03 March 2021
Cúirt’s weekly roundup of entertaining recommendations
Welcome! Each week our Cúirt team gets together to discuss the latest news and updates literature & culture. Through a riveting discussion we choose a list of newsworthy events, as well as including throwbacks you might have missed. From poetry to podcasts, new releases and local news, our goal is to share creative & inspiring works. We welcome submissions from all aspects of the Arts. If you would like to be featured as part of ‘Bookmarked’ please email firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media using the hashtag #Cuirt2021
Memorial by Bryan Washington
‘A masterclass in empathy’ – The Gaurdian
This impressive debut novel, a follow-up to the award-winning story collection Lot, inhabits a gay relationship from both sides.
Benson and Mike are two young guys who have been together for a few years – good years – but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. There’s the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other. But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye.
In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past, while back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted…
Funny and profound, Memorial is about family in all its strange forms, becoming who you’re supposed to be and the outer limits of love.
Buy Now: https://charliebyrne.ie/
TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, that have a duration from three seconds to one minute. Booktok is the side of TikTok dedicated solely to literature. It’s where readers and writers can share their experiences, talk about their favorite books, and make other bookish friends.
There are a large number of accounts recommending diverse content including lgtbqia+ writers. There is a surprising amount of popular TikToks about works in progress, usually describing the aesthetic of worlds the writers create from authors who have not been previously published.
Tiktok can be downloaded for free on Google Play & the Apple App Store
Ennis Book Club Festival
The full programme for the 15th Ennis Book Club Festival has been announced. This year’s festival will be a hybrid of online events in March with live events taking place in April and September. As always Ennis Book Club Festival 2021 will offer opportunities to engage with favourite authors and features an additional programme of events for younger readers.
While the festival cannot welcome book lovers to Ennis this March as ever, it will provide plenty of events to stimulate discussion and inspire reading, from the comfort of the couch.
Commenting on the programme for the 2021 Ennis Book Club Festival, Artistic Director Dani Gill, says, “We have had to re-imagine the festival several times this year with the changing circumstances, and while people are having to remain at home, we hope that at least, there have been some good books on the go, and that people will engage with our online offerings next month.
“A lot of work has gone into supporting writers and publishers in the past year, and we are keen to meet readers, and to give readers the space to link in with us again, even when things look a bit different. We really appreciate everyone’s support, and we hope that people have some laughs and fun, especially with Colm O’Regan, Roddy Doyle and Patrick Freyne. These events were designed with warmth and comfort in mind, so that is what we want to deliver.”
Learn More: https://www.ennisbookclubfestival.com/
RTE Short Story Competition
Writers have until Friday 7 May, 2021 to submit their short story to this year’s competition, which will be judged by writers Lisa McInerney, Declan Hughes and Lucy Caldwell.
Lisa McInerney says: “One of the reasons Irish people have such an affinity for the short story, I think, is our lively, playful vernacular, our love of timing and tall tales, and commanding the attention of an audience. What I love to find in a short story is a fresh twist in the telling, whether through a clever turn of phrase, or special clarity of character. And all the better if we can hear the heart beating in every sentence.”
Fellow judge, Lucy Caldwell says: “When you’re writing your story for the RTÉ Short Story Competition, you are writing for the listener, even more than for the reader. I still think it’s a kind of magic, that a stranger’s voice can travel over that mysterious thing called airwaves, and reach us, enter us, disarm or distract or maybe even change us. These are your super powers. Use them wisely – use them well. I can’t wait to hear your stories.”
And Declan Hughes says: “The Irish short story is in rude health, with a vigorous infrastructure of literary journals, magazines and publishing opportunities. I read a lot of work in progress and can testify to the seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy and talent out there. I’m very much looking forward to reading the submissions for RTÉ’s Francis MacManus Short Story award, which has played an important role in the development of Irish short fiction for over 30 years.”
The 35-year-old literary prize recognises and rewards the best new Irish fiction writing for radio. Free to enter, last year’s competition, which coincided with Ireland’s first lockdown, attracted record entries – over 4,000.
A shortlist of ten stories will be announced in September, and the top prizewinners will be announced on an Arena special programme later on.
The overall winner will receive €3,000, while €2,000 and €1,000 will be awarded to the second and third place prize winners respectively. A further seven runners-up will receive €250 each, and all 10 shortlisted stories will be published on rte.ie/culture and broadcast in a season of new writing on RTÉ Radio 1 in the autumn.
Learn More: https://www.rte.ie/radio1/francis-macmanus-short-story/
Women Writers of the West
A new online book club to examine the work of Elaine Feeney, Mary Costello, and Nuala O’Connor in its opening weeks.
Award winning Galway writers Elaine Feeney, Mary Costello, and Nuala O’Connor will be the focus of the opening weeks of a new online book club – Women Writers of the West.
An initiative of Galway Public Libraries, and supported by Creative Ireland, Women Writers of the West aims to shine a spotlight on the vibrant contemporary women’s writing scene in Connacht. It will be facilitated by writer and curator, and former Cúirt director, Emily Cullen.
The club begins on Tuesday February 16 and will continue each Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm over six weeks during February and March. It will explore the work of three Galway writers and their work: Elaine Feeney’s As You Were, Mary Costello’s Academy Street, and Nuala O’Connor’s Becoming Belle.
Book Now here.