Sally Hayden on Baillie Gifford longlist; Granard festival; Murder One – The Irish Times

In the Irish Times this Saturday, Alice Ryan, daughter of former Irish Times literary editor Caroline Walsh, talks to Alex Clark about her debut novel; Dara McAnulty discusses his new children’s nature book with Patrick Freyne; Deirdre Falvey meets the crew behind the stage adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s The Blackwater Lightship; UCC’s Jay Roszman, author of Outrage in the Age of Reform, writes about Ireland’s long influence on British politics; and there’s a Q&A with popular historian Ben Macintyre, author of a groundbreaking new book on Colditz.

Reviews include Joseph O’Connor on Crazy Dreams by Paul Brady; Una Mullally on the way to annulment; NJ McGarrigle on The Making of the Modern Middle East by Jeremy Bowen; Declan O’Driscoll on Best New Translations; Tom Clonan at the command of Lawrence Freedman; Ronan McGreevy on the Irish Civil War in colour; John O’Donnell on Lessons from the Bench by Gillian Hussey; Nicholas Canny on The Devil Over the Sea by Sarah Covington; Helen Cullen on Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer; Eilis Ni Dhuibhne on A Little Unsteadily Into the Light edited by Jan Carson and Jane Lugea; and Sarah Gilmartin on Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety.

This Saturday’s Irish Times special is The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. You can buy this best-selling thriller this weekend for just €4.99, a saving of €6, with your newspaper.

My Fourth Time We Drowned: Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route by Sally Hayden
has made it onto the longlist for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, which honors the best non-fiction authors. The winner will receive £50,000 and each shortlisted author will receive £1,000.

The 11 other titles on the longlist are Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire by Caroline Elkins; Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American Town by Andrea Elliott; The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World by Jonathan Freedland; Otherlands: A World in the Making by Thomas Halliday; Dinner with Joseph Johnson: Books and Friendship in a Revolutionary Age by Daisy Hay; Original Sins: A Memoir by Matt Rowland Hill; The Restless Republic: Britain Without a Crown by Anna Keay; A Happy Wife: A Country Doctor’s Story by Polly Morland; The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Jordan Stump; Super Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell; Kingdom of Characters: A Tale of Language, Obsession, and Genius in Modern China by Jing Tsu.

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Caroline Sanderson, Chair of the Jury, said: “It has been a fiendishly difficult but also very enjoyable process that my fellow judges and I have taken to arrive at the final 12 books in competition for the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize. I’m delighted with our longlist, which shows non-fiction in all its breadth, depth and scope; from outstanding reportage and gripping memoirs to illuminating history books and mind-bending popular science. And perhaps most importantly, all 12 books have been written with the reader’s experience in mind.”

The six book shortlist will be announced at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on 10 October. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Science Museum on November 17. Last year’s winner was Patrick Radden Keefe for Empire of Pain.


The Granard Booktown Festival takes place from 21st to 23rd April 2023 and will feature some of the best international, national and local writers presenting a wealth of stories from climate change to international politics to the place of history and farming in rural Ireland .

Governed by a committee of local writers, artists and academics, the festival is a fully accessible festival. It has already attracted eminent literary figures from Ireland and abroad as patrons, notably Man Booker award winner Richard Flanagan, Emmy-nominated journalist and Longford native Shaunagh Connaire, former Longford County librarian Mary Carlton Reynolds and the RTE Radio presenter and founder of Ireland’s largest book club. Rick O’Shea.

“As a child of Longford, Tasmania, where my Irish ancestors were sent as convicts during the famine, I feel a strange affinity for Longford, Ireland,” Flanagan said. “I know the affirming and sometimes transformative power of small towns reinventing themselves, so I was delighted to be asked to be Patron of the Granard Booktown Festival. One word follows the other and in this way sentences, novels and new worlds are born, and I hope so with this festival and the city that celebrates it.”

O’Shea said: “I couldn’t have been more thrilled when asked to be one of the patrons for a brand new festival and the inauguration of Granard as a book town. It’s a location perfect for a new project like this and I’m sure it will be one of the annual highlights of the calendar in the heartland of Longford’s already thriving arts scene.”

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Book towns can be found all over the world, from Wigtown, Scotland (which helped the Granard committee establish Ireland’s first book town) to South Africa, Spain and the USA. Book towns use the arts to bring cultural events to rural communities and to house bookstores, with the goal of attracting cultural tourists to the area, where writers and the public meet, discuss books and enjoy reading and all things cultural can share.

Led by Still Voices Film Festival co-founder Ronan O’Toole and John Connell, Granard Booktown is led by a diverse group of people from across Longford, including Viv Huynh, James Cawley, Remu Adejinmi, Belinda McKeon and Turlough McGovern. The aim of the Board is to establish the festival as one of Ireland’s leading literary festivals and tourist destinations.


Murder One, Ireland’s International Crime Writing Festival, is live again from 4th to 9th October with a host of in-person events at a new venue, Dn Laoghaire’s dlr LexIcon Library and Cultural Centre, many of which will be live streamed online.

Cultural historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley will speak about her biography of Agatha Christie, while Mick Herron discusses his latest novel with colleague Declan Hughes. Bad actors. Ann Cleeves shares her latest Vera Stanhope mystery, while Steve Cavanagh and Lisa Jewell also make headlines. In addition to these British visitors, the festival will feature the cream of Irish crime writing talent including Catherine Ryan Howard, Brian McGilloway, Andrea Mara, Edel Coffey and Sinead Crowley appearing on a range of red hot panels. In keeping with the hybrid format used extensively during Covid, two US greats, Laura Lippman and Jean Hanff Korelitz, are taking part in online interviews.

Murder One is directed by crime writer Sam Blake and festival director Bert Wright. Blake said: “Murder One is supported this year by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Libraries, as well as the Arts Council and Dublin City of Literature – it’s a festival that’s all about readers, and post-pandemic, when reading becomes one such an important distraction, we wish to re-introduce you to the irreplaceable experience of live authoring events, while maintaining an online presence to expand access for those who find festivals difficult to attend.”

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Wright said: “Murder One had only just secured a foothold on the festival circuit when Covid hit, so it was disheartening that our momentum was curtailed so abruptly. Luckily our audience was happy to support us online and hopefully that enthusiasm will carry over to what we think is outstanding programming at our new venue in Dun Laoghaire. That promises great fun.”

Catherine Gallagher, Librarian at Dún Laoghaire, Rathdown County, said: “We are delighted to be a part of MURDER ONE this year. Connecting readers and writers is an important part of what we strive for at dlr. Libraries and crime books are among the books most commonly borrowed and read. We look forward to welcoming audiences old and new to dlr LexIcon in October.”

Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) returns to the Light House Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin for All the Way Home this weekend. their annual international conference. This year’s program welcomes speakers from across Ireland and around the world and features popular and renowned authors, poets and illustrators such as Carson Ellis, Alex Wheatle, Nikita Gill, Eoin Colfer, Chris Judge and Paddy Donnelly. Also featured at the two-day event is Steve McCarthy, whose beautiful illustration provided the artwork for the conference.

Notable events include the presentation of the annual CBI Awards on Saturday, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the world of children’s books and reading, and on Sunday the first meeting of Waterstones UK’s new children’s award winner, Joseph Coelho, and his Irish counterpart, Laureate na nÓg Áine Ni Ghlinn. The couple will join award-winning children’s author Patricia Forde to discuss their respective work, representing all children on the island of Ireland.


Listowel Writers’ Week is hoping to recruit a program curator to develop a literary program for the 2023 festival, which runs from May 31st to June 4th. Application deadline is September 30th.

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