The Lit Review |49| Bram Stoker Festival

Festival Bites

Bram Stoker Festival will take place from 23rd to the 26th of October. I promise I will control the urge to make vampire puns while sharing some of this year’s excellent array of events.

The Scary Trail will guide children through Marsh’s Library, the place where Bram Stoker spent many an eerie evening writing his ghoulish stories. This will take place during the day on the 23rd and 24th of October. Children are encouraged to dress up and there will be prizes for the spookiest costume, you might even meet some scary characters on the way.

Once the kiddies have gone home, Hushed will take over. Visitors will be taken on a haunting tour, led through the darkest crevices and alcoves of the library, guided only by the eerie sounds of Robbie Blake and Tonnta vocal ensemble.

I got the Seanchaí I Got the Secret, will take place in the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar on Friday, 23rd. Hosted by Vicky Curtis and Una Mullally of Come Rhyme With Me, the evening will feature poems and other reflections exploring the depths of Irish spoken word.


Who was Bram Stoker? Well, if you don’t know the answer to that, you need to take a good look at yourself. But once you’re finished doing that, you should pop along to the National Gallery of Ireland, who will host Dr Jarlath Killeen, the editor of Bram Stoker: Centenary Essays on the 25th October at 3pm. Jarlath will be able to provide an answer to that very question. The National Gallery have also curated a number of workshops with this same question in mind for families and children.

Finally, make sure to keep an eye out for vampires riding around town on bikes all weekend. Terrifying, yes, but they have only good intentions. They’ll be delivering Penny Dreadzines, a brilliant collaboration between Damn Fine Print and other notable illustrators and writers.

There are plenty more happenings around the city as part of the festival this weekend. Take a look at the full event listings here.


First Ever Young Adult Convention

DeptCon1, Ireland’s first ever Young Adult convention, will take place this weekend in Smock Alley Theatre. Young Adult Fiction is an ever growing genre in contemporary publishing, and this convention is a nod to the power of story-telling and the importance of getting young people to step away from the screen and open a book. The convention is the first attempt to pick apart and discuss contemporary fiction for young people in Ireland.

They have a wonderful line up in store, with appearances from the likes of Patrick Ness and our own Louise O’Neill. Book signings and discussions will take place over the two days. More information here.


Sara Baume Wins Rooney Prize

Sara Baume

Sara Baume has won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Now in its 39th year, the Rooney Prize awards young writers who display exceptional promise. The award is presented thanks to the patronage of Dr Daniel Rooney, who recently served as US Ambassador to Ireland, and his wife, Patricia Rooney.

Baume, who is currently doing a residency at the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa, flew home to receive this prestigious award. Prof Emeritus Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin commented on the writer’s work: ‘Sara Baume’s debut novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, is a powerful, persuasive evocation of two isolated lives, human and animal.’


Toast not Madelines

Proust and Madelines-
Proust and some flying madelines

In Á la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time), Marcel Proust writes of tea-drenched madelines: soft, scallop shaped cakes that evoked sensuous memories of his childhood. This vivid image is now one of the most pertinent metaphors in French literature. It stands for something that drives nostalgic feeling.  However, a publishing house in Paris, Saint-Peres, has revealed that Proust was rather fickle when it came to baked goods. Earlier drafts of Proust’s manuscript did not make reference to these angelic little treats, but rather, to toast. I mean, of all the things. Not a croissant, not a mille feuille, but a piece of grotty old toast. They probably didn’t have Dairygold to slather it with, as we do here in Ireland. But maybe he was allowed put Nutella on it.


Imaginary Fred

Children’s author Eoin Colfer and illustrator Oliver Jeffers have paired up to create Imaginary Fred, the tale of Fred, who floates along in the wind until a lonely little boy wishes for a new best friend. I’m welling up already. Anyway, the talented lads will be touring around bookshops in Ireland to launch their stunning collaboration. They’ll be popping into The Gutter Bookshop this Sunday around 12pm. This is a free event, bring the kids along and get a signed copy.


The Art of Cookbooks

For foodies and book lovers, The Gutter Bookshop will host a panel discussion on the art of making a good cookbook. On Friday 23rd November at 6.30pm, chef and food writer Domini Kemp, publishing director at Gill & Macmillan Nicki Howard, and (cookbook lover) Helen Cooke from Taste of Dublin will assemble to discuss the art of cookbooks. This is a free event but booking is essential.