New ‘Great British Bake Off’ line-up revealed

I tick ‘eejit’ on my Don’t Tell the Bride bingo card Daniel and Majella ‘test the bed’: this is erotica Irish-style ‘The creators of 1066 are clearly worried history is boring. “I spend my daytimes on Channel 4 already so it will be a treat to be there in the evenings. Presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding will host the new-look show, which moved to Channel 4 from the BBC after it was sold by Love Productions last year. I am so delighted to be working with Love Productions and Channel 4 on this best of British show.” Former Mighty Boosh star Fielding said: “GBBO is one of my favourite shows. I cannot wait to get back in the tent with the bakers.” Leith, who formerly appeared as a judge on the BBC’s Great British Menu, said: “I am just so thrilled to be joining Paul, Sandi and Noel on the biggest show on TV and I cannot wait to see what the real stars of the show – the bakers – are going to create for us. I’ve always loved brightly-coloured cakes and Sandi Toksvig so this is a dream come true for me! They are taking no risks’ “It is such an honour to be part of The Great British Bake Off team. Leith is replacing long-standing host Mary Berry, while Toksvig and Fielding are taking over from previous presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. ” Fifteen to One and QI host Toksvig said she is honoured to be part of “this national treasure of a show”. The first time I met him I felt like I had met a rather wayward cousin whose take on the world made me laugh. He said: “Prue is a hugely respected culinary legend and Sandi and Noel are warm and utterly hilarious. The show – which puts amateur bakers to the test in a series of challenges, ranging from simple cakes to tricky French patisserie creations – had been a BBC fixture since it began in 2010. Giedroyc and Perkins, who injected a comedy element to the show, also stood down, leaving bread expert Hollywood as the only original Bake Off star to make the channel move. TV chef Prue Leith has been confirmed as a judge alongside Paul Hollywood on Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off (GBBO). She added: “Noel Fielding is one of the nicest guys in showbusiness. …

A story of austerity, but not as we know it

This improbable trade of ancient perennials tears a Spanish family apart in The Olive Tree, the seventh feature from director Iciar Bollain, who co-wrote the screenplay with her husband, Paul Laverty. That experience inspired him to write the script for Carla’s Song, a cross-cultural romantic drama concerning a Nicaraguan exile and a Scottish bus driver. The UK government’s own statistics demonstrate that between 2010 and 2011, 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their work capability assessment. Born in Calcutta to an Irish mother and Scottish father, he read philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, then law in Glasgow before journeying to Nicaragua, where he worked for a human rights organisation for three years. Not many writers are that fortunate. That made me laugh. “He hated the any questioning of the idea that the British Empire was this great exporter of democracy, not occupation,” says Laverty. There are always whistle-blowers in the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions). “Sinn Féin candidates won 73 seats out of 105 in the 1918 general election. They know what’s going on and that it’s indefensible. The Santander complex outside Madrid houses the headquarters of the eurozone’s largest bank and a landscaped garden neatly dotted by imported, thousand-year-old olive trees. “There was a madness about it, and incredible corruption, which produced a radical change in that society. I don’t want to see a film that’s didactic. ” Laverty, who wrote scripts for Looking for Eric and The Angel’s Share, is a jovial sort who still finds it odd to see the word ‘didactic’ applied to his work. “It’s about finding material that is multi-layered and interesting, with great narrative possibilities. But rather than debate it, they’ll just call you a liar. I’ve always tried to avoid writing that makes you feel like you’ve been handed a leaflet.” ADVERTISEMENT Paul Laverty took a roundabout route into the film industry. I’m involved throughout the process: the casting, the shoot. They say he that controls the past, controls the present.” He laughs: “So Gove went on to be Minister for Education.” I wonder what Laverty, having pondered that period of Irish history more deeply than most, would suggest for the upcoming centenaries of the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. And then they were sold off. The British couldn’t accept it. “I’ve been lucky to work with very talented people like Icair …

Eh Joe review: Michael Gambon, 30 minutes, an entire lifetime, and not a word

The camera too recognises that it is engaged in a kind of torture. There is nowhere to hide: We first see Gambon, a vulnerable figure in pyjamas, checking under the bed for threats. First staged in 2006, for the Beckett Centenary, and now revived for the Gate’s Beckett Friel Pinter Festival, it asks Gambon to portray an entire personal history in just 30 minutes, and to do so wordlessly, while filmmaker Atom Egoyan seizes on the actor’s long experience of stage and screen, while artfully combining both mediums. The film actor knows that, on screen, the smallest gesture can carry a huge effect. ADVERTISEMENT Here Gambon does both. To see Gambon, sitting glum and inert on the edge of a stingy bed, you could be forgiven for thinking he is doing nothing at all, as a voice needles him into remembrance of things past. ★★★★★ Gate Theatre, Dublin In Beckett’s short television play Eh, Joe, here ingeniously and still faithfully transposed to the stage, the great actor Michael Gambon gives the performance of a lifetime, in more senses than one. There is a bracing correspondence between how these mechanical and live performances combine, and how Joe, an aging man with a cruel history of absconding, is racked with recriminations under the unflinching gaze of the camera. The theatre actor understands that sometimes presence is enough. “Anyone living love you now Joe?” asks the voice. Joe is never ready for his close up. Penelope Wilton, who supplies the calmly interrogating voice, gives a performance that is harder to observe but no less nuanced, playing an ex-partner who has been absorbed into “that penny farthing hell you call a mind”. But to see his face, held steady by a stealthily advancing camera and projected onto a ghostly scrim at the front of the stage, is to see a performance of almost microscopic detail. In Gambon’s engrossing performance, which has a spry command of his disarmingly drooping features, Joe resists and submits to the nudges of the voice, and the result is a fascinating paradox: this is a fugitive from intimacy, and you come to him intimately.

Electric Picnic: Here’s your chance to design a caravan in the Trailer Park

If you want to become a proud Trailer Park resident this September, this is your chance to let your imagination run wild and design a van that doubles as an installation, a venue or an interactive experience for festival goers, that transforms them from voyeurs into active contributors. For more details, click here, and for full terms and conditions, click here. “So if you have a gang of friends who love to make people around you have fun, simply think of how you might do that in the most unusual way, and either inside or in front of a room on wheels.” This is a call for designers, artists, engineers, technicians, builders, architects and dreamers to get involved. To apply, click on this link and fill out the electronic form. All applicants will be notified by April 29th. So if you think you have what it takes to add this mobiletropolis, get cracking on some ideas and get your applications in before April 15th. This isn’t the average rain-trodden caravan holiday that you used to have in Lahinch; this is something entirely different, and now the Trailer Park wants to find and fund some unique caravan-based ideas for Electric Picnic 2017. Grants range from €150 to €1,500 (but they’re willing to stretch that if you have a really good idea) and up to 12 grants will be awarded – other applications may be accepted if the caravans are deemed deliverable without any help from Trailer Park. It also loves a good host,” says artistic director Roz Jellett. Electric Picnic’s Trailer Park is a heaving hub of wonderful and strange activity, with a diverse range of caravans doing things you might not believe. “In Trailer Park we really do set out to make people laugh, with a liberating experience which marries creativity, silliness and style. The curators are looking for “Projects that stand on their own as a place of entertainment, or that draw people in and are a place of wonder in their own right.” The key word, they say, is “interactive”. A maximum of nine passes per project will be given to the design team. Further work on the caravan can be completed onsite, but the caravan must be available for positioning onsite by then. And keep an eye on irishtimes.com next week for the festival line-up, which is out on Thursday, March 23rd. ADVERTISEMENT A judge from The …

The tech is new at SXSW, but the music strand remains distinctly old school

So much of what is going on in the sector warrants deep analysis and examination. On one hand, it’s quaint. Established names roll into town to suck up all the promo oxygen and fat fees from brands who want cool and relevance by association. It’s still about the power of a live band to have you going “Wow!” (Or, seeing as we’re in the US, “F*cking awesome dude!”) Many SXSW bands have inspired that feeling in me over the years, and it probably the reason I keep coming back every March (well, that and the breakfast tacos). Some 2,000 newish bands play out of their skin in the hope of attracting attention from someone to help them further climb the ladder. Still, even if the art continues to captivate and the brands continue to fund a good chunk of this, the discussion of the business around the art is another matter. Not responding to issues that clearly inflame and energise your core audience is also a sign of complacency. SXSW could – we say could – still be a good place to do this. It’s always struck me as strange that these two Austin worlds rarely intersect, especially considering the plethora of cowboys frequenting both scenes. It’s clear the organisers know their market. ADVERTISEMENT You see a band you know little about, they play three songs and you get a tingle, a shiver down the spine, a vindication about why you sped by the stop sign and kept going in search of this buzz rather than getting a job in a bank. Meanwhile, in the Travis County Expo Centre, Rodeo Austin gives you a fair that any self-respecting cowboy or cowgirl would appreciate, from steer wrestling and team roping to mutton bustin’ and barrel racing. In the shadows of the skyscrapers that now dominate the downtown landscape, the SXSW musical rodeo is in full swing. Austin is currently hosting not one but two rodeos. The names change every season, but the process remains the same. The topics and themes up for discussion at SXSW every year are still responding to and reacting to the past. Rodeo Austin also music on the bill. In contrast, there’s a bang of the old school to the music discourse here. Dwight Yoakam was the big draw on the opening night, and Charley Pride, Fitz & The Tantrums, Kenny Rogers, Chase Bryant and more have …

Gigs, shows and going out: here’s our seven day event guide

ADVERTISEMENT Igor Levit, appearing with Irish Chamber Orchestra on Tuesday and Wednesday Irish Chamber Orchestra University Concert Hall, Limerick; also NCH, Dublin, Wed €25, €22/€10 irishchamberorchestra.com Igor Levit is one of those musicians who gives the impression of having begun at the top. Along the way, he’s released a slew of great music, scored films such as Out of Sight and Hunger, produced the fantastic film Good Vibrations about the Belfast punk scene, and produced everyone from Primal Scream to Noel Gallagher. But for Irish listeners the player with a special claim to the work is harpsichordist Malcolm Proud. God’s Waiting Room is Holmes on a full tilt musical trip, a night on the tiles soundtracked by music of every hue imaginable, from electronic to cinematic, from experimental to psych’n’roll. The Tulla Céilí Band Kilruane MacDonagh’s GAA Hall 7pm €12.50/€5 cloughjordanarts.ie Step right up now folks for this fundraiser in aid of the Cloughjordan amphitheatre building project. Now just 71 years young, there are many who would claim that The Tulla Céilí Band (founded by Paddy Canny and Martin Hayes’ father, P Joe) is only getting into its stride. The plot – over detailed and happening mostly offstage – is almost too complicated to follow (it often feels like the treatment for a miniseries), but the conflict is conversely simple: can people under pressure retain their principles? Deep Shit Opium Rooms, Dublin 6pm €15 soundcloud.com/deep-shit When Foals are not playing the sort of shows for which mosh-pits were invented, you’ll find keyboard player Edwin Congreave popping up as a DJ at nights like this. Initially a songwriter for hire (the likes of Professor Green, Cheryl Cole and Tinie Tempah would benefit from her smart songwriting style), Sandé eventually replaced the backroom shadows with front-of-house spotlights. Once you get over any lingering cultural snobbery the common ground is apparent. ADVERTISEMENT Dermot McLaughlin, Dermot Byrne and Floriane Blancke Powerscourt Townhouse Theatre, Sth. Support from John Heckle and Eavan. Mar 20 8pm garterlane.ie Set in a provincial paper’s newsroom, where top stories include an exposé of long queues at the motor tax office and the anticipated second coming of Christ, Starring Garrett Keogh and Michael Hayes (right) Jim Nolan’s most recent play for Garter Lane Arts Centre, which premiered last year and now returns for a national tour, is a meditation on the shape of the nation as it commemorated the Rising. The …

Ally Carter: ‘I think Molly Weasley is as strong a character as Katniss Everdeen’

Carter referred to the second volume as her “Anastasia book”, partly inspired by the story of the lost Russian princess as well as a general fascination with royalty. I got to cheat a bit because it was set in a made-up country, and I knew I wasn’t going to get it exactly right. I do have a lot of writer friends, and you hear all the ways it can go wrong, through nobody’s fault. Mostly it’s issuing visas. Carter’s next novel will be published in spring 2018, a standalone novel she describes as “a gender-swapped YA Romancing The Stone”. I’ve been really fortunate.” Yet she does have occasional gripes about the world of YA, in particular the tendency to focus on “the super book” as of late, the massive bestseller at the expense of all other titles. Claire Hennessy is a YA writer, editor, and reviewer And then at the end of the street there was that “creepy house at the end of the street that every neighbourhood has” – the abandoned Iranian embassy. She compares her writing method to building a house: “You don’t want to decorate the room before you’ve finalised the floor plans.” “We have a long history of making the Russians the bad guy,” Carter reflects, whose extensive pop culture knowledge influences her writing. A decade into the business, with three bestselling series under her belt (in addition to Embassy Row, she has also penned the Gallagher Girls series and the Heist Society quartet), she still counts her blessings. “You can fall in love with the boy next door – but it doesn’t mean his country isn’t at war with yours.” When Ally Carter plans out a novel, she tries to find a one-line “hook” to share with her agent and editor before writing. It’s not all spies breaking in and stealing nuclear launch codes. “I hurt for Grace a lot,” she admits. Carter was inspired years ago by a friend of hers whose son was in college and hoping to enter the foreign services. To ask her if she views her work – featuring brave, adventurous and powerful young women – as feminist feels almost too obvious, and she laughs. Driving down the long street she realised that every fence was a border, every patch of land legally a separate country. “I think Molly Weasley is as strong a character as Katniss Everdeen, and Molly is …

Irish painter’s Brooklyn renaissance

He was born in 1839 to tenant farmers in Co Meath, Weber said. He influenced painters including Frederic Remington and William Merritt Chase, yet he was largely forgotten, partly because he spent the last decade of his life living in decline in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a poignant coda to more glorious years of artistic acclaim and popularity. That factory stood on what is now McGuinness Boulevard, said Cobb, who is originally from Co Armagh. Rowe blamed himself, saying that an offhand suggestion to a desperate, ragged Mulvany had been darkly misinterpreted. “Took Own Life, Maybe” was the headline on a front-page article in The New York Press positing that the artist might have “dropped off the end of a ferryboat in the darkness”. Mulvany worked on the Erie Canal before becoming a student at the National Academy of Design in Manhattan. Mulvany enjoyed a prosperous career in the late 1800s that made him famous in both America and Ireland for his paintings depicting the Civil War, the American West and Irish history. He was befriended by George Rowe, a local newspaper editor, who recalled finding the once prominent artist working as a handyman painting angels for a business that made church pulpits. Despite struggles with alcohol, Mulvany had vied for painting commissions and exhibitions to try to rejuvenate his career. “The whiskey, the language, the history and a love of Ireland that he kept with him to the end of his days.” © 2017 New York Times News Service He returned to Chicago in 1871, but his studio was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire that year, so he travelled westward and began gaining a national reputation for his paintings of the American West. His sister had to keep him from pawning a prestigious medal he had received years earlier from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. ADVERTISEMENT Cobb said he first came across a mention of Mulvany while researching The King of Greenpoint, Cobb’s recent biography of the charismatic political power broker Peter J. In Greenpoint, Mulvany sold his paintings quickly and relatively cheaply. In his pockets were clippings extolling his achievements, some recent rejection letters and a sad love poem, according to newspaper reports, most of which presumed suicide. A restless and sociable genius, Mulvany set up short-term studios in more than 20 cities during his career, but his longest stint was in Greenpoint, said Anne Weber, …

Michael Collins: a genius student but a classic outsider

It is set during the last great strike, the NUM strike of 1984-5, in and around London and Nottingham, where I spent time during the strike. He has published four novels, six works of nonfiction and two edited volumes ADVERTISEMENT Here a sort of racism and stereotyping provided him a background that didn’t make him seem an outlier, but a writer emerging from a tradition. But authors make mistakes, too. Virginia Woolf is to blame, given that she too invented a press and published her friends. Publishers use this data point as a decision maker or breaker. What literary culture that is here is not united but shattered, dying off, only functioning in the redoubts of two or three big cities, controlled by fashion-setting gatekeepers, one or two national critical organs that still exist to examine authors (the New York Times Book Review and the New York Review of Books). He doesn’t possess the fatal lack of talent required. The waiter stood idly by in amazement. He defied CP Snow’s Two Cultures split He came to Notre Dame by way of the university athletic programme, insofar as he was recruited as a long-distance runner. I certainly had any number of smart ones, bright ones, utterly successful ones. Terry Eagleton, at the time, was visiting Notre Dame for a few months at great expense to the university and I gave him a copy, eventually copies, of the novel to no effect whatsoever. In my creative writing class when Michael was a junior he would turn in short stories with sentences like these: “Father Sheamus gorged down a greasy fry and washed it back with three cups of watery tea. Michael’s career has been singular, since he is singular, though there is an American writer, Craig Nova, who Michael, in some ways, resembles. Very few non-commercial writers know how to successfully advance their careers. Employees of Nasa seem to be denatured of any novelistic ambitions as they rise in the ranks and it was necessary for them to bring in someone from the outside to chronicle their derring-do. Presumably, Michael had arrived. William O’Rourke is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Large publishers, though, have stuck with him, a rarity in itself, and his novels have piled up, like Michael’s. Though an “academic” novel (which likely got it published here) Michael makes use of a crime to …

It’s a big big weekend for going out – here’s the best of what’s on around the country

Tinfoil District 8 Dublin 11pm €15/€10 district8dublin.com If you’re still in the mood for a party, there’s a late-night hoohah in the shape of a live set from Tinfoil. His first hit single (Never gonna give you Up, 1987) remains his signature song, and for fans of ‘80s pop music (original and latter day) we’re guessing that will be the one to raise the roof. Butler Gallery, The Castle, Kilkenny Until April 2 butlergallery.com Specially made for the Butler Gallery as part of a new body of work, Martina Galvin’s Cubus is a series of boldly coloured, outline squares, arranged to form a linked sequence. Once you get over any lingering cultural snobbery the common ground is apparent. Highlights include Bristol hit-maker Julio Bashmore, classy Glaswegian producer Denis Sulta, chi-chi house kingpin Dimitri From Paris, Glengormley producer Garry McCartney aka Ejeca, Bastardo Electrico’s Jamie Behan and old-school hardcore heroes Altern-8. District 8 is the venue where a host of house and techno luminaries will be providing the tunes inside and outside. You could say that. Now in his early 50s, Astley started off working for the immensely successful song production trio of (Mike) Stock (Matt) Aiken and (Pete) Waterman as studio gopher, but quickly became one of SAW’s most successful acts. He has struck up a relationship with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and this week plays Mozart’s Elvira Madigan Concerto with them under Jörg Widmann, in a programme that also includes Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony. This year’s parade in Dublin will kick off at noon at Parnell Square and those looking to get a good central viewing spot should head for the Rosie Hackett Bridge, rather than Westmoreland Street. With two hugely success-ful albums (2012’s Our Version of Events, last year’s Long Live the Angels), it’s little wonder that this gig sold out almost as soon as it was announced. WEDNESDAY Malcolm Proud Little Museum, Dublin 8pm (wine at 7pm) €15 ergodos.ie For many people Glenn Gould has owned Bach’s Goldberg Variations since the 1950s. Proud’s latest performance of the great work will take place in the most intimate of spaces for one of Ergodos’s candlelit Santa Rita concerts at the Little Museum of Dublin on St Stephen’s Green. Those who dig sweatbox mixes of house, deep disco and acid will appreciate the sounds from the Foals’ dude. Initially a songwriter for hire (the likes of Professor Green, Cheryl Cole and Tinie …

SXSW gotten too big and buzzy? Then Marfa, Texas is the place

For those jaded with the homogenisation of the festival experience, Marfa Myths sits well alongside Drop Everything, Airwaves and Lake of Stars. The opening of an exhibition called Strange Attractor at Ballroom Marfa featured a previously unshown Alexander Calder noise mobile. On Saturday night, the drummer from the excellent garage-rock band No Nombres played the Lost Horse bar, and mentions a hip-hop night happening opposite a petrol station 10 minutes walk up the street. ADVERTISEMENT At El Cosmico, a twinkling campsite and Airstream trailer park, the all-female DJ collective Chulita Vinyl Club played a Friday night set. Now in its fourth year, Marfa Myths is a music and arts festival run by Brooklyn label Mexican Summer and the local arts organisation and gallery Ballroom Marfa. A break of a few hours in the programme preceded a concert at the swanky Capri bar/restaurant, where Perfume Genius and Weyes Blood presented a captivating electronic music collaboration. This is a festival about place, and the scenery is stunning; desert mountains and open road, shooting stars and jackrabbits, tumbleweed and prickly pear cacti. And that’s before we even get to the mescal, served straight with wedges of blood orange. The poet Eileen Myles presented a Dirty Gay Movie Night at the same theatre. A mixture of art openings, gigs, talks, screenings and general wandering creates a festival experience that is enriching and remarkably sophisticated. Roky Erickson of garage-psychedelic legends 13th Floor Elevators played the opening night. The site-specific nature of the event brings to mind Inis Oírr’s Drop Everything, and the attention to detail, and curatorial flow means that nothing needs to be missed because nothing clashes. But eight hours’ drive west of Austin, or three hours east of El Paso, in a small town called Marfa, the antithesis to South By Southwest unfolds. Swedish band Zomes played at Wrong Marfa, a small white room. In the 1970s, the minimalist artist Donald Judd came here looking for isolation, beauty and affordability. At the Chinati Foundation, Donald Judd’s 1km-long concrete installation and works in aluminium are breathtaking. He bought up some buildings, including old military hangars, and inspired an unlikely marriage of design and context; a town in southwest Texas in thrall to minimalism. There is no festival indigestion, just enjoyment and reflection. A small storage building was transformed into what feels like half-house party, half-Chief Keef video, with local MCs and a brilliantly rowdy …

Jason Blum, the man who made $193m on a $15,000 film budget

But micro-budgeted horror remains his bread and butter. “Horror is a great medium to do two things,” says Blum. ADVERTISEMENT “I can’t pick my favourite child!”  Get Out opens March 17th Following hot on the heels on M Night Shyamalan’s hit thriller Split, Jordan Peele’s Get Out – the most talked about horror-comedy since Scream bludgeoned its way into cinemas back in 1996 – has grossed $111,054,445 in just 16 days. But when the Blumhouse alchemy works theatrically, it makes for a whole lot of gold. “The medium doesn’t just work as an end in and of itself,” says Blum. Keep production costs down by shooting (mostly) in Los Angeles and by hiring above-the-line talent that will work for scale. Acting on a tip from family friend Steve Martin, Blum earned his first production credit with Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming (1995), before going to work with Miramax, Warner Brothers and Ethan Hawke’s Malaparte Theatre Company. Perhaps more impressively, Blumhouse’s sequels and reboots are generally fresher than big budgeted studio rivals. “The medium has to be matched with the right story. So if you can do that effectively and mirror your storytelling with what’s going on in the culture, a film can really resonate.” Jason Ferus Blum has crept up on the movieverse. Does he ever call it wrong, I wonder? It’s an exemplary, socially-hip, barbed horror-of-manners from the same imprint that gave us The Purge sequence. But he loved movies: Hitchcock was his favourite director. So I think probably a lot of people said: oh, let’s just make a bunch of found footage movies without really trying to understand what stories can only be told that way.” The 38-year-old has subsequently repeated the trick with three crazily profitable, cheap-as-chips franchises, as kick-started by The Purge ($319.8 million in ticket sales), Sinister ($130.6 million) and Insidious ($371.9 million).  Released in 2007, Paranormal Activity made $193.4 million back from a production budget of $15,000 and spawned dozens of found footage clones, none of which made anything like the $889.7 million drummed up by the Paranormal Activity sequence. Make movies quickly for between $3-5 million (€2.8m-€4.7m). Are there Ones That Got Away? I wonder which of his own films has scared him the most. “So we try and support them in every way we can. Move over JJ Abrams. Take a hike, Judd Apatow. Our approach really is to give directors creative …

Shane Hegarty thrilled as Darkmouth film directors named

There are hints of Terry Pratchett – no bad thing – and, inevitably, of JK Rowling, the great elephant in the corner, but Hegarty’s voice is his own.” Penguin Ireland has been shortlisted for Imprint of the Year and Dublin’s Gutter Bookshop for Independent Bookshop of the Year in The Bookseller’s 2017 British Book Awards. “I have to credit my agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor, though. I’ve seen a little of the early work on it and know it’s going to be very special. The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne is the last major film to be based on an Irish children’s novel. While the obvious point of comparison initially appears to be Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson novels, which are also steeped in mythology, Hegarty’s touch is lighter than Riordan’s, and his sensibility more surreal. The book has sold seven million copies. “ Darkmouth is peppered with sly, gentle wit, even down to Darkmouth’s population sign, which regularly has to be altered by hand to account for unfortunate demises. ADVERTISEMENT It will be interesting to see whether Andrew Scott, best known as Moriarty in the TV series Sherlock, who has narrated the Darkmouth audio books, is recruited for the film version. It’s a tribute to the fantastic authors we’ve had the privilege to publish.” Kate Kerrigan has won the Historical Romantic Novel Award in the RoNAs (the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual Romantic Novel Awards) for It Was Only Ever You, published by Head of Zeus. She is the driving force behind so much of this, taking an idea I had on the train one morning to these really exciting places.” Darkmouth follows the adventures of Finn, a young Irish hero who is in the words of Irish Times reviewer John Connolly, “mildly incompetent, majorly terrified, and spends a good part of Darkmouth making the very sensible decision to run away from whatever toothed monstrosity happens to be in his vicinity at the time”. “Hegarty shares a UK publisher with David Walliams, the new king of children’s writing, and it’s not difficult to see a potential commonality of readership,” wrote Connolly. Sweetland worked on such Pixar productions as Monsters Inc, Cars and The Incredibles. “This is the kind of news a writer dreams of, to be honest,” said Hegarty. The shortlist for the 27th CBI Book of the Year Awards was revealed this week at the Crescent Arts Centre, …

What have the Irish ever done for us?

Once described as “the most dangerous woman in America”, she was a tireless campaigner for the rights of the poor and the working class particularly women and children. In London she set about defining a new English ballet with its own independent style and approach, founding the Sadlers Wells Ballet School and the Vic-Wells Ballet company that would become the Royal Ballet. These stories and many more are featured in the new book, What Have the Irish ever done for us? by David Forsythe available now from Amazon Cantillon’s Essai is now regarded as having huge significance in the development of modern economic theory and influenced many of those who followed including Adam Smith, who cited it in his Wealth of Nations. A cure for leprosy The Leprosy Mission commissioned a portrait of Dr Vincent Barry to mark his discovery of the cure for leprosy. It’s that time of year again when shamrockery, Guinness and “Kiss me I’m Irish” hats come to the fore in presenting a particular image of “Irishness” to the world. Photograph: Jack McManus The son of a Methodist minister and born in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, Ernest Walton was a research scholar at Cambridge where under the guidance of Sir Ernest Rutherford with John Cockcroft he successfully managed to split the nuclei of lithium atoms by bombarding them with a stream of protons. Burke was a vocal critic of British policy towards the American colonies, a policy that would eventually lead to the creation of the United States. ADVERTISEMENT The Angel of the Delta Margaret Haughery: an orphan herself, she opened many orphanages in New Orleans becoming known locally as “The Angel of the Delta” Margaret Haughery emigrated to the United States as child to escape the ravages of the famine in south Leitrim and once in America was orphaned when her parents were killed in a yellow fever outbreak. In 1954 Barry was able to synthesise the compound Clofazimine which would become a crucial part of the multi-drug treatment now used for leprosy around the world. When she died in 1882 her funeral was one of the largest the city has ever seen such was her standing in the community. His ideas have had a lasting impact on political discourse in both Britain and America and he is often regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern conservatism. Photograph: Corbis via Getty Images Developed by …

Ireland Now: nine of the best Irish podcasts

It’s 2017 and we are long past the sunset of Irish pirate radio’s boom: but instead of carrying on in silence, we’ve stumbled upon a new dawn. The most recent episode, an interview with disability activist Sinead Burke, is a great gateway as is the live episode featuring Louise O’Neill. As a devout listener, I know podcasting is a terrific outlet for expression and holds potential for great community. The kidney donation episode, in which Regan discusses the realities of organ donation, is a stunning piece of documentary, both intimate and educational. The form is in its infancy in Ireland, so there’s never been a better time to tune in – or start talking. As a form, the podcast is an infinitely more permissive thing than traditional radio broadcasting, and the internet doesn’t have restrictive regulation the way the airwaves do. soundcloud.com/an-irishman-abroad So pick up your earbuds, or pick up your mic, and get going. Mattress Mick and George Hook have also had the chats with Alison – proving each episode truly unique and interesting. While we will always listen to the radio here in Ireland, and many of our hosts have become iconic in their invisible but endlessly listenable presence in homes and cars all across the country, there are scrappy recording studios and hosts all over the country putting together shows of their own. Podcasting allows chat radio on its own terms, and within that is room for sparkling and rare human moments. Regan is a careful and genuinely interested interviewer, allowing each conversation tip between the personal and the political with ease. Some episodes of the show are recorded in front of an audience in Dublin’s The Workmans Club, others in the intimacy of the Headstuff Studios. Podcasting in Ireland is a new and growing community, one that I’ve been involved in for some time: I co-host Juvenalia with Alan McGuire and Ellen Tannem, interviewing guests about childhood obsessions and inspirations, and add a voice to Ireland’s only fiction podcast, a series of horror stories set in a not-so-fictitious Irish town, written by Graham Tugwell. You’ll want to be in the room with them. ADVERTISEMENT headstuff.org An Irishman Abroad Jarlath Regan’s longform interview series is well known in the mainstream, and has certainly earned it’s place as one of the most listened-to Irish podcasts. The Alison Spittle Show Each hour-long segment is an interview with a person …

Ireland Now: The best spoken word in Ireland

Or are you a tech employee that feels your Snapchat, your tweets, and your Instagram feed are all slightly lacking that gritty, hard hitting urban feel? We Face This Land – Sarah Maria Griffin Sarah Maria Griffin’s poem inspired a video by Dave Tynan in support of the #repealtheeighth pro-choice campaign. We don’t have it online but here is the text: The Creative Quarter Are you an artist? Who’s seeking a mix of inner city poverty and high quality design. ADVERTISEMENT Come to the Creative Quarter, where it’s all up for grabs. Or are you a marketing exec that feels that by stepping over syringes you are partaking in an authentic Dublin experience? Electric Picnic – John Cummins Cummins is the real deal; a curious, musical, staccato flow, and brilliantly nostalgic and visceral tales of festival, childhood, football and chippers. The Creative Quarter – Oisin McKenna McKenna is one of the most promising spoken word artists in the country, who avoids misty-eyed accounts of society and instead cuts through with brilliant observational political commentary. There is a splendid simplicity and minimalism to Kenny’s work, which dispenses with hyperbole and is often strangely comforting.  Heartbreak – Emmet Kirwan Kirwan’s feminist flow about autonomy developed as part of RIOT is a soaring piece of work. Untitled – Felispeaks Felicia Olusanyo from Longford’s searingly honest piece about gender identity and figuring out one’s femininity is raw and devoid of cynicism. Cabra – Lewis Kenny Kenny came to broader attention when he was appointed Bohemians FC first ever poet-in-residence, but that unlikely position belies the universal nature of his poetry, which is often very much based in place, and the beauty of community. Little bits of space to be staked out and claimed. What could feel vaguely problematic – a guy talking about a young woman’s experience – perhaps even gains added power in its message, largely thanks to the empathy that is at the centre of much of Kirwan’s work. Brand new developments, still to be named. Or a creative enterprise. So if you have an entrepreneurial drive, take your entrepreneurial mind and bring it to the Creative Quarter, where you can sip €4 filter coffees and develop productivity apps using free wifi and your parents money. The crisis never came to this part of Dublin 8. In the Creative Quarter, you can Instagram pictures of pulled pork and participate in events that …