Books, Journalism, Writing

Aspiring authors flock to Dublin’s International Literature Festival

Thousands of writers are heading to Dublin city in Ireland this week in the hope of gleaning advice, encouragement and inspiration at the International Literature Festival.

I spoke to festival director Martin Colthorpe about what keeps drawing people back nearly 20 years on, as well as authors Vanessa O’Loughlin, Catherine Ryan Howard and literary agent Sallyanne Sweeney on their advice to get your book on the shelves.

Have a watch of my 3News report for TV3 Ireland:

 

Books

10 places every literary fan should visit

1. The Long Room at the Library of Trinity College Dublin

Built in the early 1700s, tourists come from all over the world to see this magnificent library. Located in the heart of Dublin city, its awe-inspiring bookshelves are lined with some of Ireland’s oldest books. You can also peer at the Book of Kells, an illustrated manuscript written around the year 800.

Continue reading “10 places every literary fan should visit”

Books, Writing

Visiting Haworth, the home of the Brontës

Haworth is a rural village on a steep hill, surrounded by fields of heather and a bitter breeze. The parsonage, where the Brontë sisters grew up and lived, is easily the biggest building there. It sits by tall trees and crooked gravestones, and is filled with remnants of the family’s lives; it does feel like they’ve just popped out for a walk on the moor. Continue reading “Visiting Haworth, the home of the Brontës”

Books, Journalism

Q&A with Puffin editor Claire Hennessy

I interviewed the super editor/writer/all-around book aficionado Claire Hennessy about her job at one of Ireland’s major publishing houses, what she looks for in YA submissions and her best advice for aspiring authors.

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Books

Quote of the Week: Anthony Horowitz

I still think of Great Expectations as the greatest novel ever written with Magwitch, Estelle, Miss Havisham and Pip Pirrip, Dickens’s most brilliant creations. I’ve read the Dickens canon three times in my life and it’s amazing how these books have become a mirror for me, showing me how I’ve changed.

His attitude to women, for example, his sentimentality, his humour… I react differently each time I come to them… And that, of course, is the power of the greatest literature. Every time you come back to it, it’s never quite the same.”

– Anthony Horowitz

Original speech for the National Literacy Trust: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/campaigns/anthony_horowitz_keynote_speech

Books, Writing

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Does a cover really have that much influence on whether or not we choose to read a book?

The New York Times recently published an article about new book covers being created for ‘classic’ novels to attract young-adult readers. Continue reading “Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?”

Books, Writing

Novel News: J.K. Rowling’s New Book Cover Revealed!

Bestselling author J.K. Rowling, 46, has revealed the cover of her first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, which will be published by Little, Brown and Company on 27th September 2012.

‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling – Image courtesy of The Telegraph

The striking but simple yellow, red and black cover with white titles indicates a huge departure from Rowling’s previous work. The Harry Potter series, with which she made her name, used colourful character drawings on the cover to attract a younger audience.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling’s last release

Her last novel – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in a series of seven – was published in 2007. Rowling has since earned an OBE for services to children’s literature, as well as having been awarded France’s Légion d’Honneur, the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award and the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord.

J.K. Rowling. Image from Little, Brown

The Casual Vacancy will centre on a small English town, Pagford, and the “blackly comic” parish council election that happens there.

“When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Seemingly an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war,” say Rowling’s publishers, Little, Brown. “[The character’s passing is] the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.”

The author is currently estimated to be worth more than £620 million from the Harry Potter brand.

What do you think of Rowling’s book cover? Will you be one of the first to buy her new novel? Comment below!

Books, Writing

Writing Tip of the Day: Sebastian Faulks

“I prefer books, ultimately, which are prepared to risk being idealistic than ones which prefer to stay on the safe ground of being critical. It seems a more daring and more interesting thing to do.

Image courtesy of Deborah Feingold/The Guardian

Of course it’s a high-tariff dive, and you risk falling flat on your face and indeed opening yourself up to the sort of people who haven’t taken a step off the safe island,

but there it is, these seem to be more worthwhile books to write.”

– SEBASTIAN FAULKS

Books, Journalism, Writing

Want a six-figure publishing deal? Here’s how Kathleen MacMahon did it…

The name ‘Kathleen MacMahon’ has been on the tips of literary tongues since April 2011, when the award-winning Irish journalist picked up a €684,000 advance and a two-book deal from Little, Brown at the London Book Fair for her début novel, This Is How It Ends.

Continue reading “Want a six-figure publishing deal? Here’s how Kathleen MacMahon did it…”