseph O’Connor, who holds the inaugural Frank McCourt Chair of Creative Writing at UL, is one of six authors shortlisted for the Eason Novel of the Year in the Irish Book Awards which will be announced later this month.
The book has been described as hugely entertaining, very funny and very moving as well as being evocative and brialliantly conjured.
Joining Mr O’Connor’s novel, The Thrill of It All, on the shortlist are books by Colm Tóibín, John Boyne, John Kelly, David Mitchell and debut novelist Mary Costello.
Mr O’Connor’s novel is his twelfth work of fiction but he is also the author of five books of non-fiction. Previous books include Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Redemption Falls and Star of the Sea, which was an international bestseller with over one million sales and published in 38 languages. It won prizes in France, Italy and the US as well as the Hennessy / Sunday Tribune Hall of Fame Award, and the Prix Litteraire Zepter for European Novel of the Year.
Another novel Ghost Light, published in 2010, was chosen as Dublin’s One City One Book novel for 2011. Earlier this year, Mr O’Connor was appointed to the inaugural FranK McCourt Chair in Creative Writing at UL and heads up the MA programme there.
Next Thursday, November 13, he will read from The Thrill of It All as part of the “One Campus One Novel” initiative now in its second year at UL and which is also being backed by Limerick City of Culture. The reading takes place in the UL campus he will be joined by two other award-winning writers, Christine Dwyer Hickey and Colin Barrett.
Christine Dwyer Hickey is also a nominee in this year’s Irish Book Awards where her short story Absence has been nominated for The Writing.ie Short Story of the Year, along with a story, Eveline, by Limerick-based novelist Donal Ryan. Her first collection of short stories, The House on Parkgate Street and Other Dublin Stories was published last year and she is the author of several novels. She is a previous winner of the Irish Novel of the Year (2012) for her novel The Cold Eye of Heaven which has now been optioned by Newgrange Films. Other books include Tatty, selected as one of 50 Irish Books of the Decade and a trilogy, The Dancer, The Gambler and The Gatemaker.
Christine will also give a writing workshop at the Limerick Writers Centre on November 15th.
Colin Barrett, the third in this line-up of writers, is, at 32, one of the new generation of Irish writers. His short-story collection Young Skins won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, one of the English-language’s most prestigious and valuable awards for a short story collection. Chris Power, writing in the The Guardian has called his collection “extraordinary” and compared him to James Joyce while one of the Frank O’Connor Award judges, Alison MacLeod said “his stories are a thump to the heart, a mainline surge to the core.”
“His vision is sharp, his wit is sly, and the stories in this collection come alive with that ineffable thing – soul,” she said. “How dare a debut writer be this good?”
Next Thursday’s reading is open to members of the public and is free. It will take place in the Engineering Research Building at UL at 5.30pm. All are welcome. Colin Barrett will also read next Tuesday, November 11 at 7pm in the Newcastle West Bookshop.