Friday, 26 September 2008

Team Read Presentation

Almost four hundred children completed Clare County Library’s Team Read, its Summer Reading Programme, during the months of July and August. For the seventh successive year all libraries in the county encouraged children to read a minimum of six books during the Summer holidays and provided incentives along the way to keep them motivated. On Friday the 3rd of October, Clare Inter-County hurler Tony Griffin will present certificates of merit to the children who completed the reading challenge at Áras an Chontae, Clare County Council Headquarters, New Road Ennis, beginning at 7.30pm.
All are welcome.

Hawking’s book to take flight!

George’s Secret Key to the UniverseThe cover of George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking will be blasted into space on the 12th of October. Richard Garriott will carry the book cover when he flies to the International Space Station which orbits the earth at a distance of 220 miles. The book will be signed by Lucy Hawking and printed by Stephen Hawking before it takes flight.

Big sales for Maeve Binchy continue

This Year it will be DifferentMaeve Binchy’s Christmas-themed collection, This Year It Will be Different, topped the UK bestseller charts in the week ending Sept 13th. It is the novelist’s fifth number one since 2003, selling an incredible 38,596 copies in that week alone.

Frank O’Connor Prize

Unaccustomed EarthJhumpa Lahiri won the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2008 for her collection Unaccustomed Earth. The annual award, worth €35,000, is the world’s richest short story prize. Lahiri’s debut collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her characters tend to be immigrants from India and their American-reared children, exiles who straddle two countries, two cultures, and belong to neither

Colfer is new Hitchhiker

Hitch Hikers Guide to the GalaxyArtemis Fowl creator Eoin Colfer has been commissioned to write a sixth installment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy series for Penguin. The new novel, entitled And Another Thing, will be published in October 2009. A spokesperson from Penguin said “There is an obvious fit with Eoin’s crazy, offbeat humour, and his love of technology and future/other worlds. Eoin has been a devoted fan of Adams since boyhood, so it’s a real marriage of these two creative brains”. Around 16 million copies of the Hitchhiker books have been sold around the world, with translations into 35 languages.

Short Story Competition

Mitchelstown International Short Story Competition 2008, formerly The William Trevor Short Story Competition, is now accepting entries. A shortlist of 20 stories will be selected by well known short story writers Nuala Ni Chonchuir and Vincent McDonnell, from which the winners will be chosen by writer John MacKenna. Each story should contain a maximum of 3000 words and should be submitted, by post only, on or before Friday 12th. December 2008. The winner will receive a prize of €2,500 and a laptop computer. Five runners up will receive cash prizes of €200each. There is an entry fee of €20.00 per entry and each entry must have an official entry form attached. Further details can be found on

All-Ireland Poetry Day

Poetry Ireland is to celebrate its 30th anniversary with a poetry reading in every county in Ireland on October 2nd. The Clare event, hosted by Salmon Poetry, will be at 7pm in The Courthouse Gallery, Parliament St, Ennistymon. Readings will be by poets Jessie Lendennie, Paul Allen, Michael Heffernan, Caroline Lynch, Pete Mullineaux and Knute Skinner. For further information contact Salmon Poetry at or phone 065 7081941 or see

Friday, 19 September 2008

The Oddest Book Title Award

The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year is presented annually by The Bookseller magazine. The award was first presented in 1978, when the prize went to the superbly named "Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice" written by various authors. The 2007 prize was awarded to a book entitled "If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs". Librarians, teachers and bookstore workers can all submit suggestions for the award. A list of finalists is compiled by Bookseller magazine, and released for public voting. The Diagram is unique in that spotters and judges alike do not actually have to read the books in question. Indeed, they are actively discouraged from doing so, in case a close knowledge of the subject makes them realise the book is less odd than it first appears. The imagination should be allowed to run wild. Winning the Diagram brings no immediate monetary reward for the author; instead it is the spotter of the title who receives a bottle of champagne. But most winning authors have been delighted at winning the award and at the ensuing publicity their book receives. Such publicity can transform the profile of a title, lifting it from academic obscurity to the front of bookshops. The 2006 winner, "The Stray Shopping Carts Of Eastern North America: A Guide To Field Identification", was displayed in stores across the world. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, a special Diagram of Diagrams prize was awarded to "Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers" – the 1996 winner. A book covering the Diagram Prize called "How to Avoid Huge Ships and Other Implausibly Titled Books" was published earlier this month.

"Little Croker" by Joe O’Brien

With All-Ireland fever having gripped the nation for the past few weeks, Joe O’Brien’s book for young GAA enthusiasts comes just at the right time. Danny Wilde wants his team, The Littlestown Crokes, to win the League and with the help of Mick, his coach and Dad, he knows they can. With the whole dressing room erupting with the chant that every game is to be played "like the All-Ireland Final", this team is going in only one direction! But it’s not going to be plain sailing…
Joe O’Brien is the author of the popular Alfie Green books for young readers. Little Croker is his first book about GAA player, Danny Wilde. It is a Blue Flag reader from O’Brien Press aimed at readers aged 10+ and is the first title in a great NEW Sports Fiction series.

Book Fest Recommended Reading Guide 2008

The Children’s Book Festival 2008 programme is now finalised and is available online here and from your local library. Kicking off on the 1st of October with children’s puppet theatre shows and art and poetry workshops, a non-stop series of readings, workshops, and other performances will take place as the festival rolls from the first week in October right to the end of the month. The 2008 edition of the Book Fest Recommended Reading Guide will be available free of charge in all libraries. This is an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in children’s books, containing book reviews, advice on reading matters and includes the latest and best titles published this year. Divided into separate sections featuring books for babies right up to teenagers it is one of the most popular resources for parents and teachers, helping them select quality books for children.

Getting Fathers Reading

Ladybird launched a new website this summer aimed at encouraging fathers to share books with their children. The website,, includes a pledge for dads promising to spend 10 minutes a day reading to their children. You will also find a book of the week on the site as well as top tips on reading with your baby or tips on getting boys into books. Check out the fun stuff and competitions for you to work on with your child also.

EPA Climate Change lecture

The Environmental Protection Agency, in response to the large number of requests for more lectures following the earlier series, will host another Climate Change lecture, on Tuesday, 21st October 2008, at the Mansion House, Dublin at 7.00 pm. The speaker will be Dr Wilfried Haeberli, Director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service, which is based in Geneva. He will speak on recent trends in global glacier changes. Dr Wilfried Haeberli will outline the findings from the recently published UNEP report on Global Glacier Changes: Facts and Figures. This report presents information on the latest fluctuations of glaciers and ice caps and underlies the overall trend of glaciers retreat. The report confirms that the average annual melting rate of glaciers appears to have doubled after the turn of the millennium with record losses in 2006 for a key network of reference sites. Dr Haeberli will outline the significance of recent trends in ice retreat in terms of impacts on the environment, human health, natural hazards, water and energy supply.
To book your (free) place, please email your contact details (name, organisation, phone number, email address) to Clara Clark, Clara Clark Event Management Ltd at with Climate Change 21 Oct in the subject line.
Simultaneous regional broadcasts of this lecture:
In response to requests for out-of-Dublin presentations and to reduce carbon footprint, it is hoped to simultaneously broadcast this lecture to seated audiences in the following locations: University of Limerick, NUI Galway, UCC, and Waterford IT. Booking to attend the lecture in the regional locations will be through local organisers in each of the hosting locations. Contact details will be provided in a follow-up post in early October.

Newmarket on Fergus Library’s Bookclub

Meeting once a month in Newmarket on Fergus Public Library, the bookclub is an ideal opportunity for people in the area to get together as a group to talk about the enjoyment to be had from books and reading. An average of 8 to 10 people attend to discuss newly discovered authors or to recommend some age-old favourites to the group. Pauline Whelan, Senior Library Assistant at the branch, sees the two-way merits of organising the meetings: book club members are introduced to a wider variety of reading material, while library staff get to know the reading choices of their patrons. New members welcome. For information on a book club near you see our list of library bookclubs.

Brian Keenan at Scariff Public Library

Scariff Harbour Festival Committee and Scariff Public Library were privileged to welcome author, poet, teacher and former hostage, Brian Keenan to speak at the new library in the village on August the 2nd 2008. Now in its sixth year, the festival continues to maintain well-established links with Northern Ireland. In something of a world exclusive, Brian read from his soon-to-be published memoir documenting his boyhood years in a working class area of East Belfast. The softly spoken author read some gently humourous accounts which portrayed a sensitive, intelligent boy inhabiting a fertile world of the imagination and one who already displayed a raging wanderlust. Brian greatly pleased his audience by engaging in a frank and fascinating question and answer session before leaving for a well deserved pint.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Booker Shortlist

The White TigerThe Man Booker Prize 2008 shortlist was announced on Tuesday 9th September. Two first-time novelists, Aravind Adiga and Steve Toltz, survived the cull of the longlist from thirteen novels to just six. Previous winners of the Booker Prize, John Berger and Salman Rushdie, failed to make this year's shortlist and Sebastian Barry is the only novelist shortlisted for this year's prize to have been previously shortlisted. Salman Rushdie had been hotly tipped to win the prize with The Enchantress of Florence which has been the bestselling of the longlisted titles. Linda Grant, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2002, is the only female author to make the shortlist of six. The other authors shortlisted are Philip Hensher and Amitav Ghost. The six authors also represent a broad geographical spread with two Indian authors, two English authors, an Australian author and an Irish author.
The six shortlisted novels are:
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Born in a village in heartland India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school by his family and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coals and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape - of breaking away from the banks of Mother Ganga, into whose depths have seeped the remains of a hundred generations. It is a tale of Balram’s journey from darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success.
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Told through the journals of Roseanne McNulty and her psychiatrist Dr Grene, the story that emerges - of Roseanne’s family in 1930s Sligo - is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. It is the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners. As their old family ties are washed away they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais or ship-brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races and generations.
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
In a red brick mansion block off the Marylebone Road, Vivien, a sensitive, bookish girl grows up sealed off from both past and present by her timid refugee parents. Then, one morning, a glamorous older man appears, dressed in a mohair suit, with a diamond watch on his wrist and a girl in a leopard-skin hat on his arm. He is her Uncle Sándor but why, is he so violently unwelcome in her parents’ home?
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
Set in Sheffield, The Northern Clemency charts the relationship between two families: Malcolm and Katherine Glover and their three children; and their neighbours the Sellers family, newly arrived from London. The novel is a moving portrait of Britain’s social landscape through the Thatcher era.
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
As he recollects the events that led to his father’s demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries - about his infamous outlaw uncle Terry, his mysteriously absent European mother, and Martin’s constant losing battle to make a lasting mark on the world he so disdains. A funny indictment of the modern world and its mores.

Literacy Week - “Story Bags” Workshop

Clare Family Learning Project

The Clare Family Learning Project at Clare VEC, together with The Clare Library Service, invite parents and their Primary School children to a “Story Bags” Workshop as part of Adult Literacy Week. These one hour workshops are on in the following libraries:
De Valera Public Library, Ennis on Monday 22nd Sept, 3.30pm
Sean Lemass Public Library, Shannon on Tues 23rd Sept, 3.30pm
Kilrush Public Library on Tues 23rd Sept, 3.30pm
Killaloe Public Library on Wed 24th Sept, 3.30pm
Ennistymon Public Library on Thurs 25th Sept, 3.30pm
Scariff Public Library on Thurs 25th Sept, 3.30 pm.
If you enjoy the workshop you can sign up for a six week course starting the following week. Participants of the course create their own ‘Story Sack’ made up of props related to a specific book. This is developed week by week as a different part of a book is focused on and the appropriate items are made and collected together in the bag. The process gives participants an opportunity to think about what elements there are to a book, the value of sharing books with children as well as being fun and creative. Each parent will get 2 FREE books, cloth bag and background. Please contact your local library for more information.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Oldest Irish Woman found at Caherconnell

Oldest Irish Woman found at Caherconnell
An ongoing archaeological dig at Caherconnell Stone Fort in the Burren has unearthed possibly the oldest Irish remains ever found. The incomplete skeleton, named Pauleen, which included a complete skull, was discovered this week by archaeologists working for TVAS Ireland, NUI Galway and volunteers. Graham Hull of TVAS says the skeleton is at least 4,000 years old. Read more...

Friday, 5 September 2008

Children's Book Festival 2008 at Clare County Library

Children's Book Festival 2008Details of Festival Events
Timetable of Events

Clare County Library’s children’s book festival programme is always jam-packed with a huge range of book-themed entertainment and activities and this year we offer an amazing line up of events to choose from. We’ve got brilliant authors, storytellers, animal shows, art workshops, and puppet shows for you to enjoy. The festival runs for the entire month of October and events are planned to take place in each of the fifteen libraries in the county.

The 2007 Children’s Book Festival was the biggest ever nationwide, with over 1,500 events taking place in libraries, schools, bookshops, and community arts centres all over Ireland. Almost 4,000 children attended events in County Clare and we hope to see you and your friends again this October.

Clare County Library would like to thank the kind sponsors of the festival. Because many schools arrange to bring classes to events, advance booking is recommended. Please contact the branch library you are attending to confirm age suitability for individual events. Check out the Children’s Book Festival website to enter two fabulous competitions with fantastic prizes!

Women and Words

Jennifer JohnstonWomen and Words is the subject of a six-part series on RTE Lyric FM which began on Saturday 23rd August and airs every Saturday at 3.00pm. In the first programme of the series, presenter Kay Sheedy spoke to Booker prize winning author Anne Enright. The poet Eavan Boland was the subject of the second programme in the series. Subsequent programmes will deal with Jennifer Johnston, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Maeve Binchy and Marie Jones.

Penguin Dating – where book lovers meet

Penguin DatingPenguin Dating is a collaboration between Penguin Publishers and online dating agency which went live on August 22nd. The site allows readers to find the ‘significant other’ of their dreams through books by matching them up with others who share their favourite books and authors. Penguin hopes that the site will restore "the importance of the written word to modern courtship". Members will be asked to write in their profile about the last book they read and will also be able to search through the site’s other profiles for mentions of their favourite book. The site has attracted thousands of hits from readers looking for Mr or Ms Right. Hopeful suitors will be able to sign up to the Penguin dating service for free, but must subscribe to contact other people on the site. Sarah at Penguin Books says “Books most certainly do bring people closer together. There’s something special about that moment when you mention a book you love and the other person not only agrees wholeheartedly, but loves it for all the same reasons you do. Is it a sign you’re meant to be together? There are many, many signs along the road to true romance, but a shared love of reading and books is pretty high up there. And who knows, maybe it’s one of the rungs of the ladder on the way down from that proverbial shelf.” See

World premiere of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped PyjamasThe world premiere of the feature film adaptation of Irish author John Boyne’s bestselling novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was screened in the Savoy Cinema in Dublin on Thursday 4th of September. Boyne’s 2006 novel has sold more that 3 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 30 languages. The story is seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences. The book was chosen as The Tubridy Show Listeners' Choice Award at the Irish Book Awards 2007 and also won The Bisto Book of the Year award for best children's book in 2007. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is released in Irish cinemas on September 12th with a 12A certificate.

Literary Picnic

Electric Picnic 2008Poetry, fiction and the spoken word all featured in events at the recent Electric Picnic festival in Laois. Speakers included Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright and Hugo Hamilton. There were readings of works by Wilde, Kavanagh, Beckett, Myles na gCopaleen, Sean O’Casey and Mary Lavin and the 30th anniversary of poetry Ireland was marked by poetry performances from John Corless, Kevin Higgins and Máighréad Medbh.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Google Chrome: new open-source browser

Google ChromeUsing components from Apple's Webkit and Mozilla's Firefox, Google have introduced Chrome, a new open-source web browser to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera. According to Google,"Google Chrome is clean and fast, like the classic Google homepage. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.Behind the scenes, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab working in isolation, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built V8, a more powerful JavaScript engine, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers."
Check it out for yourself at Watch the video at