Tuesday 11 November 2008

NI Writers - Could youse slow down with the greatness for a wee bit?

Seems like Northern Irish writers just don't rest.

What a week!

Ian Sansom is running a series of NaNoWriMo workshops from the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University every Wednesday at 1:00 pm throughout the month of November. I attended the first one, and was once again blown away by what an energetic, funny and excellent creative writing teacher he is. And who says those who can't teach? Next guy that does, I'm lobbing a copy of The Delegate's Choice at them.

Tomorrow's workshop will include a Q&A with Stuart Neville. I'll have to get there early and get a good seat.

And I told you about Brian McGilloway, right?

Sam Millar, media junky that he is, had even more kind words splashed about the papers this week.

Bloody Terrifying (This was the large headline across the page and cover of Bloodstorm).

Bleak, but written stylishly, this grim thriller frightened me to death and I don’t mind telling you it scared the living daylights out of me. I was almost trembling as I finished each page and began the next one. So much so, I’ll be sticking to Maeve Binchy for a few days, just to get over the shock of reading Bloodstorm.

So if you’re a man or indeed a woman who finds satisfaction in seeing the crime solved at the end, thought quite often seeing the baddies get away with it, then you’ll love Bloodstorm. If you don’t mind threading where angels fear to tread, this book is for you. Definitely not one for the faint-hearted.

As I said at the start of my review, I’m now delving into my Maeve Binchy collection to try and purge the nightmare imagery of Bloodstorm from my mind. An accomplished but absolutely terrifying read.

Sharon Owen, editor, Belfast Telegraph, Books Weekend

Yes, when you write the kind of hard-hitting fiction Sam specialises in, these are indeed kind words.

What else? Well, he may not be crime fictiony, but he is Northern Irish, and his last two book launches were held at No Alibis, so that qualifies him. Ian McDonald's latest novel, Brasyl, was long-listed for the Warwick Prize for Writing, which kicks back a monetary prize as generous as the Man Booker does.

And speaking of Norn Iron writers who launch their books from David Torrans's fine establishment, literary Belfast man, Glen Patterson did a bit on Good Morning Ulster while I was stuck in traffic in an effort to teach the nation how to use the humble apostrophe. Green grocers, take note.

And Tony Bailie is still plugging away over at ecopunks. He has some interesting stuff to say about John Banville/Benjamin Black.

No doubt McKinty, Bateman, Downey et al those unmentioned also did some marvellous things this week, but I'm meant to be writing here. I've signed myself up for NaNoWriMo and I've still 35K words to write. Thank you, Ian Sansom and Stuart Neville.

One more thing. Check out Tammy Moore's revamped website. On this page alone you'll find articles aplenty I wish I'd written.

What you waiting for?


adrian mckinty said...

Nice line from Tony about Banville:

"However, the flimsy plot is a subservient vehicle whose sole purpose is to provide a washing line on which Banville can hang out his meticulously laundered prose."

Nice. But accurate? I think not. You dont put laundered anything on the washing line, do ya? I mean think about it, its all pressed and dried and in that weird plastic and you take it out and put on the washing line where the seagulls are going to crap all over it. Why? Cos thats what seagulls do mate. Deeply malevolent creatures with a hatred for humans, that's seagulls for you. Do you know that once I was walking down a street in Denver and I got shat on by a seagull. Denver, Colorado, a THOUSAND MILES from the nearest bit of ocean. I mean, come on....God I wish those the old rumors about the Chinese restaurants were true, seagulls need a bit of payback, they've had it their own way for far too long. Ever read that propaganda novel Jonathan Livingstone Seagull? No didnt ring true to me either...

Anyway back to Banville, I think you could apply that line that to much of his fiction. Like a Perec novel that's missing a letter so many of Banville's books seem to be missing one of the fundamentals of narrative fiction - a story.

Gerard Brennan said...

Seagulls... Man, your thought process is a little scary at times, but I can't disagree with your prejudice against seagulls. Those buggers and pigeons really piss me off. Seagulls, because they actually are aggressive, nasty bastards. Pigeons because they strut about Royal Avenue like they own the place. Pretty cocky for a bunch of winged rats.

I can't personally comment on the Banville/Black topic, though. Haven't read 'em. Floor's open though.