Commemorations for 1916 Centenary
O’Brien Press has launched 16 Lives, a series of biographies which chronicle the lives of the sixteen men executed following the 1916 Easter Rising. This concept was devised and co-edited by Dublin man Lorcan Collins, who founded the 1916 walking tour in 1996, to honour those who gave their lives for Ireland at a crucial point in her history.
The Abbey and RTE have also begun their commemorations of the Rising. On Easter Monday, 6th of April, they are hosting a free, ticketed event entitled Road to the Rising: Step into History. There is a full programme here, divided between the Peacock and Abbey stages.
Stories of Irish Women in History
When Ella Hassett was asked by a colleague to list ten influential Irish women in history, she found herself at a loss to come up with more than the usual suspects. This drove her to hunt down some lesser known women who have made contributions to the story of Ireland so far. Hassett will post fortnightly articles for twenty weeks on the National Women’s Council of Ireland blog to bring attention to women who deserve to be acknowledged for their contribution to the history of Ireland and the rest of the world. You can take a look here.
The Sick Bag Book: Poetic Musings by Nick Cave
Nick Cave’s new book The Sick Bag Song was initially written on, yes, sick bags. It has been described by the musician as a ‘restless full-length epic.’ Those interested in the restless musings of sick bags can simply purchase a run-of-the-mill ‘unlimited’ hardcover copy. However, if you love the memory of flying through turbulence and frantically reaching for that wafer-thin sleeve lodged into a pocket at your knees, then you might wish to buy the ‘limited’ edition. This includes an actual sick bag, customised by Cave. Despite the comic associations a sick bag might bring to such a story, the trailer for the book depicts a very visual, emotional excerpt from the book. Who knew so much could be achieved on a sick bag?
Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced
The final ten writers in the running for the £60,000 biennial Man Booker Prize have been chosen and will offer ‘an extraordinary variety of experiences’, according to chair of judges, Marina Warner. I tend to agree; the list of authors this year spans a wonderful range of nationalities. The winner will be chosen on May 19th. Check out the list here.
Folio Prize for Fiction Awarded to Akhil Sharma
Indian-American writer Akhil Sharma has been awarded the Folio Prize for his book Family Life. The novel is an autobiographical work, which tells the story of an emigrant family’s journey to America in search of a new life. The author explains how the process was a huge challenge, taking thirteen years to complete: ‘I’m glad the book exists, I just wish I hadn’t been the guy who wrote it.’ The novel was chosen over eight others, including the favourite for the prize, Ali Smith’s How To Be Both.
Spike Milligan Songs Unearthed
Songs by Spike Milligan, poet and comic, have been unearthed by his daughter Jane, who will perform some of the pieces at the inaugural Bright Side of Life Festival in Sligo. The festival creator welcomes these recently discovered songs. Spike, who suffered with mental health problems for more than forty years, was a campaigner for de-stigmatising mental health and so this is incredibly well suited to a festival that celebrates music, the arts and positive mental health.
Famous Irish Playwrights in Skinny Jeans
Famous Irish Playwright Hipsters (or, at least, prints of them) are now available to buy in the glorious Jam Art Factory. Jam Art also sells art from our pal Jacob Stack so we like them a lot. If you’re into art, theatre and retro clothing then this could be a match made in heaven.
Feminist Dystopia for Young Adults
Louise O’Neill has won The Booksellers YA Book Prize for her debut novel Only Ever Yours. This book, set in a feminist dystopia, is a challenging glimpse at the pressures placed on young women and how they are scrutinised for their looks. Charlotte Eyre, judge and Children’s Editor of The Bookseller commented on O’Neill’s work, saying: ‘The book is a fierce, timely feminist tale and should be read by everyone, not just young adults.’
Tips for Keeping It Real
There is no avoiding it: teenagers are currently living out their lives through social media. This is a bit devastating, but Siobhan Curham has written a guide to modern life for teenagers and has devised a handy series of tips for teens to keep in mind when using the Internet so as to take care of themselves and make the best use of such a valuable communications tool.
Too Many Thrones, Not Enough Time
Soon the TV show Game of Thrones will overtake the books. Poor George R.R. Martin must be knackered trying to keep up with the fast-paced series and there are only so many new characters one man can make up, in fairness. According to the show’s producers the series and the books will end up in the same place but there will be some deviations along the way. Now, the pressure will be placed on the show’s writers. But they can probably cheat in places and just dedicate entire scenes to people running around in the nude, which seems to be the recurring theme in previous series.
IT’S ABOUT EQUALITY
The programme for the Twelfth International Gay Theatre Festival ‘It’s for YOU’ launched this week and will take place this May. Director Brian Merriman, who founded the festival in 2004, spoke of the events taking place which are not just for the LGBT community but for everyone who enjoys theatre and identity. The festival is about you, your family, your friends, and your community. Therefore I highly recommend going, as who wouldn’t want to go see a play about themselves?