Irish PEN’s summer 2013 newsletter
- o New Members & Members’ News
- o PEN/NEW VOICES Competition
- o AGM 2013
- o Irish PEN Award Dinner
- o Irish PEN and Blasphemy
- o Irish PEN co-sponsors Free Author Media
- Training Day – held June 15th
- o Upcoming Festivals
- o PEN’s 45th International Writers Meeting
- o Mary Russell: a talk on Writing & Travel in Syria
We extend a warm welcome to PEN’s newest members: Morag Prunty, also known as Kate Kerrigan, will be known to many as a New York Times bestselling author; her latest release City of Hope, the second part of Ellie’s trilogy, was published by Harper Collins in the U.S. on June 26th
Deirdre Conroy is responsible for the blog called Diary of a Dublin Landlady, as well as many art and architectural reviews in journals, and has written chapters of published books, Painting Ireland and Great Irish Houses. Deirdre has just finished her first novel. http://dublinlandlady.
Rosemarie Rowley was born in Dublin. To date she has published five books of poetry, and has four times won the Epic award in the Scottish International Poetry Competition. Her most recent books are Hot Cinquefoil Star (2002) and In Memory of Her (2004) and (2008); see more at www.rosemarierowley.ie.
Padraig Hanratty has published one short story collection A Blanket of Blues, in eformat and hardcopy, as well as a novella Dimestore Avenue Blues. Pádraig has also been published in Judas! Music magazine, Hot Press and Electric Acorn website.
Margaret Scott is an author, blogger and guest blogger with Easons. The Irish Independent reviewed her novel Between You and Me, as “a stylish, effervescent page-turner, which is sure to strike a chord with readers and propel Scott’s wry wit into the limelight”. Margaret has also been published in the Irish Independent, Irish Daily Mail and Woman’s Weekly.
Mayo native Elizabeth Reapy is the founding editor of Wordlegs, an online creative writing journal which has spawned numerous ebooks, a short fiction collection (30 under 30), and as of 2012, a brand new festival: The Shore Writers Festival. Elizabeth was the Tyrone Guthrie Exchange Irish Writer in Varuna for 2012, she is a pushcart nominee and this year, the Arts Council awarded her a Literature Bursary to complete her debut short story collection. Elizabeth was Irish PEN’s nominated entry to the PEN/NEW VOICES AWARD 2013. The Award is open to writers of short stories, creative non-fiction, journalism and poetry who are aged 18-30, and are put forward by PEN Centres. The Award aims to encourage new writing worldwide, to promote translation – especially into English, French and Spanish – and to help emerging writers by providing advice on how best to work towards a career as a writer. The distinguished panel of judges includes Carole Blake, who represents Irish PEN’s 2012 Award recipient Joseph O’Connor, and all of the judges will give feedback to the six long-listed competition finalists. The closing date for entries was on June 20th
Among our newest Associate Members, we welcome Joseph McCloskey, Karen Ryan, Paul McNulty, Carolann Copland, Diane Ward, Mark Edmund Hutcheson, and Colleen Nelligan Connolly.
We were delighted to hear Cyril McHale’s wonderfully written piece about his grandfather, titled ‘Past Projections’, broadcast on Sunday Miscellany on June 16th You can listen back to the broadcast online by clicking on this link, or visit http://www.rte.ie/radio1/
One of the highlights of the June 2013 celebrations of James Joyce’s Bloomsday was the launch by Joyce biographer, Peter Costello, of Brendan Lynch’s latest book, CITY OF WRITERS. The Lives and Homes of Dublin Authors. The launch was attended by seventyguests, including Robert Nicholson, curator of the Writers Museum, and Guy St John Williams, grandson of novelist Oliver St John Gogarty.
Irish PEN AGM 2013
We are happy to announce that following elections at Irish PEN’s AGM on June 7th
The Irish PEN Executive Committee for 2013-14 is as follows: Kay Boland, Chairperson; Vanessa O’Loughlin, Vice Chairperson and PRO; Timmy Conway, Treasurer; Brenda O’Hanlon, Correspondence Secretary; Máire Moriarty, Minutes Secretary; Emer Liston, Newsletter Editor and Writers in Prison Committee Secretary; Tony Gaughan, Honorary Committee Member.
We will sorely miss the huge talent of our Social Media Co-ordinator, Chris Murray, who is no longer able to work in this capacity on PEN’s committee due to writing and editing commitments. As well as having her work performed at last year’s Béal Festival, Chris is a member of the International PEN Women Writer’s Committee, and manages a successful Poetry Blog called ‘Poethead’.
Along with the loss of our Social Media Co-ordinator, Irish PEN is also urgently in need of a Membership Secretary, and an Email Correspondence Secretary. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about the essential (and never dull..!) roles mentioned here.
Irish PEN Award Dinner 2013
The 2013 Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature was awarded to John Banville, the novelist and playwright whose most
impressive works include The Sea and The Book of Evidence. The ceremony took place on the 22nd February at the Royal St. George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire. At the ceremony, the presenter of the award, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan described the recipient as “a writer of innumerable gifts, of immense talent, of superb reputation in Ireland and abroad”. Accepting the award, Banville expressed pleasure at receiving recognition in his own country, adding: “PEN is a splendid organization…that has done great work” and described his first experience of PEN while working in Eastern Europe in the early 1980s. John Banville’s previous honours include the Booker Prize for his 2005 novel The Sea and the Franz Kafka prize in 2011. The Irish PEN award has been presented by Irish PEN since 1999; previous winners include Seamus Heaney and Edna O’Brien, and the Award’s trophy was sponsored by www.writing.ie.
Also, PEN warmly congratulates Maria Duffy on the launch and success of her third novel, The Letter (published by Hachette Books Ireland).
Irish PEN & Blasphemy
“The Executive Committee of Irish PEN, the Irish Centre for PEN International, campaigns for the offence of blasphemy to be removed from the Irish Constitution in 2013. Human rights attach to individuals, not to states, organised groups or ideas. When governments seek to limit the rights of individuals to criticise, they are not seeking, as they claim, to protect faith or belief. Rather, they are seeking increased power over their citizens. It is essential to maintain freedom of expression, ensuring writers are free to criticise. Irish PEN calls upon the Government to restore our reputation for free speech without delay”. Available to read in full at constitution.ie.
Two years ago, Irish PEN undertook to campaign for a referendum on Blasphemy and the Irish Constitution. Currently, the Government’s policy is that the Convention on the Constitution, a forum made up of 100 people with an independent Chairperson, will convene to consider and make recommendations on certain topics as possible future amendments to the Constitution. The Convention is to complete its work within 12 months, and has received Irish PEN’s submission on Blasphemy and the importance of removing it from the Constitution without further delay. You can read Irish PEN’s submission here, and visit constitution.ie for further information.
Dublin City of Literature/ Irish PEN Free Author Media Training Day
June 15th saw a very special day-long event, sponsored by Dublin City of Literature and Irish PEN, and run in conjunction with Writing.ie and the National Emerging Writer progamme. Over 40 new and established writers who attended this workshop found out exactly how to approach the media, how to win at radio and TV interviews and how to deliver a first class reading. MTV VJ and now corporate trainer Emma Ledden (pictured) and author Declan Hughes kept the audience busy making frantic notes in the morning, while in the afternoon, internet entrepreneur and Business Woman of the Year Darina Loakman, explained the importance having a well thought out blog or website, of understanding your target market and having a social media strategy that looks for quality over quantity. Participants, many of whom had had that all- important author photo taken by professional photographer Paul Sherwood at a special rate, left the day significantly better prepared for the challenges of book promotion. Describing it as ‘brilliant’ and ‘fantastic’, both the calibre of the presenters and the insights they offered were highly praised. PEN members may book author photographs separately to the event, at Paul Sherwood’s studio in Blackrock, Co. Dublin – contact Paul directly at www.sherwood.ie or by mobile 087 230 9096.
There are many exciting festivals coming up for writers and book lovers in the autumn; the Mountains to Sea Festival again promises to be a feast, with an especially interesting programme on Sunday September 8th in Dún Laoghaire; visit mountainstosea.ie for more details. Also, among the UNESCO Dublin City of Literature events coming up, one of the most exciting promises to be the Dublin Festival of History which takes place between 27 th September and 10th October.
2013 is the year of the Gathering and the year when we mark the 100th anniversary of momentous historical events in the city of Dublin. The upheaval of the Dublin Lockout and the formation of James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army are but two of a series of historical topics which will be explored in the new Dublin Festival of History. More information will be made available at www.cityofliterature.ie – always a space worth watching. Last year the Dublin Book Festival 2012 presented a packed programme of events, almost entirely free of charge with readings, interviews, debates, book launches and workshops for adults, children and schools.
The festival found a new home in Smock Alley theatre, Temple Bar, and there it will return in 2013. The Dublin Book Festival team was kind enough to lend support to Irish
PEN and Front Line Defenders’ event to mark November 15th, which is the Day of the Imprisoned Writer – a date marked by PEN Centres around the world, to recognize and support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression. Last year’s event featured support and readings from Brian Keenan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Justine McCarthy, and some highlights can be viewed here, uploaded to YouTube at this link; we hope to work again with both Front Line Defenders and the Dublin Book Festival in 2013.
Pen’s 45th International Writers Meeting was held at Bled from May 8th to 12th 2013. Delegates representing 34 centres from across the world attended, welcomed by Dr Uros Grilc, the Slovenian Minister for Culture. Subsequently they were entertained by a presentation of the culture and literary traditions of the central region of Slovenia. The first theme discussed was ‘Literary Creation, from the Periphery to the Centre’; it was recognised that in terms of ideology this was a basic dynamic in society. Each Periphery gradually draws nearer to the Centre, eventually replacing it and prompting the process to repeat itself.
The second topic was the writer as a traveller creating peace. This resonated with the delegates. Clearly travel enables people to get beyond viewing other peoples in terms of their stereotypes. It also provides an opportunity to appreciate the cultural roots and riches of those residing in different parts of the world. The result is a genuine respect and regard for the otherness in peoples. There was unanimity that extending boundaries in this way is a creator of peace both within and without. The PEN Declaration on Digital Freedom, passed at the International Congress in Gyeongju, Korea, in 2012 was discussed.
Four articles were appended to it to clarify how it would affect the Targeting of Individuals, Censorship, Surveillance and Business and Human Rights.
October 2013: Mary Russell, writing and travelling in Syria
Mary Russell is well-known for The Blessings of a Good Thick Skirt, her book about women travellers and explorers throughout the ages. In her latest book, My Home is Your Home: A Journey round Syria, she employs the survival strategies of the solo traveller, seasoning a devil-may-care attitude with a pinch of common sense when taking on everything that comes her way in Syria – be it a pack of feral dogs, an important host or a chain-smoking Sufi sheik. Essentially a cultural travel book, appended to it is a postscript which offers both a background and an update to the present political situation which readers will find useful. Join Irish PEN October 10th to hear riveting stories and insights from successful and admired travel writer, Mary Russell. www.maryrussell.info
Become a member of Irish PEN, or rejoin – it’s quick, easy and hugely beneficial. Simply click on this link, or visit www.irishpen.com.