The Lit Review |101| Ithaca and Women’s Writing


Alan McMonagle Launches Debut Novel

The launch of Alan McMonagle’s debut novel was held in Hodges Figgis on Tuesday evening. Donal Ryan spoke at the event, with both writers reading excerpts from McMonagle’s novel Ithaca. The passages read proved that the novel is packed with the brisk humour he has demonstrated in his shorter fiction, but perhaps even more engrossing because it is driven by a unique young voice. The novel is narrated by eleven year old Jason Lowry, who becomes preoccupied with thoughts of the unknown father he has yet to meet. “Jason escapes to the Swamp: a mysteriously rising pool of fetid water on the outskirts of the town. There, he meets the girl, a being as lost as himself, and with even less regard for reality. Together, they conjure exotic adventures – from ancient Egypt to the search for Ithaca, home of Odysseus. But what begin as innocent flights of fancy soon become forays into hazardous territory; the girl is a dangerous (and very committed) partner in crime.”

McMonagle’s writing has been published in many literary journals nationally and abroad, such as The Stinging Fly, The Penny Dreadful Crannog and The Adirondack Review. He has published two collections of short stories, Psychotic Episodes (Arlen House, 2013) and Liar Liar (Wordsonthestreet, 2008) and was included in the Young Irelanders anthology.

Places Available For West Cork Literary Festival Workshops

Calling all aspiring and established writers: secure your place now for some of the amazing workshops on offer at the West Cork Literary Festival, which runs in venues in Bantry and Whiddy Island from July 14th to 21st. From Writing a Novel to Song Writing, Journalism to Poetry, there is a workshop for writers at all levels, looking to spend time in this beautiful seaside town, honing their craft. Workshop facilitators include Alissa Nutting, Dean Bakopoulos, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Vona Groarke, Lara Marlowe, Dave Lordan, Jan Carson, John Spillane and Phoebe Smith. Workshops will be filled with lively discussions which writers can use as jumping off points to spark fresh, passionate work. Early booking is advised to avoid disappointment and online booking is open on the festival website (

Colm Tóibín, Mike McCormack, Sara Baume, Dame Marina Warner, Eimear McBride and Anne Enright, The Laureate for Irish Fiction,are just some of the guests already announced for the renowned festival. Cork author, Billy O’Callaghan, a 2017 Costa Short Story runner-up for ‘The Boatman,’ will read from his first novel The Dead House, due to be published later this year and Dermot Bolger will read from his latest novel, The Lonely Sea and Sky. Visiting from the UK, Ian McGuire and Jon McGregor, both long listed for the Booker Prize, will read at the festival, as will Sarah Perry, whose novel, The Essex Serpent, is the Waterstones’ Book of the Year 2016. Brendan Barrington, editor at Penguin Ireland and of the Dublin Review, will be attending the festival as Editor in Residence. Carol Drinkwater returns to Bantry to read from her new novel The Lost Girl and Lisa McInerney will read from The Blood Miracles. Poetry is again well represented with the new Ireland Chair of Poetry (2016-2019), Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Paula Meehan, former Ireland Chair of Poetry (2013-2016), and former editor of Poetry Ireland, Vona Groarke.

New Prize for Translating Women’s Writing

The University of Warwick has announced its new literary prize, the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. The prize will recognise the contribution to the literary world by both the author and the translator and the sum of £1,000 will be equally divided between both. The prize has been created to increase the number of international women’s voices available to the reading public in Britain and Ireland, and is open to all fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction or work of fiction for children or young adults written by a woman.

Prizes such as this one are a significant step in the literary community’s effort to narrow the gulf between the number of male-authored translated texts consumed by the public in relation to female-authored works, which are left to fall into obscurity. Translated literature is already in the literary periphery, with the widely-quoted statistic of 3% being roughly how much translated work is being published. Of that 3%, a study revealed that between 2008 and 2014 the United States’ output of translated works was made up of 73.4% male writers. The University of Warwick point out that while  the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize had 21 recipients, only two of them were women. Bringing recognition and awareness to translated literature on a more local scale is a move that will bring a wider range of women’s writing to our part of the world.


The deadline for the Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2017 closes tomorrow, 17th March. The theme for this year’s competition is “Before the Storm,” exploring how people prepare for extreme weather events caused by climate change. Entry is free.