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The Lit Review |42| Hodges Figgis Book Festival

Hodges Figgis Book Festival

Hodges Figgis Book Festival launches this evening, and will celebrate the Irish short story. Thomas Morris will read from his book of short stories entitled We Don’t Know What We’re Doing and New Island Books will also host readings from The Long Gaze Back, an anthology of short stories from Irish women.

The festival will take place until September 19th, coinciding with Culture Night on the 18th. The programme boasts an eclectic range of talks from public figures and writers, along with cookery demonstrations, art exhibitions, musical performances and interviews. There will be an IADT and NCAD emerging artists’ temporary exhibition on display, and JR Ryall, head pastry chef at Ballymaloe House, will be sharing some sweet treats from the infamous Ballymaloe Cookbook. On Culture Night, you can learn how to brew your own beer with Caroline Hennessy & Kristen Jensen, authors of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider, and you can also hear from Rick Stein in conversation with Newstalk FM’s Henry McKean, as he discusses his passion for food and for travel.

You can take a magical trip around Dublin landmarks with Nicola Colton’s beautifully illustrated children’s book A Dublin Fairytale, on Saturday 19th; her book combines colourful otherworldly characters and creatures. Pádraig O’Moráin will be there too, to discuss Mindfulness on the Go: Peace in your Pocket. He will speak on how to incorporate simple mindfulness practices into our everyday lives. Full programme available here.


Young Adult Writers Save the Children

Tired of watching the refugee crisis unfold via his Twitter feed, young adult author Patrick Ness, decided to take action. Last Thursday the award winning writer tweeted that he would match public donations up to £10,000 for a fundraising drive organised by Save the Children.


‘Okay, I don’t know if this’ll work but I’ll match donations up to £10k to do *something* to help this refugee crisis.’

Within two hours his target had been reached; inspired by Ness’ act of compassion, peers and fellow authors were moved to do the same, as young adult writers, John Green, Derek Landy and Jojo Moyes each pledging to donate £10,000.

A plethora of other authors and publishing houses have joined the ranks, pledging thousands in support of the campaign, and funds for the crisis have now surpassed £650,000. The campaign has also sparked some innovative ideas: as a way to drive donations, Red Pens for Refugees is supporting the campaign with world class editors, David Fickling, Sarah Hughes and Barry Cunningham offering to critique the work of those who enter a competition after donating online.

Ness has been urging people all week to keep the momentum going, tweeting yesterday evening to say; ‘13 hours, £12,500 and we’ll be over a million dollars. Think we can do it? Either way, the MOST incredible week’.


Smoothies and Shakespeare

Shakespear and Co
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The iconic bookshop Shakespeare and Company on the left bank of the Seine, in Paris; a meeting point for acclaimed literary expats in 1920’s Paris, is embracing hipster café culture by opening a coffee shop right next door. New York businessman and expat, Marc Grossman, who introduced the health food and detox movement to Parisian hipsters when he brought Bob’s Food to the city, will lead this new venture. The menu will be comprised of healthy smoothies and juices, coffees, finger sandwiches, bagels and scones. I wonder what Ernest Hemingway would think of all the tree huggers and smoothie makers.


Refugee Library

Just three months ago, teacher Mary Jones made the decision to set up a library in The Jungle refugee camp in Calais, about 150km away from her French home.

The project has been inundated with book donations from people, but now that the community is beginning to develop, people are in great need of specific books, and other resources that will help them.

Jones has a vision to develop the camp in order to support the rehabilitation of those who are living in the community: ‘Now, what would be nice would be if I could do something more long-lasting. With money I could make a big difference, because being here I can see what would be really useful.’ Jones has set up a crowd funding page to help raise the cash to stretch the potential of the camp.


Only Ever Yours to be made into Feature Film

Only Ever Yours, the debut novel from Irish writer Louise O’Neill, will be adapted for the big screen. The novel depicts a dystopian boarding school, set in the future, where girls are taught to maintain their strict beauty regime in order to cater for the desires of men. O’Neill was selected for the Best Newcomer Award at the Irish Book Awards at the 2014 ceremony.


Town of Books Festival

Graiguenamanagh Books Festival:
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The Graiguenamanagh Town of Books Festival, in Co Kilkenny, now in its 12th year, will take place this weekend from the 11th– 14th of September. The project began in the medieval town as a small weekend event promoted on an experimental basis for one year. The experiment has now grown into a successful yearly festival featuring art, music, food and crafts, and other activities. The event will have an eclectic collection of books on offer: including some very rare and specialist books ranging in price from one to thousands of euros.


Into the River

The Award winning book, Into the River, has been banned by the Film and Literature Board of Review (FLBR) in New Zealand due to the outrage of Christian Lobby Group, Family First. The ban has pulled the book from libraries, schools and bookshops around the country. A review to confirm the permanent classification of the book will take place next month, but before that that, individuals who distribute the book will face a fine of NZ$3,000 and companies will be fined NZ$10,000.

This young adult book has been banned due to its sexually explicit content, drug use and the use of a slang term for the female genitalia. This action has provoked a great regret from author of the book, Ted Dawe, who discusses the reasons for writing such a story, aimed mainly at young male readers;

‘I have taught in secondary schools for the past forty years. Much of this time has been spent encouraging boys to read. Part of the challenge was to find books that ‘spoke’ to them. This meant books about issues that were relevant to them and written in a style that was authentic’. He went on to say: ‘There are many issues that young adults cannot take to other people. They want to do their own thinking about them. There is no better, no more private medium for this than the novel’.

‘The idea that some Christian group can bring about the banning of a book seems to me a hideously unfair situation and something of a miscarriage of justice.’


Laura Carlin wins Bratislava Children’s Book Illustration Awards 2015

Laura Carlin Illustration-
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Laura Carlin has won the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava awards 2015 one of the most prestigious honours for children’s book illustrators in the world. 2,426 published books were entered for consideration this year, but it was Carlin who took the prize for her illustrations of The Iron Man with words by Ted Hughes and A World of Your Own. The judges spoke of the illustrator’s work saying it ‘moves with ease, yet with great care between different moods, demonstrating both sensitivity and a sense of humour … the pages are paced to perfection’.


Stephen King awarded National Medal of Arts

Barack Obama will present novelist, Stephen King with the United States’ National Medal of Arts. This is the highest award for artists given by the US government; the medal goes to those who are ‘deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States’. King has gained international acclaim from classic novels such as The Shining, and It.