Abbey rejuvenates Peacock and Fiona Shaw comes to Wexford

Dead Centre’s new work, Hamnet, a monologue for an 11-year-old boy inspired by the death of Shakespeare’s young son, will be developed in the space before premiering in Berlin’s Schaubune in April. The Abbey’s new directors, Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, are hoping to fire it up again. McCafferty’s play, Fire Below, in a co-production with Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, is a black comedy in which two couples reveal their deepest prejudices over a wine-soaked evening. They are joined by debut appearances from Scotland’s Frances Poet, with an adaptation of Jean Racine’s Andromaque, What Put the Blood In, and from Irish writer Simon Doyle, with a version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, set in West Kerry, and called The Shitstorm. The Abbey Theatre has announced a programme of 20 productions for the Peacock, the National Theatre’s problematic studio space. Theatre Lovett will also visit with They Called Her Vivaldi, while developing a new piece, Frankenstein. Rapid-reaction events The venue will host six visiting productions, including Pat Kinevane with his trilogy Forgotten, Silent and Underneath; Syrian dancer Mithkal Alzghair’s war-themed work Displacement; and Druid’s new production of Mark O’Rowe’s horrific fantasy Crestfall. The programme includes new plays by Owen McCafferty, Stacey Gregg and Dead Centre. Also on the bill is Jacopo Foroni’s Margherita, and Franco Alfano’s Risurrezione. Gregg’s latest, Josephine K and the Algorithms, is about the age of big data and the intrusion of tech into politics. The highlight is a version of Medea directed by Fiona Shaw. Their intention is also to make it a flexible and responsive venue, with three rapid-reaction events scheduled for May, featuring “urgent responses to urgent issues”. The venue is described as “The engine room of Irish theatre” on its entrance but in recent years it has been largely inactive. ADVERTISEMENT Meanwhile, Wexford Festival Opera announced its programme for 2017. McLaren and Murray intend to make the space function both as a performance venue and a workshop, with works-in-progress taking place from writer Paul Howard; Moonfish Theatre; dance artist Oona Doherty; and writer/performer Shane O’Reilly. This year the festival expands across 18 days, starting on October 19th. The Irish actor was previously nominated for a Tony for that role.

West Cork Literary Festival line-up revealed

He wrote a series of articles about it for The Irish Times and will be reflecting on the experience. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill has been chosen as this year’s title in the UL One Campus, One Book initiative, which encourages students and staff to read the same novel and talk to one another about it. Brendan Barrington, editor at Penguin Ireland, and of the Dublin Review, will be Editor in Residence. Tickets are available to buy from Eventbrite or by emailing Hogwartsspringgala@gmail.com. Also attending are Ian McGuire, Jon McGregor and Sarah Perry, whose novel The Essex Serpent is the Waterstones Book of the Year 2016. The regional winners will be announced on March 15th at the London Book Fair. Ireland’s first Hogwarts Spring Gala takes place in the Morrison Hotel, Dublin on March 31st in aid of Spinal Injuries Ireland. An ultra-runner, last year he ran a marathon a day for a month, from Grosse Ile quarantine station in Quebec to Toronto, to raise awareness and funds to commemorate the deaths of tens of thousands of Irish Famine refugees in Canada in 1847. westcorkliteraryfestival.ie The Irish Times Book Club podcast is on tour this weekend, leaving the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin’s Parnell Square for the glór theatre in Ennis, Co Clare, as part of the Ennis Book Club Festival on Saturday, April 4th, at 9.30pm. ennisbookclubfestival.com ADVERTISEMENT The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin, the Bridge Street Bookshop, Wicklow town and the Blessington Bookshop, Co Wicklow, are the three Irish shops shortlisted in the British Book Awards’ Independent Bookshop of the Year category. Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, Mike McCormack, Lisa McInerney and Sara Baume are among the headliners at the West Cork Literary Festival, which takes place in Bantry from July 14th to 21st. The university campus is too often a battleground when it comes to issues around sexual consent and it is truly heartening to see UL choose a novel that attempts to address some of these issues.” O’Neill will also take part in an event entitled How I Write, Ireland on April 5th, focusing on her writing processes and strategies. “The issue of consent addressed in the novel is relevant to everyone, regardless of age,” co-organiser Lawrence Cleary said. “The novel is written to be digested easily, but at times hits you right in the gut. Alissa Nutting, Dean Bakopoulos, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Vona Groarke, Lara Marlowe, Dave …

Songs of the week: Ryan Adams drops one of the greatest, bitterest break-up ballads

With it’s jarring, Eye of the Tiger-style power chords, the song didn’t exactly blow me away the first time I heard it. But each has its own merits. This is real human pain… and there are few better musical conduits for that than Ryan Adams. He’s had a few cracks at repeating the trick since. But with repeated plays, the penny eventually dropped: the anguish, the incoherence, the fact that he’s asking his lover “Do you still love me?” repeatedly, in front of a live audience, all of whom have likely figured out the answer, even if he hasn’t quite yet come to accept it himself. Which is the superior strategy? BAD SEA Tell Me (What I Mean)  ★★★ When Bad Sea’s Ciara Thompson and Alan Farrell failed to click on a Tinder date, the Dubliners decided to form a band and make beautiful music together instead. She plays the 3Arena in Dublin on May 20th. RYAN ADAMS Do You Still Love Me?  ★★★★ PAX AM Back in 2000, Ryan Adams released a song called Come Pick Me Up which, for my money, ranks second only to Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright as the greatest, bitterest break-up ballad ever recorded. Which contrasts markedly with my habit of agreeing to another date, then ignoring all further messages. ARIANA GRANDE ft. FUTURE Everyday ★★★ Republic On the fourth video from her Dangerous Woman album, Ariana Grande wanders around in a puffy jacket watching couples have sex in inappropriate public places. This opening track from his latest album Prisoner, about his break-up with Mandy Moore, is a case in point. Well, experts may debate it. While compelling in many respects, this depressing track would also be highly suitable for playing at the end of a party when you want all your guests to go home. ARCA Anoche★★★ XL Recordings Alejandro Ghersi is a Venezuelan producer who has worked with Björk, Kanye and FKA Twigs. ADVERTISEMENT

Will ‘Alien: Covenant’ give fans exactly what they want?

If the new trailer for Alien: Covenant represents Ridley Scott’s upcoming film in any way accurately, then those allergic to “spoilers” should run quickly in the opposite direction (from both the video and this article). It was an 18 cert here and I’m not quite that old. But you catch the drift.) Sir Ridley is nothing if not shameless. We want a cynical retread of all the key elements from Alien. Relax. But Prometheus did not work as a standalone story and it didn’t offer nearly enough Alien action to qualify as a proper chapter in that franchise. Hang on a minute. Didn’t I see this when Jimmy Carter was still US president? Everyone looks very frightened, but, luckily, a tough woman in a vest seems set to save the day. On its release in 2012, Prometheus, a near-prequel to Alien, could reasonably claim to be the most anticipated film since The Phantom Menace 13 years earlier. One of those horrible entities throbs its way open and thrusts its innards at a crew member. The trailer shows humans landing on a distant planet within whose woods a horseshoe-shaped ship has earlier crashed. (Actually, I didn’t. Later on something seems to be bursting out of his torso. Mind you, if you’re even half-interested in the picture you’re almost certain to have seen Scott’s imperishable 1979 original. There are some very nice things in it. It would be unfair to say that it was equally disappointing. Noomi Rapace swelled with eccentric charisma as a religiously minded archaeologist. They encounter a collection of egg-shaped things. We don’t want a washed-out retread of 2001: A Space Odyssey. You’ve already been spoiled. Most everybody liked Killarney’s Michael Fassbender as an urbane robot. It looks pretty scary. Noting that this is the first Friday of the Cannes film festival and remembering Scott’s happy relationship with the event – The Duellists won an award in 1977, Robin Hood opened festivities in 2010 – we expect Covenant to make its first public appearance there on the Thursday. The picture opens on May 19th. But we are again reminded that the Alien is at his best when only half-glimpsed. “There was always this discussion: is Alien, the character, the beast, played out or not?” he told The Wrap. We now know for certain that the excellent Katherine Waterston is Sigourney Weaver and that the equally strong Billy Crudup is …

Warren Beatty urges Oscars to ‘clarify’ award mix-up

PA Mr Ryan told the magazine Mr Cullinan was left feeling “very, very terrible and horrible” after the incident and repeated the firm’s apologies for the historic mix-up. It was from this pile that Mr Cullinan mistakenly picked up the best actress envelope and handed it to Beatty. Logan review: Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine takes one last slice at the superhero game Oscars 2017: how did I fare with my predictions? Although the academy issued a statement apologising for the mix-up, it has largely left it to accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is responsible for the Oscars ballot, to explain how it happened. “There’s a stack for the back-ups and the ones that are not the back-ups and he took from the wrong stack,” he said. He has now issued a statement to Associated Press encouraging president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to comment on the incident. The tweet was later deleted. Warren Beatty has urged the organisers of the Oscars to “publicly clarify” the reasons for the envelope mix-up which led to the highest-profile fiasco in the ceremony’s history. Coming-of-age drama Moonlight was the real victor of the top prize. ADVERTISEMENT Postmortem The global accountancy company, which has held the coveted role of overseeing the ballot for 80 years, swiftly launched a postmortem of the incident on Sunday night. The accountants also had a “back-up” stack of envelopes for their colleague on the opposite side. It was reportedly the fourth year Mr Cullinan had been responsible for handing out the envelopes, the contents of which are known only by the two PwC employees handing them out on the night. The climax of this year’s Academy Awards fell victim to chaos and confusion as La La Land was mistakenly named the winner of the best picture gong. Mr Cullinan, standing stage left, and colleague Martha Ruiz, standing in the right-hand side wings, each had a pile of envelopes for presenters entering from their side of the stage, Mr Ryan said. Beatty, who presented the award alongside his Bonnie And Clyde co-star Faye Dunaway, was given a card revealing the best actress in a leading role winner, rather than one for the best picture winner. The stars and producers of the hit film were completing their acceptance speeches when one of the musical’s producers, Jordan Horowitz, took to the microphone to reveal the mix-up. It …

Time to check your record collection – there may be a masterpiece on the sleeve

Andy Warhol’s work for The Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground has become cultural shorthand which transcends both bands. There’s more to that record collection you’ve begun to accumulate than the sounds on the grooves. The musicians who’ve made the record in question will have done their job, but it’s often their choice of who gets to do the visuals for the sleeve which sets a defining tone for the album in question. In front and around many great albums is very often a great artist who has produced the artwork for the sleeve. Flick through your collection and note the artwork which stands out. It contains over 500 examples of how the match-up has produced a range of iconic images and a number of essays and interviews which provide some context to the artwork. Sonic Youth’s Goo might not be the same without Raymond Pettibon drawing from his Pettibon With Strings ’zine. It turns out that your music collection is a bit of an art collection too. Patti Smith’s Horses is forever associated with that Robert Mapplethorpe photograph. The collaboration between musician and artists is one which writer and art historian Francesco Spampinato explores in his new book Art Record Covers. It’s always interesting to see where the spark to bring art into the mix comes from. For many artists, the collaboration provides a brand new audience for their work. It’s no surprise, for example, that Sonic Youth feature so heavily in the book thanks to the presence of visual artist Kim Gordon in the band and the work produced for their releases by the likes of Pettibon, Mike Kelley, Richard Prince, Gerhard Richter, Richard Kern, Jeff Wall and Marnie Weber. Similarly, William Eggleston’s photos are clear signifiers of a wild, weird America so it’s no surprise to see his work used by artists like Big Star and Primal Scream who want to evoke that world. Sometimes, the work of an artist very much conjures up a specific time and place. Spampinato notes that “artists who emerged in the 1980s and 1990s felt inspired by pop culture and embraced such commissions to free their work from the constraints of the art world”. US comedian Jackie Gleason worked with Salvador Dali on the sleeve for his 1955 album Lonesome Echo (the artist described the image as provoking emotions “of anguish, of space and of solitude”), while there’s some beautiful examples of …

Abbey Theatre announces 20 shows for the Peacock studio space

They are joined by debut appearances from Scotland’s Frances Poet, with a free adaptation of Jean Racine’s Andromaque, What Put the Blood In, and from Irish writer Simon Doyle, with what may be an even freer adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, set in West Kerry, staged for the Dublin Fringe Festival and titled The Shitstorm. The Abbey Theatre has announced a programme of 20 productions and seven works-in-development for the Peacock, the National Theatre’s problematic studio space. ADVERTISEMENT The Peacock is also making dystopia available to young audiences, with a new staging of Karel Capek’s legendary RUR Reason’s Universal Robots by the National Youth Theatre, directed by the Abbey’s new associate director Caitríona McLoughlin. If so, in recent years it has been prone to falter through long periods of inactivity. The venue will play host to six visiting productions, including: frequent guest Pat Kinevane with his trilogy of works for Fishamble, Forgotten, Silent and Underneath; Syrian dancer Mithkal Alzghair’s war-themed work Displacement as part of the Dublin Dance Festival; and Druid’s second visit to the National Theatre this year with a new production of Mark O’Rowe’s horrific fantasy Crestfall, directed by Annabelle Comyn. The programme, announced later than anticipated, includes new plays by Owen McCafferty, Stacey Gregg and Dead Centre, each of whom has appeared at the Peacock before. McCafferty’s play, Fire Below, in a co-production with Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, is a black comedy in which two couples reveal their deepest prejudices over a wine-soaked evening. Their intention is also to make the Peacock a flexible and responsive venue, with three rapid-reaction events scheduled for May titled What’s Happening Now, featuring “urgent responses to urgent issues”. McLaren and Murray intend to make the space function both as a performance venue and a workshop, with works-in-progress taking place from writer Paul Howard, Moonfish Theatre, dance artist Oona Doherty and writer/performer Shane O’Reilly. With an expansive new programme, the Abbey’s new directors Graham McLaren and Neil Murray are hoping to get it fired up again. The programme will open the Peacock stage to the public again when Kinevane’s trilogy visits at the end of March. Theatre Lovett will also visit with recent family work, They Called Her Vivaldi, while developing a new piece, Frankenstein. With a consistent schedule of performances and development work planned for the rest of the year, the engine room should soon start humming. Gregg’s latest, Josephine K. and …

Grime and grit, humour and truth – the world according to Stormzy

/ I got brothers in the pen that will never see again / Got my brothers dem servin’ life / And I know that you think that it serves ‘em right / But I come from a place where you burn or die / Or we turn and ride / So don’t blame us when we turn to the dirt, we tried – Don’t Cry For Me Fuck you. I’m cold as fuck – Lay Me Bare ADVERTISEMENT I think I just got dissed again / Think I care who this offends / Run up on a man like Bale with a – / Slap that through your shit defense – Mr Skeng South of the Thames, where I come from’s mad / Done some dirt and I ain’t too proud that you’re living on the road that your son got stabbed / I had you on the station, your son got nabbed / Tough luck, just mums no dads – 100 Bags Look I don’t rate them boys / Bare wasteman, bare pagan boys / I come to your team and I fuck shit up / I’m David Moyes – Know Me From Heart on my sleeve, let me open up / TBTs on the block all posted up / Me and them boy don’t mix but I’ll post it up / And it ain’t no family pic but it’s close enough / And look man, I still reminisce when I’m holdin’ up / I think about the past sometimes and I sober up / Cause if that boy looks back, it’ll hold him up / Man are out here beefin’ like we ain’t broke enough / Swear these bruddas ain’t woken up / Like what have I done to deserve this life? Your postcode don’t make you a gangster / You’re not bad, your area is – Not That Deep Roll to the booth, then I bill it with rhymes / Know a couple OGs that are living off crime / But a young black boy made a milli’ off grime / So tell Boris Johnson ‘suck you mum, we don’t care’ / And tell them riot feds ‘oi, buss your gun?’ You won’t dare – Cold Like bro I can’t believe I saw my dad / Still up in the ends, still driving cabs / He said ‘yo son, I need a car’ / I kissed my …

Catastrophe review: seriously good comedy that’s oddly, unceasingly sincere

ADVERTISEMENT High stakes The stakes, at the beginning of its third season, are higher, with a groundless sexual harassment case against Rob resulting in his unemployment and a return to drinking, while a drunken encounter for Sharon results in an emergency morning-after pill, which Rob duly discovers. “A season,” he begrudgingly offers. “I want you to know that I’m going to look back at my time with you and remember you as an extraordinarily good-smelling woman with a magical ass,” Rob once told Sharon. That’s one way to keep the passion alive. Laurel and Hardy had a bitter kind of co-dependency, and their relationship really could survive anything. “They smelt bad. Abbi and Ilana on Broad City have an intimacy verging on manic obsession, which seems to suit life in New York. “Two or three months.” By Catastrophe’s standards, that’s bad. But the real friction, the show recognises, is any threat to this idealised comic honesty, this unfaltering badinage. Unaware of how far her encounter went, she tells Rob that she investigated her underwear to find out. Sharon is unable to conceal the truth any more than she can resist a brilliantly barbed gag. Couples, like any good double act, deserve chemistry. It flung further and faster than they expected – into a pregnancy, a cancer scare, a marriage and (when the show boldly shuttled forward a couple of years between its first two series), two children and a home. But, you know, normal bad. And Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney have it, on Catastrophe (Channel 4, Tuesday, 10pm), ever since her Irish schoolteacher scooched up to a crowded London bar to find a recovering alcoholic from the US, and then devoted the following week to a wild fling. It’s honesty. Even when they goad and lacerate, in their remarkably off-handed way, Sharon and Rob genuinely make each other laugh. Us too. How long will he stay angry, Sharon asks. But the singular quality that writers Horgan and Delaney rely on for their excellent comedy, as their characters careen between one life disaster and the next, is something more scabrous, rare and hilarious. But, you know, like normal bad.” Rob, more worryingly, is keeping both his drinking and his feelings hidden. A while later, when she retrieved her engagement ring from a nearby puddle of urine, Sharon contentedly accepted: “It’s just a bit of piss. I love it.” Their friends …

Rihanna at Harvard: ‘When I get rich, I’mma save kids all over the world’

👏👏👏 https://t.co/5Xttl3Y4JJ pic.twitter.com/Acp7SS8gZu— Harvard University (@Harvard) March 1, 2017 Rihanna swished her hair, struck a pose and said the words “so I made it to Harvard” drawing a massive cheer from the crowd gathered to see the singer honoured by the university as their Humanitarian of the Year. To me, that is a humanitarian. In her acceptance speech on Tuesday she spoke about how her philanthropic attitude was fostered in childhood watching TV ads about people suffering around the world. The Grammy Award-winning pop star has been involved in several charities including building a centre for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer in Barbados, where she is from. “And I would say to myself you know, ‘when I grow up, when I can get rich, I’mma save kids all over the world.’ I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager.” “All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. Others previously honoured for the award include late physician-statistician Hans Rosling, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and gender rights advocate Malala Yousafzai. "If you've got a dollar, there's plenty to share": Rihanna just made a blisteringly powerful speech about charity https://t.co/IpudMpMsNN pic.twitter.com/bm5EEWzwuw— Stylist Magazine (@StylistMagazine) March 1, 2017 Fast forward to 2012 and then my grandmother, the late Clara Brathwaite, she lost her battle with cancer, which is the very reason and the driving force behind the Clara Lionel Foundation. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody. And I would think to myself like, I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all the kids in Africa. I went on to team up with other organizations in the following years and met, helped, and even lost some of the most beautiful souls, from six-year-old Jasmina Anema who passed away in 2010 from leukaemia, her story inspired thousands to volunteer as donors through DKMS. The truth is, and what I want the little girl watching those commercials to know, is you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t gotta be famous. As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good. To me, that is a humanitarian. My grandmother …

Rihanna honoured at Harvard for humanitarian work

"If you've got a dollar, there's plenty to share": Rihanna just made a blisteringly powerful speech about charity https://t.co/IpudMpMsNN pic.twitter.com/bm5EEWzwuw— Stylist Magazine (@StylistMagazine) March 1, 2017 You don’t gotta be famous People make it seem way too hard, man. It’s true, I might come back but all right. We’re all human. I went on to team up with other organizations in the following years and met, helped, and even lost some of the most beautiful souls, from six-year-old Jasmina Anema who passed away in 2010 from leukaemia, her story inspired thousands to volunteer as donors through DKMS. All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. But it starts with your neighbour, the person right next to you, the person sitting next to you in class, the kid down the block in your neighbourhood, you just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can. You don’t gotta be famous. Thank you, Dr Counter, thank you to the Harvard Foundation, and thank you, Harvard University for this great honour. And today I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person: one organization, one situation that touches your heart. Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good. I’m incredibly humbled by this, to be acknowledged at this magnitude for something that in truth I’ve never wanted credit for. It was my honour. To me, that is a humanitarian. Just one. Thank you. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody. When I was five or six years old, I remember watching TV and I would see these commercials and I was watching other children suffer in other parts of the world and you know the commercials were [like], ‘you can give 25 cents, save a child’s life,’ you know? Singer Rihanna during her speech after she was presented with the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year Award. As I stare out into this beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. And we all just want a chance: a chance at life, a chance in education, a chance at a future, really. Photograph: Steven Senne/AP Here’s the full text of her acceptance speech: So I made it to Harvard… And I would think to myself like, I wonder how many 25 cents I could save …

What did Irish Catholics think in 1700s? Texts as Gaeilge reveal all

It was common for scribes in these areas to compile manuscript anthologies of popular compositions, either for their own use or in return for payment. Historians of the period have frequently passed over the vernacular literature in silence. The Popular Mind in Eighteenth-century Ireland identifies the core beliefs that characterised the political outlook of Irish Catholics during the eighteenth century. The eight texts comprise: a lament for a Jacobite officer killed at the battle of Aughrim; a description of the effects of Penal legislation on the Catholic community; a synopsis of Irish history from the earliest mythical invaders to the Williamite conquest; a poem celebrating British reverses during the War of Austrian Succession; a song from the period of the American revolution; a song associated with the Rightboys’ campaign against the payment of tithes and clerical dues in the 1780s; a song from 1795 applauding French victories in the Low Countries and the establishment of the Batavian Republic; and a song celebrating the election of the first Catholic member of parliament for Co Galway in the wake of Catholic Emancipation. Only one of the sample texts was previously available in an English translation. Although the poems and songs in question were selected for their historical interest rather than their literary merit, they will provide English-speaking readers with an opportunity to assess the style and range of Irish literature in the eighteenth-century. Recognising the difficulty that the use of sources in Irish will pose for readers who are unfamiliar with the language and its literature, the book incorporates unabridged texts and full translations of eight lengthy works composed between 1691 and 1830. does not contain any formulated political ideas”; LM Cullen claimed that the popular aisling genre was “meaningless as a political message”; and SJ Connolly argued that the views expressed by Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin in a well-informed song about the American revolutionary war “should perhaps be considered part of a society’s folklore rather than its politics”. This has not been the case. The production of such manuscripts was discreet enough for scribes to be able to record sentiments that would have resulted in the printers of comparable texts in English being prosecuted for seditious libel. For these reasons, it might be expected that historians of eighteenth-century Ireland would devote considerable attention to the evidence of the vernacular literature – reflecting, as it does, the outlook of a numerous and …

Welcome to Wales: a St David’s Day primer to the best of Welsh writing

Heledd was the sister of Cynddylan, Prince of Powys, and the work mourns the death of her family at English hands: The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight Without fire, without a bed. 5. ADVERTISEMENT 3. It is his matchless talent as an artist and the intuitive detachment that comes with that, that allows Thomas to approach subject matter that others might make mawkish and imbue it with profundity instead. As Francesca Rhydderch has written of Tywyll Heno: “At the heart of the book is a bottomless pit of angst which transcends the borders of an individual society or distinct culture, an existentialist fear that beneath all this there is simply – nothing.” 10. Tywyll Heno (Dark Tonight) by Kate Roberts (translated by JP Clancy) (Temple University Press) This short, oppressive masterpiece by Roberts takes its title from the ninth-century Welsh saga poem Canu Heledd (Song of Heledd). Mazelis writes about the repressed desires and casual cruelties of suburban life with an acute sensitivity that lends these stories an almost dreamlike, even Gothic quality. Keats’ line “Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty” may trip off most tongues with a touch of jaded flippancy but it has never felt more pertinent than when wielded by this intense, often revelatory writer. But, beyond a bridge over the frozen rivers he took a flying leap and, paws barely touching the hardened snow and scut whisking, escaped out of sight.” ADVERTISEMENT Links Cynan Jones reinterprets Caradoc Evans Rachel Trezise re-interprets Rhys Davies The greatest Welsh novel John Lavin is fiction editor of Wales Arts Review, editor of the Lonely Crowd and co-founder of the Lampeter Review @jtmlavin Alongside new books from Morris (which I discuss in more detail here), Tessa Hadley, Robert Minhinnick, Kate Hamer and Gary Raymond to name but a few, it felt like the Welsh literary scene had turned an important corner. While contemporary Welsh fiction is unquestionably internationalist in terms of influence, there can be little doubt that Evans and Thomas, in particular, continue to represent a profound source of inspiration for Welsh writers, whether it be Niall Griffiths, Rachel Trezise or the exciting new writer, Thomas Morris. Jones demands that his readers bear witness to the events that he so starkly portrays and develops an almost audible tension between writer and reader that is quite remarkable. 7. However, Trezise is an internationalist at heart and these stories also take in …

Fresh opportunities open up for Opera in Ireland

It has no experience in producing at a Dublin venue, and it would also run the risk of diluting its brand by presenting core repertoire in the capital. There’s to be an emphasis on “Irish/Irish-based opera artists and other professionals”, and on growing “large and diverse Irish audiences for opera”. Given that Ireland has a very limited number of opera producers, it seems inevitable that only a small number of players will be in a position to apply. The really big news is that the council has issued a call for proposals for “main-scale” opera provision from 2018. Lyric Opera, however, has only had limited success in securing Arts Council funding over the years, most recently for Dvorak’s Rusalka at the Gaiety in 2013. But his engagement with opera does not extend to having an actual track record of producing opera in an opera house. The process will be different to regular Arts Council applications. In other words, in 2010 those three companies received more than the 2018 total, which will also have to cover other production and commission awards as well as bursaries and travel grants. It’s currently in the process of restoring the festival to a full, 18-night run. And the total 2018 opera budget of €4.85 million is actually lower in real terms than the €3.65 million allocated to Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company and Wexford Festival opera in that same year. With three seasons’ worth of productions to account for in the applications, not to mention multiple applicants, there’s no doubt that Irish opera singers’ phones will be buzzing with offers in the coming weeks. mdervan@irishtimes.com The final decision on the panel’s recommendations will be made by the council on May 24th. Happily, the council’s latest move on opera funding is in a positive negative direction. Wexford Festival Opera, which failed in its application for a spring season of popular opera for 2017, faces numerous dilemmas if it wishes to put its hat in the ring. Some of the smaller companies that have won production awards in recent years may well decide to scale up. And it’s decided to do this by creating a differently configured successor to OI. Fergus Sheil’s Wide Open Opera, the only Irish opera company to have worked at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, is sure to apply, and it’s been mooted that WOO and Opera Theatre Company (of which Sheil is …

Irish playwright Marina Carr wins $165,000 literary prize

Literary festival The prizes are among the world’s most substantial. “Lady luck is shining on me today. The author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed plays, Carr was born in Dublin in 1964 to the playwright Hugh Carr and Irish language poet Maura Eibhlín Breathneach and grew up in Co Offaly. The awards will be conferred in September at an international literary festival at Yale University, whose keynote speaker will be Karl Ove Knausgård. Tarell Alvin McCraney, who won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for Moonlight, won the inaugural prize in 2013. Carr, whose adaptation of Anna Karenina premiered to great acclaim at the Abbey Theatre in December, is a lecturer in Dublin City University’s School of English. Fellow Irish playwright Abbie Spallen became the first Irish winner of the award last year. Irish playwright Marina Carr has won one of the world’s must lucrative literary honours, the Windham-Campbell Prize, worth $165,000 (€155,000). My thanks and appreciation to those involved in selecting my work,” Carr said. The Windham-Campbell prizes, administered by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, were established in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M Campbell. She is working on new plays for the Abbey and the Tricycle Theatre in London, the latter about Clytemnestra in the aftermath of the Trojan war. They recognise exceptional writers of fiction, non-fiction and drama who write in English. Like its successors Portia Coughlin (1996) and By the Bog of Cats (1998), which won the Irish Times/EST award for best new play, The Mai does not so much adapt as reinvent its source material, finding an ancient darkness in the hills and valleys of contemporary rural Ireland. ADVERTISEMENT This year’s other recipients are André Alexis and Erna Brodber (fiction); Maya Jasanoff and Ashleigh Young (non-fiction); Ali Cobby Eckermann and Carolyn Forché (poetry) and Ike Holter (drama). The Man Booker Prize is worth £50,000 and the International Dublin Literary Award €100,000. She made her name with The Mai (1994), the first in a trilogy of plays set in the midlands and inspired by the works of Euripides and Sophocles.

Patrick O’Laoghaire: the fine line between hurling and music

“I have this curiosity about some singers who sound really young and totally naive and innocent, and they also sound like they’re 100,” he says. But you just do it, and you think, Well, that’s the work and this is the way it’s gonna go. I’ll swim as fast as I can until about 2 metres from the end, and then I’ll just stop and let the momentum carry me. I remember going straight from hurling training once to a jewellery-making class, and trying to cover it up: ‘Oh, I’ve to go to physio’. And with my songs, you want them to live a certain way, you want to visit places with them – all of the usual stuff, I guess. “To keep you going in a forward direction, you have a kind of humble hope that it’ll work out. You can’t really plan anything.” O’Laoghaire goes silent for a moment, trawling his brain for another tried and trusted sporting analogy. “I like that ‘somewhere in-between’ place. “I know that’s a mad thing to say,” he says, “but playing music and playing hurling, you get the same feeling. The voice belies his 29 years and particularly suits his penchant for making music that is often the sonic equivalent of slow-cooking. “It felt a bit like it was time to say okay, maybe we’ll do these ones now. There’s a lot of ways to keep motivated, and there’s a lot of stuff out of your control. So how does he measure success? Like, I’d love to perform the songs with an orchestra.” He sighs, tugging his beard. “I go swimming a bit. He spent four or five years tinkering with the tunes before the impetus to record them professionally was sparked by a meeting with Scottish producer Paul Savage, who had worked with the likes of King Creosote, Mogwai and Franz Ferdinand. It proves O’Laoghaire is not averse to risks, although that doesn’t mean that there is a deficit of ideas or new material in his canon. But then, but then, when you’re playing you’ve no time to overthink it; it’s instinctual. And if it happens, it happens. “I’m curious about when you’re playing an instrument, you can see it – whereas you can’t see your voice. He laughs now at the stuff he was listening to as a child; he was the only kid in his class who was into …