Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Butler Who Did It

New Island appears to be in the mood to publish interesting Irish crime fiction novels of late - Sean Moncrieff’s latest offering being a case in point - and THE JUDAS KISS by David Butler is another. Quoth the blurb elves:
When Bluebottle runs away from a religious institution to live on the streets of Dublin, he is taken in by Malcolm, an ageing sensualist with a penchant for younger boys. But lust soon turns into full-blown sexual obsession. There follows the first of a series of increasingly violent encounters which lead relentlessly to disfigurement and bloody murder. As the first of the six narrators warns: this murder is messy - a stone inside a stocking sticky with blood. Besides this brutal attack, there are beatings, betrayals, perverse and illicit desires, and even a disfigurement - the Judas Kiss of the title. Dark territory indeed. THE JUDAS KISS is dark and moody. But the tale is relieved throughout not only by a pervasive black humour, but by the emergence of love in all its various guises.
  That sounds like the good stuff, alright, and the fact that David Butler is a poet and short story writer who has previously lectured in Spanish literature and published AN AID TO READING ULYSSES suggests that THE JUDAS KISS will be a crime novel with a difference. There’s a copy en route to CAP Towers as you read, and as always, we’ll keep you posted …

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dr Yes Will See You Now

I suppose I shouldn’t really be advertising someone else’s writing course when I’ll be hosting one myself for the Irish Writers’ Centre next month, but I’ll make an exception for Dr Yes, aka The Artist Formerly Known as Colin Bateman. That’s mainly because there’s a lot of flakes and chancers out there peddling their literary snake-oil to aspiring writers, whereas Bateman is the genuine article, a best-selling writer who has proved himself across a range of genres and forms. Also, he knows where I live, and has promised to ‘call around’ with ‘the Bangor Boys’ (possibly ‘the Banger Boys’ - it was a muffled phone call) if I don’t ‘play ball’.
  To wit:
Secrets of Writing a Best Seller is an inspirational two-day course aimed at those who want to write commercial fiction that sells. It is best suited to beginners who might have an idea for a novel but don’t know how to get started, or those who have a novel underway but aren’t sure how to progress with it.

We will look at where ideas come from, genre, research, dialogue, character development, plotting, re-writing and editing, preparing synopsis and outlines and at how to get motivated and stay motivated. We will take a look at the business of publishing, and students will be guided in the best ways to approach agents and publishers. We will look at the option of self-publishing and chat with a leading agent.

Colin says, “Many people dream about being a best selling writer … but don’t think it’s possible because they have no idea how to start writing a novel. I was exactly like that when I started out – lots of dreams but no idea about how to take the first step – or the second, or third.”

It will take place in Bangor, County Down, over the weekend of November 10-11 2012. Although reasonably intensive will also be conducted in a friendly and relaxed manner, with plenty of opportunity for participants not only to get advice from a best-selling author, but also to ask whatever questions they have, as well as to participate in group discussions with other aspiring writers.
  For all the details, clickety-click here

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How Green Was My Courthouse

It’s off to court with yours truly next week, on Wednesday, 26th September, although all Three Regular Readers will probably be pleasantly surprised to hear that I am not up before the beak, as it were. Indeed, the venerable Conor Brady, author of A JUNE OF ORDINARY MURDERS, will chair a conversation on the topic of ‘Writing Turns Criminal’, with yours truly doing his best to keep up with fellow panellists Alex Barclay and Jane Casey. The details:
Writing Turns Criminal
Crime writers Alex Barclay, Conor Brady, Declan Burke and Jane Casey discuss fact and fiction in the iconic location of Green Street Courthouse.
Wednesday, 26th September @ 6.00pm
Green Street Courthouse,
Halston Street (near Capel Street),
Dublin 7.
  The event is one of a strand entitled ‘Great Writing, Great Places’ being run as part of the Dublin City of Literature, and admission is free. Booking is essential, however, and if you’re interested in coming along you can book your tickets at 01 674 4862 /
  Formerly the home of the Special Criminal Court, the original Green Street Courthouse was built in 1797. The trials of Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet and John Mitchel took place at Green Street, although more recently, from the 1970s to the 1990s, the court was used extensively to try those charged with terrorist and organised crime offences.
  It should be a very interesting evening. If you’re in the vicinity, it’d be great to see you there …

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Where Silver Is Gold

New Island will publish the short story collection SILVER THREADS OF HOPE later this month and it’s fair to say, I think, that editor Sinead Gleeson has put together a very impressive line-up. To wit:
A new collection of short stories from the cream of Irish writers including Kevin Barry, Greg Baxter, Dermot Bolger, John Boyne, Declan Burke, John Butler, Trevor Byrne, Emma Donoghue, Roddy Doyle, Dermot Healy, Christine-Dwyer Hickey, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Colm Keegan, John Kelly, Claire Kilroy, Pat McCabe, Colum McCann, John McKenna, Belinda McKeon, Mike McCormack, Siobhan Mannion, Peter Murphy, Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Phillip O’Ceallaigh, Keith Ridgway, William Wall and Mary Costello.
  The collection is published in aid of Console, by the way, Console being the suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention service in Ireland. As good causes go, this is one of the best.