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International award for Edna O’Brien

East Clare author Edna O’Brien has won the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. It is a major award with a prize of $50,000 and it will be presented at the 2018 PEN American Literary Awards Ceremony in New York on Tuesday next. According to PEN America, the award is “conferred annually to a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents the highest level of achievement in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and/or drama, and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship”. PEN said Ms O’Brien’s “acclaimed work broke down social and sexual barriers for women in Ireland and beyond”. Born in Tuamgraney in 1930, the now 87-year-old Ms O’Brien went to school in Scariff and Loughrea. In 1960, her first novel, The Country Girls, was banned in Ireland, as were a number of subsequent novels. She has been a prolific writer in the years since and in 2002, In The Forest was …

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Rachael’s novel adventures

Shannon author and broadcaster, Rachael English’s second novel, Each and Every One, has just hit the bookshops. Rachael’s voice is among the most well-known in the country, as she presents Morning Ireland, and has more than 20 years’ experience on RTÉ Radio, after starting out on Clare FM, when Irish local radio was launched in 1989. Her first novel, Going Back, was quite well received on its release last year, but her nerves were still jangling last week, as she prepares to see how readers and critics react to the latest novel. Even presenting a radio show to hundreds of thousands of listeners isn’t adequate preparation, she said. “I’d love to be one of those people who doesn’t get nervous about these things but I do get far more nervous about book things than I have ever done about anything to do with broadcasting. It’s mad.” She said she feels like people will almost be passing judgement on a part …

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Clare author misses out on Man Booker shortlist

CLARE-based writer Niall Williams has missed out on being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. The Kilmihil resident was named on the longlist for the prestigious prize in July but was ruled out of the running when the final six were announced this week. Mr Willians’ book History of the Rain is set in the village of Faha in West Clare, where young Ruth Swain lies bedridden in an attic room piled high with 3,958 books. The character tells the story of herself, her father and the family of English clergymen from which he came. For the first time in its 46-year history, the £50,000 prize has been opened up to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Unfortunately the prize will not be coming to Ireland as Cork-born author Joseph O’Neill also missed out on the short list. Chair of the 2014 judges, AC Grayling, stated that reducing the 13 books on the …

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Clare IPSC to host Arab Jewish author

THE Clare branch of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign will have a public meeting next Tuesday with guest speaker Smadar Lavie. Ms Lavie is from Israel and is an anthropologist, professor and author whose mother’s family are Jewish Arabs from Yemen, while her fahter’s people are Jews from Lithuania. She is an ardent activist against racism towards Palestinians and Jews of Arab descent in Israel. Based at the University of California Berkeley, she has written or co-authored four books. Speaking in advance of her visit to Clare, Ms Lavie said that Israeli society is quite fractured between Jews of European descent, called Ashkenazi Jews, and Jews of Middle Eastern descent, or Mizrahi Jews. “Fifty per cent of the population are Jews from the Muslim and Arab world, from the margin of the Ottoman Empire, like Bulgaria or Turkey or the former Yugoslavia. Only 30% are Jews from Europe. However there are less than one per cent women professors who are of Mizrahi …

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Philomena author for Ennis Book Club Festival

MARTIN Sixsmith, the journalist and author, whose book inspired the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film Philomena, will appear at the Ennis Book Club Festival just days after the Academy Awards ceremony. He is just one of many well known authors and personalities who will visit the town in March for the popular festival. Ciana Campbell of the Ennis Book Club Festival voluntary committee said they are delighted to welcome Sixsmith to Ennis, along with the other participants. “It’s all taken off for him; it’s been brilliant so we are looking forward to welcoming him. In fact he seems very enthusiastic about coming here. He will be here just after the Oscars ceremony, but Oscar or no Oscar the success has been phenomenal for him,” she outlined. In 2009 Sixsmith wrote The Lost Child of Philomena Lee about the forcible separation of a Limerick mother and child by the nuns of an Irish convent during the 1950s, and the subsequent …

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