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Welcome to the DBF Lounge!

Sit down and relax in the DBF Lounge- where we at the towers have a chat with some of this year’s authors. We find out everything from who influenced them most to what they would most like to steal from another author if they could!

DBF Interviews: Martina Devlin

by Admin on November 12, 2014

Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

On Friday, 14 November, journalist and author Martina Devlin will speak at DBF’s Historical Fiction event. We spoke with her about her novel The House Where it Happened, future projects and historical fiction as a genre.

Q: You have a varied background as a journalist and a writer. How did you come to write historical fiction?

I’ve always read historical fiction since I was a little girl. I was drawn to it because of the way the historical setting can enhance a story. So when I began writing books it was in the back of my mind to try the genre. But it’s difficult – although not impossible – to write a historical novel as your first book, so I didn’t attempt it for a while. Then in 2007 I found a story I was keen to write, and it happened to be set in 1912. That was Ship of Dreams, a Titanic narrative inspired by a true story in my family. And once I’d had one historical novel published, the bug was embedded in me.

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DBF Interviews: Thomas Morris

by Admin on November 12, 2014

Thomas Morris

Thomas Morris

Thomas Morris, editor of The Stinging Fly, talks to us about being editor of Dubliners 100. He will chair a discussion with three of the contributing authors on Saturday 15 November.

Q: When did you first start entertaining the idea of doing Dubliners 100? Was it something that, once you’d had the idea, came about relatively quickly, or did it take some convincing on your part before everyone was on board?

I had the idea a couple of years ago, but when I approached publishers I was promptly put on the ‘Do not reply to this person; he may be armed’ pile.  But before they became Tramps, I had casually mentioned the concept to Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen, and they understood it immediately. A while later, they duly emailed with a very short message, saying, ‘We’re a publishing company now – shall we do the Dubliners 100 book?’ and my initial response was just, ‘Ughhhhhh… I’ve actually got to do this now.’ I was prepared for a struggle.

Fortunately, I had spoken to John Boyne about the project before a publisher had gotten on board and he said he’d love to be involved. (Incidentally, his version of ‘Araby’ is wonderful.) I think his early Yes really helped give the project credence from the start. A few authors were too tied up with their own projects to contribute (or, at least, they told me this to spare my feelings) but the response was strangely positive. Writers really wanted to be involved.

When it came to ‘The Dead’, I thought we might actually have a struggle persuading a writer to give it a go, but up stood Peter Murphy, and he’s utterly transformed the original and made it something wholly new and wholly brilliant. I saw him read his version in its entirety recently and it’s just magnificent.

But yes, as soon as Tramp gave the thumbs up, the whole thing took less than a year. The contributors and the publishers were uniformly superb.

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DBF Interviews: Peter Cunningham

by Admin on November 11, 2014

Peter Cunningham

Peter Cunningham

Earlier this year, Liberties Press released Sister Caravaggio, a mystery novel written by seven different authors. We are delighted to have some of those authors present at DBF at an event on Sunday, 16 November. In anticipation of this exciting discussion, hosted by Tony Clayton-Lea, we spoke with Sister Caravaggio‘s general editor – novelist and nominee for the Irish Fiction Laureate  Peter Cunningham – about how the project came to be and what attendees can expect on the 16th.

Q: Can you explain the genesis of the Sister Caravaggio project? 

It happened a few years ago over coffee with two other authors – Mary O’Donnell and Neil Donnelly – when someone wondered aloud if more than one writer could write a novel. We began to throw around some ideas. Before we knew it, we had a convent, six nuns and a Caravaggio painting.

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DBF Interviews: Myles Dungan

by Admin on November 7, 2014

Myles Dungan

Myles Dungan

On Sunday, 16 November, DBF is pleased to host an exciting event commemorating the Irish involvement in World War One. Join historian Turtle Bunbury as he speaks with Myles Dungan, presenter of RTÉ Radio’s The History Show and author of numerous books on Irish and American history, including the recently revised Irish Voices from the Great War. Below are his thoughts on making history accessible and on a recent resurgence of interest in World War 1.

Q: Irish Voices from the Great War was recently re-published. In the 20+ years since its initial release, have you witnessed more interest in the Irish role in WWI? What prompted a new edition?
There has been an upsurge of interest in WW1 in Ireland in the last twenty years, especially relation to Irish involvement. This has been reflected in both a greater public awareness of the subject and an enormous amount of new scholarship on the subject. The new edition was prompted by the centenary of the start of the Great War and the fact that elements of the book had been supplanted by subsequent scholarship. Hence the re-writing of those elements and the addition of new material that I have been researching.
Q: Can you explain some of the ways that you make history accessible to the ‘layman’? 
The key to accessibility is an interesting narrative or narratives. While good history writing should be analytical I often think it conflates literature and literary criticism – it should offer a clear readable narrative and then its own analysis of that narrative.
Q: What can attendees of the event with you and Turtle Bunbury expect? 
A tour de force from the inimitable and always affable Turtle and waves of jealousy from me as the faithful gather to get him to sign dozens of copies of his book.

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DBF Interviews: Sinéad Gleeson

by Admin on November 4, 2014

Sinead Gleeson

Sinead Gleeson

Sinéad Gleeson, presenter and journalist, will be bringing The Anti Room to DBF on Saturday 15 November, to discuss issues surrounding women’s writing in 2014. Here she talks about women-only prizes and female voices in Irish literature.

 

Q: Have you noticed any considerable changes in how women’s literature is addressed since you co-founded The Anti Room in 2008?

Literature changes constantly, regardless of gender, but I have noticed that since we started The Anti Room in 2008, the social media surge has brought a lot more women’s voices to the fore. I hear about so many new, brilliant writers via Twitter, and not just ones publishing novels or fiction, but women writing important and declarative essays and prose on sites like Slate, Medium, The Atlantic and The Hairpin.
It’s also where I first heard about the #ReadWomen2014 campaign.

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DBF Interviews: Valerie Pierce

by Admin on November 4, 2014

Valerie Pierce

Valerie Pierce

Valerie Pierce, creator of the Clear & Critical Thinking training modules, will be a panelist at the DBF Business Clinic event on Friday 14 November. Here, she shares her advice for how to focus one’s thinking for business success and gives a taste for what participants can expect at the Business Clinic event.

Q: ‘Clear & Critical Thinking’ training modules have a number of tools to help professionals focus their thinking and subsequently improve their productivity.  Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how that led to the creation of your original training concept?

My background is in philosophy.  I studied philosophy at Trinity College Dublin and then went on to Bristol University to do postgraduate work. It was while working my way through college as a Receptionist at a Bristol Management Training School, that I noticed a gap in the corporate/business training market. There were lots of great programmes on psychology – how people behave, and how to make them better behave – but none focused on how we think and how to improve our thinking skills for better decision making, problem solving, etc.

So with my background in philosophy, where we spend a lot of time thinking about how we think (too much some would say…), I created a course that I hoped would appeal to a business audience, helping them achieve their peak performance in their everyday operations. I called this new training concept ‘Clear & Critical Thinking’. That was over 20 years ago and today we run ‘Clear & Critical Thinking’ Courses with major corporations, government bodies, voluntary services and Business Schools throughout Ireland, UK, Europe and in the USA.

I would encourage any young person to follow their intuition in this way also.  If you feel you have a good idea – an idea that will answer a business need – have the guts to go with it.  You will enjoy yourself and the rewards are just fantastic. [click to continue…]

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DBF Interviews: Conor Kenny

by Admin on October 31, 2014

Conor Kenny

Conor Kenny

On Friday, 14 November, DBF is excited to host The Business Clinic, a panel discussion of local business leaders. We spoke with Conor Kenny, of Conor Kenny & Associates, about Ireland’s current business climate, his philosophy about success, and what attendees can expect from The Business Clinic.

Q: Your firm, Conor Kenny & Associates, works with the hospitality industry. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how that led to the creation of your company?

My degree was in Philosophy which guaranteed a young graduate emerging into a world completely confused about something as earthly as ‘work’. Like most young graduates, I had no idea what I wanted to do except get as much money as I could earn for as little effort as possible. The budding Philosopher in me felt I could ‘think’ my way to a fortune but reality intervened all too quick. Like most people, my career meandered in search of my passion.

My summer jobs, in an era of unemployment, were probably my first learning adventures into an entrepreneurial path. One year, I couldn’t get a job, there were none. I needed to fund my summer fun so I started cleaning windows. The first house I ever did took me three hours, the last, fifteen minutes. That was lesson one. [click to continue…]

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DBF Interviews: Sarah Davis-Goff

by Admin on October 23, 2014

Sarah Davis-Goff

Sarah Davis-Goff

Sarah Davis-Goff, co-founder of Tramp Press, will be participating on one of our panels as part of our Meet The Publishers and Agents event on Sunday, 16 November. Here we discussed her experiences in the publishing industry and the ambitious future of Tramp Press.

 

 

Q: Having worked in New York, London and Dublin with various publishing companies, including Penguin and The Lilliput Press, you’ve considerable experience in the industry, so has co-founding Tramp Press been what you expected it to be?

Happily, my experiences in setting up Tramp Press with my business partner, Lisa Coen, have been really the best-case scenario of what I was expecting. Apart from the fact that we love what we do, working with Lisa is always inspiring, and we have a lot of fun. We were also really lucky in that Donal Ryan starting becoming a big name just as we were launching, and we got lots of interest just because of that. Our team – our publicist, Peter O’Connell, our designers, our typesetter – are wonderfully talented. So much depended on how other people in the Arts receive us and thank goodness we’ve had nothing but encouragement and support which has really meant a lot. The biggest risk I think was the assumption we made when we were setting up as a publisher that the talent would be out there, and, happily, it really is. The country is awash with literary talent.

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DBF Interviews: Peter Murphy

by Admin on October 21, 2014

Peter Murphy

Peter Murphy

Next up in our series of interviews is journalist and author Peter Murphy, whose novel Shall We Gather at the River was published by Faber & Faber last year. A contributor to Dubliners 100, Peter will be at DBF Saturday, 15 November.

Q: Can you explain the genesis of the Dubliners 100 project? How did you get involved?

Lisa Coen from Tramp contacted me about a year ago and told me about Thomas Morris’s evil plan to desecrate Joyce’s legacy, of which I wholeheartedly approved. There was a wee bit of a scramble as authors swarmed all over their favourite stories. I was slow off the mark and got lumbered with the dunce’s prize: a mandate to rewrite (or ‘cover’ in Tom’s parlance), the greatest short story ever written. Ulp, says I. I chewed on the idea of ‘The Dead’ for a while. Then I thought about the idea of Tramp Press itself. Then I took the dog for a walk around the wasteland at Wexford harbour, and I imagined a bunch of hobos sitting around in a sort of war-torn wasteland where the only story left intact was ‘The Dead’, and I imagined the kind of arguments these jackdaw folk might have had around the tar-barrel at night. I sent on a draft to Tramp and they liked it and asked me to extend it. I wrote it for fun, with no thought of consequence. Tramp are brilliant to work with. Total manga warrioresses.

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DBF Interviews: Rob Doyle

by Admin on October 9, 2014

Rob Doyle

Rob Doyle

For our third author interview we talked to Rob Doyle, whose debut novel Here Are the Young Men was published by Lilliput Press earlier this year, about his approach to writing, writers he admires and his plans for the future. Rob will be participating in RTÉ Radio 1’s Arena Live Show.

Q: ‘Here Are The Young Men‘ is very much a novel about Ireland in a particular time: can you give us a brief overview of it and whether or not you think it has anything to say about the Ireland of today?

It’s about four young friends in Dublin who are epically pissed-off and become consumed by drugs, drink, nihilism and recreational atrocity. The novel takes place over a single summer: we watch as Matthew and the others are led into committing acts of cruelty and destruction by the malevolent Kearney, whose chief passions are hardcore porn, 9/11 footage, hash and Grand Theft Auto.

The novel does have a lot to say about contemporary Ireland. Like most novels, however, it offers a particular perspective on the society it depicts, rather than trying to account for the whole thing. The raw material of this novel is casual drug use, hard drinking, confused and excruciating sexuality, the loathing of youth for institutions which have lost legitimacy, suicide, violence, and a pervading sense of nihilistic despair. Not everyone in Ireland thinks much about these things or feels that they constitute contemporary Irish experience, but many do, and they will recognize a familiar social and existential landscape in Here Are the Young Men. For everyone else, there are plenty of sex jokes.

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