Tuesday 31 March 2009

"Local Elections" exhibition in Áras Contae an Chláir during April

Local Elections exhibition"Local Elections", an exhibition created by Local Authority Archivists, will be on show for one month from the 2nd April, 2009 in Clare County Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis. This exhibition was launched in Dublin by Mr. John Gormley, T.D., Minister of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government last November. The exhibition will feature exhibits connected with Clare’s Local Elections which will include a telegram sent by Eamon De Valera to his wife after his 1917 by-election victory over Irish Party candidate Patrick Lynch. Also on view will be voters' lists dating back to the 1860s and Board of Guardian Minute books demonstrating the predecessor bodies of the present local authority system. The exhibition will also include interesting insights into the difficulties faced by local government in the new Free State such as a report on the administration of Clare County Council dated the 12th November, 1923 as to the attendance of councillors at meetings "...the county council is composed of 31 members. The number of general meetings from June 1920 to February 1924 was eighteen…To appreciate the records of attendance I have to point out some difficulties under which the council laboured. Practically every member of the council was on the run, eight had their homes burned, and nine were either interned or imprisoned. For a considerable period it was not possible for them to assemble at the usual place of Meeting. Some of the meetings were held at midnight at specially chosen and scattered places under and by armed protection. It was only by cautious movements and grave risks many meetings were made possible and I have evidence to show where one member walked fifty miles to a council meeting rather than absent himself."

This exhibition seeks to highlight to the public the national story of local government and also the local impact it has had on its community. It begins in 1898 when the Local Government Act extended a franchise to vote to all owners and occupiers of property valued at £10 or more, which included heads of small farms and labouring households, male and female. On the 22nd April, 1899, newly elected councillors of County Clare met for the first time to pass resolutions on behalf of the people who elected them. Prior to 1899, local government lay in the hands of Grand Juries and Boards of Guardians who were mainly governed by local landlords. It is hoped as we move toward the upcoming local elections in June that it will heighten the awareness of the purpose and goals of local elections and the impact of local government has in our communities. Contact details: archivesrecords@clarecoco.ie or contact the archivist Rene Franklin on 065 6846 414/563. The panels accompanying the exhibits may be viewed by clicking here (PDF download).

Friday 27 March 2009

Lahinch Publican sings ‘The Old Rustic Bridge by the Mill’.

Tom Frawley, 89, runs a small pub in Lahinch, Co. Clare. A clip on YouTube shows Tom – the owner of a beautiful tenor voice - giving a rendition of ‘The Old Rustic Bridge by the Mill’. Tom’s pub has remained unchanged for decades and has been photographed and painted by many, including local artist, Eamon Doyle (see http://www.edoyleart.com/gallery/prints/714).

And click here for a photo on Flickr of "Tom Frawley, at 89 still pulling pints 353 days of the year in his lovely old fashioned pub in Lahinch. Attention to detail is still top of the morning routine".

Guilty Reading Secrets Revealed

Ninteen Eighty-fourAn online survey carried out by World Book Day this year has found that two thirds of people have claimed to have read a book they actually haven't. The principal reason given for lying is the desire to impress, and a reluctance to divulge the writers they really enjoy reading. The most popular book to have lied about reading is 1984 by George Orwell, with 42% of surveyed people saying they had said they had read it even if they hadn't. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy came second with 31%, and Ulysses by James Joyce was in third place with 25%.

Those who lied have claimed to have read:
1. Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell (42%)
2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (31%)
3. Ulysses by James Joyce (25%)
4. The Bible (24%)
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (16%)
6. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (15%)
7. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (14%)
8. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust (9%)
9. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama (6%)
10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (6%)

J.K. Rowling, John Grisham and Sophie Kinsella were among the authors that people actually did enjoy reading. 41% of respondents confessed to having turned to the back of the books to read the end before finishing the story. Additionally, 48% admitted to buying a book for someone else and reading it first. Many respondents, 91%, said that they had stayed up late at night to finish reading a book. The survey also found that people can't bear to throw their books away, with 77% of respondents saying they buy extra bookshelves when they fill up. In another survey for World Book Day undertaken by Sky Arts’ “The Book Show”, it was revealed that 56% of people would like to write a book, with most women (18%) wanting to write crime/thriller or mystery and most men (20%) wanting to write sci fi and fantasy. 11% of those asked also revealed that they have written a book but not yet had it published. The survey found that book club numbers have doubled over the past year. It also revealed that 44% of children claimed they would rather be reading books than speaking to their friends on social networking sites, reading magazines, using Twitter or blogging.

Diagram Prize Winner

The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais has been crowned the winner of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. The Bookseller magazine which runs the prize say that the book is a worthy winner, beating off competition from Baboon Metaphysics, Curbside Consultation of the Colon and The Large Sieve and its Applications to take the prize. The author is Professor Philip M. Parker, a professor of management science, who has written more than 200,000 books to date. Parker achieves his prolific authorship thanks to his invention - and patenting - of a machine which writes books, creating them from internet and database searches in order to eliminate or substantially reduce "the costs associated with human labour, such as authors, editors, graphic artists, data analysts, translators, distributors and marketing personnel".

Monday 23 March 2009

Try Before You Buy

Penguin TastersPenguin is now making the first chapter of every novel it publishes available on the internet for free at Penguin Tasters from where they can be read on screen, downloaded and printed or put on an iPhone or Blackberry. Current offerings include This Charming Man by Marian Keyes and Until It’s Over by Nicci French. This service should prove popular in the current economic climate as people have less money and are becoming more discerning in their spending choices. Readers are returning to the classics, with Penguin reporting increased sales of classic novels such as those by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope, while Amazon are also noticing a boom in 19th century novels. Award winning books are achieving higher sales than usual as people want a guarantee of quality and awards seem to promise this. Sales of misery memoirs have plummeted as readers look for something more uplifting in these recessionary times. Thrillers and other forms of escapist fiction are selling better than ever, as are books that try to explain the current financial crises, books about growing vegetables, slow cooking and knitting. Sales of books in hardback formats are also down as people are prepared to wait for the cheaper paperback formats. Advances to authors are being reduced and first time authors are finding it harder to be published as publishers are feeling the pinch.

Another Award for Heaney

Poet Seamus Heaney has won the David Cohen Prize for Literature for 2009. The prize, worth £40,000, was presented by the chair of judges and Poet Laureate Andrew Motion at a gala ceremony hosted by the British Library. Presenting the prize, Andrew Motion said “For the last forty-odd years, Heaney’s poems have crystallised the story of our times, in language which has bravely and memorably continued to extend its imaginative reach. At the same time, his critical writing, his translations and his lecturing have invigorated the whole wider world of poetry. Setting his name alongside previous winners does honour to the Cohen Prize, even as it honours him.” The winner of the David Cohen Prize for Literature chooses the recipient of the Clarissa Luard Award, which is worth £12,500. This award is funded by Arts Council England and is given to a literature organisation that supports young writers or an individual writer under the age of thirty-five. Seamus Heaney chose to present this year’s Clarissa Luard Award to Poetry Aloud, an annual poetry speaking competition open to all post primary students in Ireland. The competition is run by the National Library in association with Poetry Ireland.

Bisto Children’s Book of the Year Awards Shortlist Announced

The Bisto Children’s Book of the Year AwardsThe Bisto Children’s Book of the Year Awards, in partnership with Children’s Books Ireland are presented annually in recognition of excellence in writing and/or illustration of books for young people. The awards are administered by CBI, the national organisation for children’s books and sponsored by Bisto Gravy. The awards are open to any children’s book by an author and/or illustrator born or resident in Ireland, written in Irish or English and published between 1st January and 31st December each year. Speaking about the shortlist, Keith O’Sullivan, Chair of the 2008-9 Judging Panel, said: “This year's shortlist is exceptionally strong and diverse: it is characterised by quality writing and illustration, which afford readers, of all ages, exciting opportunities to engage with a range of themes from adventure, friendship and belonging to conflict and loss.”
The shortlist:
Airman by Eoin Colfer.
An Phleist Mhór le Ré O’Laighléis, Susan Edwards & Emily Colenso
Anila’s Journey by Mary Finn
Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
"Brionglóidí" le Áine Ní Ghlinn & Carol Betera
Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson
Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle
Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson
The Gift of the Magi Illustrated by PJ Lynch
The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers

Both Ré O’Laighléis and Kate Thompson have close connections with Clare County Library, Kate having begun her writing career in the late 80s as a member of the North Clare Writer’s Workshop in Ennistymon Public Library.

Ré O’Laighléis lives in Ballyvaughan and is a regular visitor to Clare library branches providing reading and writing workshops for post-primary school pupils during Seachtain na Gaeilge and Children’s Book Festival. He has recently completed a series of creative writing classes in Sean Lemass Public Library Shannon with a group of twelve students from both St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School and St. Caimin’s Community School in the town.

Author Áine Ní Ghlinn, also shortlisted, visited Clare Library branches during Seachtain na Gaeilge 2008.

Friday 13 March 2009

A World Book Day Gathering of Clare’s Young Poets

Terry McDonagh & BoxesFinalists in Clare County Library’s Poetry Celebration came together to read their poems for a large audience of children, parents and teachers at Ennis Town Council’s Waterpark House on Thurs the 5th of March, World Book Day.

Hundreds of entries were judged in four different categories by Terry McDonagh, an Irish poet and dramatist of international acclaim. He has published several collections of poetry, a book of letters, a novel for young people and, in 2006, a collection of poetry for young people called BOXES. He has been writer in residence in Australia, Asia, several European countries and in Ireland where he was resident writer in Coole Park, County Galway, in 2006. Now living in County Mayo, Terry will be known to teachers and schoolchildren from his workshops in Clare library branches which he visited during Children’s Book Festival 2008. He has also organised and presented creative writing workshops, drama workshops, in-service courses for teachers and poetry readings for children and adults all over Ireland in recent years.

“In all about 700 entries from both primary and secondary schools flooded their way into the library and then on to me” said Terry. “Subjects ranged from colours to football to half-broken hearts. I managed to whittle the total number of entries down to about 80 and these will be included in an anthology published by the library. At a time when we hear nothing but tales of downturn and woe, it is vitally important that we continue to fill our minds with quality, imagination and creativity. The library’s initiative to encourage collaboration between the library and schools in the county is a positive step to encourage this. We are seen as a literary people in many countries, and having read the students’ scripts, I feel certain that our poetic future is in safe hands. We can only wish that a number of these young people who participated in the poetry competition will benefit from their poetic journey.”

The children’s poems will be published in the coming months by Clare County Library and each finalist will receive copies of the publication, which will also be stocked in all branches of Clare County Library. The winning poems were submitted by children from the following Primary Schools; Barefield, Sixmilebridge, Lahinch, Ballycar, Meelick, Mol an Oige, Ennistymon, Killaloe Boys National School, Lakyle, Gaelscoil Mhichil Chiosog, Knockanean, Quin, Liscannor, Corofin, Scoil Chriost Ri Cloughleigh, St. Aidan’s Shannon, and Connolly National School. Poetry from two post-primary schools were also shortlisted for publication; Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon and St. Caimin’s Community School, Shannon.

Ennis Considered Perfect Location for Book Club Festival

The 2009 Ennis Book Club Festival, in association with Clare County Library, has just ended for another year. Hundreds of literary enthusiasts gathered in Ennis from 6th – 8th March for the third annual event which featured well-known writers such as John Connolly, Mark O’Halloran, Gerard Stembridge, Peter Cunningham, Jennifer Johnston and many more. The festival was deemed to be a resounding success and both festival goers and authors thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Highlights of the weekend included “The Trial of Oscar Wilde” which took place at Ennis Courthouse and which was full to capacity; the Sunday Symposium in Glór where a panel of speakers, Terry Prone, Michael D. Higgins, Gerry Adams and Conor O’Clery treated the packed audience to an entertaining and informative discussion on “Reading Politics”; and John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, along with UK based writer Salley Vickers in an interview with Rachael English. The programme included very popular workshops on reading novels and poetry, tips for book clubs and recommended reading lists. As in previous years, many visitors commented on the town of Ennis as a perfect location for a festival such as this, on the excellent venues, and on the warm welcome they received.

Dates for the 2010 festival have been set from 5th – 7th March.

City-Lit: new series of travel books

City-Lit ParisA new series of travel books is to be published by travel publisher Oxygen beginning this month. The books take the form of literature anthologies on each city and will include excerpts from books as well as specially commissioned writing which aim to capture the essence of a place. Entitled City-Lit, the series will offer the unique feel for the sights, sounds and flavours of the city that only the very best writers can provide. Malcolm Burgess, the founder of Oxygen, said: "They will be bought by armchair travellers as well as by people visiting the city. There isn't anything quite like this on the market. We are obsessed and enthusiastic about cities and writing. Our only criterion is lovely, brilliant writing. It can be literary, journals, blogs or graffiti written on a bus stop." Unlike other travel guides the books will comprise a selection of writing about the particular city. There will be no glossy photographs, just simple line drawings and black and white text.

City-lit Paris is due to be published on March 31st and is described as the perfect city break guide to la vie parisienne. From Joanne Harris, Julian Barnes, Kate Mosse and Irène Némirovsky to Stephen Clarke, Gertrude Stein, Proust and Claude Izner, over seventy extraordinary writers provide the perfect Paris companion. Other city-lit guides to be published in 2009 include London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Dublin with titles in 2010 to include Istanbul, Mumbai, New York and Rome.

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Diagram prize for Oddest Book Title

Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social MindA global perspective on soft cheese packaging, the summation of a lifetime's work on monkey-related philosophy, and the long-awaited book-length consideration of Large Sieves are among the books in contention for the Bookseller magazine's annual Diagram prize for oddest title, in a year that judges have declared outstandingly strange. This year's winner will be decided by a public vote at www.thebookseller.com, and will be announced on 27 March.
The shortlisted titles are:
Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind by Dorothy Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth (University of Chicago Press);
Curbside Consultation of the Colon: 49 Clinical Questions by Brooks D Cash (SLACK Incorporated);
The Large Sieve and its Applications by Emmanuel Kowalski (Cambridge University Press);
Strip and Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski (C&T);
Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring by Lietai Yang (Woodhead);
The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M Parker (Icon Group International).

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. 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.

The Book of Kells into film

The Secret of Kells, an animated film based on one of Ireland’s finest national treasures, The Book of Kells is released this month. The film is the brainchild of Tomm Moore who has produced Irish language graphic novels through The Cartoon Saloon. Tomm was also the creator of last year’s Children’s Book Festival official poster and artwork.

Romantic Novel of the Year 2009

East of the SunJulia Gregson’s East of the Sun, a story about love, friendship and adventure, has won the Romantic Novel of the Year 2009. Organised by the Romantic Novelists' Association, the award recognises the best of the year's novels exploring the deep mysteries of the human heart. East of the Sun tells the story of Rose, going to India to marry a man she hardly knows, her bridesmaid Victoria who is determined to find a husband, and their chaperone Viva, who wants to rediscover the India of her childhood. Cecelia Ahern’s Thanks for the Memories was one of the shortlisted titles.

Get involved with the Bisto Book of the Year Awards

The Bisto Book of the Year Awards will be announced on March the 11th and the winners will be announced on May 20th. If a school or reading group would like to get involved in shadowing the Awards more information is available from info@childrensbooksireland.ie

Thursday 5 March 2009

Ennis Book Club Festival, Friday 6th to Sunday 8th March

This year’s event, in association with Clare County Library, takes place from 6th – 8th March. The Ennis Book Club Festival is a unique literary and social gathering for book clubs and book lovers everywhere. The programme has a very broad brief, reflecting the reading passions and interests of the many people who attend the festival. It covers fiction, poetry, crime, short stories, memoir etc. Diverse themes are celebrated and explored through readings, lectures, workshops, debates, music, and even chocolate tastings! The festival also includes walking tours, advice on book clubs and reading lists, and opportunities to meet other Book Club members. The ideal recipe for a great weekend in Ennis!

Authors/speakers will include John Boyne, Jennifer Johnston, Salley Vickers, Gerard Donovan, Gerard Stembridge, Gerry Adams, Kevin Myers, Conor O’Clery, Mark O’Halloran, Michael D. Higgins, Terry Prone, Aifric Campbell, Manchán Megan, Allan Guthrie, Rita Ann Higgins, Medbh McGuckian, Micheal O’Siadhail and more.
Festival programme here >>
Further details at www.ennisbookclubfestival.com
To book events contact Glór Box Office at 065 6843103.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Seachtain na Gaeilge at Clare Museum

Clare MuseumFor Seachtain na Gaeilge 2009, Clare Museum is offering tours on the heritage of Gaeilge as displayed in the museum’s exhibition. As well as being available through Irish, the tours will be about the Irish language in a County Clare context. Each tour will discuss the language generally in the county and famous names associated with its preservation e.g. Brian Ó Looney, Stiofán Ó hÉalaoire, Eugene Ó Curry etc. It will also look at examples of Clare placenames and how they can illustrate the depth of the Irish language heritage in the county. The tours can be trí mhean na Gaeilge or bilingual, depending on requirements. During the week, a speaker will give three tours at 10am and 12pm for Primary Schools, and 2pm for Secondary Schools, and each tour will be up to 45 minutes in duration. Places are limited to 35 pupils for each tour and bookings can be made by calling the curator at 065-6823382 or by email at claremuseum@clarecoco.ie. It is essential to book early to avoid disappointment.

Clare Museum - Seachtain na Gaeilge, 2009 - March 3rd – 6th
Turasanna Ghaeilge an Chláir:
• 10.00am (Primary Schools)
• 12.00pm (Primary Schools)
• 2.00pm (Secondary Schools)

Escape Velocity - New Works by Ivan Twohig

Escape VelocityAn exhibition of new works by Clare-born artist Ivan Twohig takes place in Glór from the 6th to the 23rd March 2009. "Escape Velocity is a term used to describe how, in (post)modern culture, things seem to lose sight of their historical references to reality and enter into a new stage of the hyper-real. Contemporary art often makes reference to previous artworks in some sort of hope of validation. What does this desire to wittily reference past masters or art history in modern art really say about the current state of art and culture in general?" The works on show mix art history with elements of comedy and contemporary mass culture. Not to be missed.

Living Through Air: New Paintings & Video Installation by Frank Golden

Goose, by Frank GoldenWell known poet and artist Frank Golden presents a new exhibition of paintings and video installation at the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon from March 13th to March 28th 2009. This show concerns itself with depictions of extreme events, extreme realities, notably paintings of the jumpers from the twin towers, which are based on downloaded photographs from the net. Other sequences depict war, torture, rape, and privation in a pop figurative manner. Frank Golden has been a working artist for over twenty years and has exhibited widely. “LivingThrough Air” will be his fourth one-person show. His published works include In Daily Accord (Salmon Press), The Interior Act (Salmon Press), Two Women of Aganatz (Wolfhound Press), and On Route to Leameneh (Raven Arts Press). He has received a variety of awards from The Arts Council, The Film Board, and Clare County Council and the forthcoming exhibition show prove a great attraction at this lively venue.