Newsletter Autumn 2007

Welcome to a new season of Irish Pen! We hope you all had an enjoyable summer, wherever you happened to be, and are rested and ready for a creative and productive autumn. Irish Pen has a strong schedule of events which will inspire and entertain you from now until next May. As usual, we are extremely grateful to the writers, publishers, journalists and others who, when asked to perform on our monthly Thursday events, almost invariably answer ‘Yes’. Thank you to all of those who made last year so enjoyable and thanks in advance to those who have agreed to read and talk to us in the forthcoming months.

CONGRATULATIONS ! To Anne Enright on her shortlisting for the Booker Prize! Anne Enright gave us a wonderful evening on 10th May, when she spoke with her usual spirit and frankness about her life and her writing, and read from her latest novel, The Gathering. This brilliantly written novel about the fortunes of an Irish family over the course of a century exposes, with sharp insight and great humour, the dark and light side of domestic life in this country. It is not a totally original topic, but it is treated in a way which is utterly original. The Gathering is Anne Enright’s best novel to date, which is saying a lot, and it is one of the best Irish novels of recent times, in our view. Anne Enright’s voice is unique; every line she writes gleams with honesty, and often with mischievousness. The novel has the ring of authenticity and deserves to win the Booker Prize, which we trust it will.

COMMITTEE 2007-2008 At the annual general meeting in May, Catherine Daly was elected chairperson of Irish Pen. The following were elected to the committee: Éilís Ní Dhuibhne (secretary), Anne Hartigan (joint secretary), Marita Conlon McKenna (treasurer). Jenny Purcell, Sarah Webb, Father Anthony Gaughan, and Desmond Traynor. There is room on the committee for another associate member to represent associates. Anyone interested should contact a member of the committee at one of the talks or by e-mail.

As usual, Irish Pen will meet once a month, usually on Thursdays 8pm, in the Irish Arts Club, 3 Upper Fitzwilliam Street. The following events will take place in 2007:
Thursday 11th October
John Boyne, winner of the Bisto Book of the Year Award 2007, among other prestigious awards, and author of the best-selling novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, will entertain in conversation with Robert Dunbar.
Thursday 8th November
Martina Devlin, Denise Deegan and Clare Dowling read from their latest work and discuss their writing life.
Thursday 13th December
The Irish Pen annual Christmas meeting, at which we are delighted and honoured to have as our guest reader and speaker the greatest novelist of Dublin after Joyce, none other than Roddy Doyle.
Thursday 10th January
An evening devoted to getting published. Panellists to be confirmed.

The great event of the year in Irish Pen is the presentation of the Irish Pen-AT Cross award at the annual dinner. This year, the dinner will be held, as usual, at the Royal St George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire. The date is 1st February 2008.The winner of the award, whose name will be announced later, will receive the Irish Pen-AT Cross Trophy. Booking form will be available with next newsletter.

Many members of Irish Pen have new books out this autumn:
Roddy Doyle, The Deportees. Cape
Sarah Webb, When the Boys are Away. Pan Macmillan.
Mum’s the Word. Compiled by Sarah Webb. New Island (In aid of the National Children’s Hospital)
Jennifer Johnston, Foolish Mortals. Headline Review.
Lia Mills, In Your Face. Penguin Ireland
With a Little Help from my Friends. Compiled by Melissa Hill. Poolbeg. (In aid of Irish Hospice Foundation)
Clare Dowling, No strings Attached Headline
Deirdre Purcell, Follow me Down to Dublin. Hodder Headline
Benjamin Black, The Silver Swan. Pan Macmillan
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Fox Swallow Scarecrow. Blackstaff Press

If you have a forthcoming publication, please let us know by e-mailing details to Irish Pen, and we can then list it in the newsletter.

Irish PEN says a fond farewell to Pat Connole, an honorary life-time member and former committee member who died a few weeks ago. An Australian who eventually came to make his home in Seapoint, Blackrock with his wife Detta, Pat was a friend to all. He served on the committee for a number of years. He was always ebullient and enthusiastic and full of stories with his writing and plays and big historical novels set in Australia. He organised a wonderful Australian/ Irish night of writing and culture a few years ago. A former teacher and Christian Brother, he had worked in Australia and New Guinea, and made a huge contribution to education in his homeland. He came to Ireland and ended up marrying his beloved Detta and teaching in CBC Monkstown. A rich and rare character Pat will never be forgotten by his many friends in Ireland and Australia.

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