I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Writers And Artists

Omani novelist wins Man Booker International

Jokha Alharthi's novel 'Celestial Bodies' provides readers with 'access to ideas and thoughts and experiences you aren’t normally given in English', according to the judges. The £50,000 prize money will be shared equally between Alharthi and her translator, Marilyn Booth.

Earning Death

Jean Rhys disappeared off everyone’s radar for fifteen years after the critical success of her pre-war novels, eventually emerging from poverty and obscurity to produce ‑ in spite of ill health and alcoholism ‑ her masterpiece, published to great acclaim in her late seventies.

Rooney and MacLaverty in International Dublin award shortlist

Two novels by Irish authors, 'Conversations with Friends' by Sally Rooney and 'Midwinter Break' by Bernard MacLaverty, will compete with eight others from France, Pakistan, the UK and the USA for a prize that is worth €100,000 to the winner.

WS Merwin 1927-2019

The much-decorated American poet – he won two Pulitzers and a National Book Award – was known for conveying ‘in the sweet simplicity of grounded language a sense of the self where it belongs, floating between heaven, earth and underground’.

Ernest Blythe and the Irish Language

Ernest Blythe, a south Antrim Protestant, appeared as the only Gaeilgeoir in his parish in the 1911 census. In this heavily Church of Ireland district, even the McCarthys and the Dohertys were Protestant.

Dublin honours classic O’Brien trilogy

In 1960 the Irish state banned Edna O’Brien’s novel ‘The Country Girls’. By that time O’Brien was living in England, where her books did not escape moral scrutiny and attempts at censorship either. Now she is equally honoured in her lands of birth and of adoption.

The Author of Himself

In his semi-autobiographical fiction James Joyce was not afraid to occasionally portray himself in a less than flattering light. But when the facts of his early life did not please him or suit his fictional purposes he was also very ready to edit them.

Power to the Imagination

In the context of the controversy over commissioning policy at the Abbey we should be reminded why theatre matters and the degree to which it is a barometer of a nation’s psychic health. Plays, musicals and other performances are manifestations of the imagination in its most live, energising and present form.

Come back to Erin?

James Joyce’s strategy was to write as an exile from Ireland. That this exile should follow him into eternity was not part of the plan. In the early years after his death the Irish authorities displayed great hostility towards him. That has changed. Is it time to think of bringing his body home?

Not Just Kooky

David Lynch spent five years getting Eraserhead made, from a screenplay of just twenty-one pages. One might think that only an extreme eccentric would make such efforts, but the image of Lynch as simply a kooky man is one that a new book sets out to dispel.

Remembering Bernard Loughlin

Bernard, the first director, with his wife, of the Annaghmakerrig writers' retreat, was a man to whom tranquility, the driest of humour and a down-to-earth sense of the ethereal seemed to come naturally.

Candide in the Eternal City

A French novel of the 1950s portrayed a still pagan Rome in which cardinals were addicted to scheming, money could buy sainthood and truth was not as simple to a young priest as it had once seemed. The novel was shocking for the time and was banned in Italy.