Not everyone murders people in their sleep

Both Lying in Wait, and my forthcoming novel Skin Deep are mostly set in the 1980s. I believe that killing another human being out of anger or frustration or jealousy must cause a fracture in one’s emotional structure. We each apply our imagination to the page and some of us are lucky enough to get published. We are the ones looking over our shoulders, making sure that we have our keys in our hands, texting each other to make sure we got home safely. The vast majority of them manage to overcome these obstacles and move on to live fulfilling lives. What makes them tick and how they deal with the horror of what they have done. Writing is not and never has been a competition between the sexes. They are talking to themselves (and the reader). The relief when I wake from those nightmares is immense. What a wonderful world. If there is a difference between the way men and women write, I’m afraid I don’t see it. I grew up in that decade and it was a time of great threat. He also held my brothers and sisters at knifepoint one night, so I grew up with a general feeling of insecurity, as if nobody could really be safe. I used to work on RTÉ’s Fair City and one day in a story meeting, we were discussing a character who had just killed somebody and I insisted that he must be extremely distressed and I said aloud “You know the way when you dream you’ve murdered somebody and you wake up in the horrors?” Everyone just stared at me and that was when I realised that not everyone murders people in their sleep. Malcolm MacArthur murdered a nurse Bridie Gargan, who was innocently sunbathing in the middle of the day in the Phoenix Park. Liz Nugent’s debut novel ‘Unravelling Oliver’ was an ‘Irish Times’ bestseller and a Simon Mayo book club pick. Her latest book, ‘Lying in Wait’ was an ‘Irish Times’ and ‘Sunday Times’ bestseller as well as a ‘Richard and Judy’ pick. These choices are made out of desperation and have far-reaching and devastating consequences for those around them. Maybe Tana French and Alex Barclay opened the doors for the rest of us, and as writer Jane Casey says, women are more attuned to threat. I thought I was going to be killed. I was a …

Corbyn chants, T-shirts and sculptures: Jeremania hits Glastonbury

We’re just going to go with the flow, just go and see who’s giving the good vibe.” Guardian We’ve seen musicians playing with Corbyn necklaces, and everywhere you walk you hear people break out into Jeremy Corbyn chants. And it’s such a different vibe from last year. The festival, they said, had always been on their bucket list. Even bands from abroad have been giving him a shout-out, as they’ve clearly heard everyone going, ‘Jeremy Corbyn, Jeremy Corbyn,’ and they’re joining in.” In the dance area Shangri-La on Thursday, the New York brass band were leading the crowds in the ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ chant, and the giant sand sculpture near the Park Stage was of Corbyn riding on the back of a fox and chasing Theresa May through fields of wheat. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire Ed Balls was stopped for selfies every five minutes and met with shrieks of delight, to the bemusement of his wife, Yvette Cooper Indeed, it seems that this year politicians are the new rock stars. Je-rem-y Cor-byn.” Glastonbury this year may boast appearances from the biggest acts in the world, Ed Sheeran and Radiohead among them, but judging by the T-shirts, flags and impromptu musical outbursts, the man of the hour is the Labour party’s 68-year-old leader. With everything that’s going on, we should be coming together like this more than ever. “I’m wearing it because Corbyn has put Labour back to where it should have been,” he said. The former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, enjoying his first Glastonbury, was stopped for selfies every five minutes as he walked around Shangri-La and was met with shrieks of delight and songs everywhere he went, to the bemusement of his wife, Yvette Cooper, who hasn’t been to Glastonbury for 30 years. The political antics continued into Friday, when a man dressed as May in a full red suit and wig was chased through the crowd at the bandstand by eight foxes, to riotous cheers. “I’ve been so overwhelmed by the spirit of this festival, it’s definitely something the world needs right now,” said Wright. The chorus started at 10pm on Thursday in the dark sweaty depths of the Glastonbury silent disco. Andrew Myors, who is 30, and Matt Foncette, who is 32, said they had been among those singing the Corbyn when one of the DJs played The White Stripes’ track Seven Nation Army – the backing …

Glastonbury highlights: from Corbyn chants to Ed Sheeran via grime

Expect drag queens, disco and champagne. BBC Two kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday. Radiohead at Glastonbury: a slow creep towards transcendence Corbyn chants, T-shirts and sculptures: Jeremania hits Glastonbury NYC Downlow official 10th birthday party, Block9, 2.30am The best and most debauched late-night spot at Glastonbury celebrates its 10th birthday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley Ed Sheeran, Pyramid Stage, 9.45pm The nicest man in music takes his chart-topping acoustic strummings to the Pyramid Stage as the Glastonbury grand finale. Guardian BBC radio is also broadcasting from the festival. BBC Four joins in at 7pm on both days. John McDonnell, Left Field, 1pm The British shadow chancellor, and Corbyn’s close ally, will be part of a panel, chaired by John Harris of the Guardian, discussing the flaws in the UK’s democratic system. Yanis Varoufakis and Elif Safak, Left Field, 1.30pm It is sure to be a lively discussion between Varoufakis, the popular former Greek finance minister, and the Turkish author as they take on the issues of secularism and free speech. Barry Gibb, Pyramid Stage, 4.45pm Feel the Saturday Night Fever as Barry Gibb brings all the disco you will ever need to the Sunday legends slot. Sunday Mykki Blanco, Pussy Parlure, 12.30am Blanco brings fearless, sardonic, emotive queer rap to the Pussy Parlure. Katy Perry, Pyramid Stage, 6pm One of the world’s biggest stars is likely to put on a grade-A stadium-pop extravaganza when she performs on the Pyramid Stage. Kiefer Sutherland, Avalon, 4.50pm Most know him as the rule-breaking secret agent Jack Bauer in 24, but the actor will be showcasing his country-music talents in the afternoon. Solange, West Holts, 8.30pm So much more than Beyoncé’s little sister, Solange released one of the most powerful and sophisticated albums of last year, with songs musing on race and mental health. The BBC has buckets of Glastonbury coverage, as usual. Ed Sheeran: the nicest man in music is on the Pyramid Stage as Glastonbury’s grand finale. Expect the biggest chants of the festival as the crowds inevitably launch into Oh Jeremy Corbyn. Saturday Jeremy Corbyn, Pyramid Stage, 4pm In one of the most hotly anticipated moments of the festival, Corbyn will introduce the outspoken political hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, who have given their backing to the British Labour Party leader. Grime powerhouses, Other Stage, 10.15pm The grime collective Boy Better Know, featuring some of the UK’s best …

Radiohead at Glastonbury: a slow creep towards transcendence

If you can’t see the stage itself, what’s actually going on up there remains something of a mystery, not a state of affairs much improved by Thom Yorke’s unique approach to between-song chat: a Derek and Clive-ish rumination on ley lines, some stylised laughter, a suggestion that Theresa May “shut the door on [her] way out” and a mumble about “useless politicians” that provokes an inevitable chorus of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” to the tune of Seven Nation Army from the crowd. It’s hard not to be struck by the breadth of what Radiohead can do – from 2+2 = 5’s experimental pulse to the straightforward loveliness of Street Spirit (Face Out)’s melody to the epic prog rock of Paranoid Android. The band’s set starts out in remarkably low-key style, the screens either side of the stage turned off, the band playing a lambent piano ballad It has an oddly alienating effect. Guardian The band’s set starts out in remarkably low-key style, the screens either side of the stage turned off, the band playing a lambent piano ballad. The set achieves vertical takeoff during a thrilling version of ‘Idioteque’ But the people who leave have made a mistake. Not even a gorgeous version of Pyramid Song or Everything in Its Right Place seems to placate them: in certain areas, at least, the crowd starts to thin out. When the screens do come on, they’re showing a pretty abstract interpretation of what’s actually happening on stage: images of Radiohead’s members overlaid with each other, static interference and computer graphics. The early leavers have made a mistake. But there’s also the sense that the less committed members of the audience are becoming a bit restive. Given Radiohead’s famously fractious relationship with their first big hit – and its almost complete lack of resemblance to the music they went on to make – the performance of Creep is greeted with something approaching astonished delight. Likewise, the music offers what you might call the full gamut of the Radiohead experience: tracks from OK Computer – Lucky, Let Down, the impossibly sombre Exit Music (For a Film) – interspersed with more abstract latter-day material: it’s hard to think of another band that can fill stadiums playing songs as angular and uncommercial as the propulsive clatter of 15 Step and Myxomatosis. Finally, they play Karma Police: when the song ends Yorke stays on stage, playing another burst …

Hennesy New Irish Writing winning poems: June 2017

The strap tightens and you feel your pulse swell like nights out on too much whiskey or carrying something heavy down the stairs. A pause goes by filled with expectation and sure enough a sting pricks the vein, the needle’s freight shortening your breath. Your breath covers my lips with its clammy kiss. The same could be said of our hearts under the sky’s evening fire, the drama it creates in secret kingdoms. You’ve your eyes closed pretending to be asleep and so have I but soon I’m drifting in the sweet undertow, reconstructing the memory of your face. Here We lie face to face on the bed not saying anything because what are words but a prelude to silence. She sighs and tuts, apologises, mops where blood had spilled down your elbow onto the gurney. The Scan She takes your arm so easily, lifts it wing-like away from your side, the loose wrist hers if only for a second. You stare at the ceiling’s holes and tell her not to worry. This is love, even if the term has lost all meaning in the wake of American TV shows who use it as a crutch. Kevin Graham’s poems have appeared in ‘Poetry Ireland Review’, ‘The Stinging Fly’, ‘Oxford Poetry’ and on RTÉ Radio’s ‘Arena’ and ‘Sunday Miscellany’. He’s working on a first collection. I want to tell you about the beauty of the universe, how pain is woven into the fabric of existence but my voice idles when you tap your fingers on my jaw and ask me to wake and gradually I see the ocean of your eyes floating above me as if I’m an old man struggling to remember my name and you’re sitting there waiting for me to make some kind of sign or gesture that says this is why we’re here. She injects the dye and something changes, your heart a floodgate, no longer crimson. Our rosy noses are tip to tip as in The Creation of Adam suspended forever, forever almost touching.

The Bodhi Tree: a poem by Eoin Devereux

As well as numerous academic books and articles, he has published short fiction and poetry in journals such as Wordlegs, the Bohemyth, Number Eleven and Boyne Berries. He lectured on David Bowie and Pierrot at the 2017 UL Frank McCourt Summer School in Creative Writing at New York University His short story Mrs Flood was published by Number Eleven Magazine in late 2016. We weren’t that surprised When Paddy Brassil pointed it out to us For he had a weather eye for such things A hazel tree sprouting in the left-hand corner Of our trim suburban tablecloth garden And, for all our weeding and trimming Spraying and mowing We’d never noticed it Paddy knew: How to read clouds Why a clamour of rooks would swoop in the evening air How there’d be a hard winter Where the best wild mushrooms were He minded our tree, as if it were his own In early spring, he heralded its new catkins In summer, he peered through the green cloaked branches To see if the house-sparrows had fashioned a home In autumn, he harvested its tanned fruits, one by one He knew: That we live just once That there is no such thing as heaven That we all return To the earth To begin the cycle again Eoin Devereux is a professor at the University of Limerick.

Books of the month for children: A boy refugee and the experience of change

The King of the Sky works well as both a stand-alone story and a starting point for discussing important political issues of migration. While mum and dad take a postprandial nap, he wanders into the woods where he meets an apple-eating hedgehog, a blueberry-snuffling owl, and a carrot-crunching rabbit. nothing was the same”. Endorsed by Amnesty International, King of the Sky tells the story of a young refugee who finds himself drawn to an old man who keeps racing pigeons. The site of her fear is now her home. “I Only want fish”, he insists stubbornly. Adult art-lovers will relish the opportunity to steal a glance at Leonora Carrington’s The Milk of Dreams (New York Review Children’s Collection, £11.99, 5+), a surreal collection of symbolic stories and eccentric characters, like John, who has a pair of wings for ears that take flight one day long with his head, or Jeremy, who feeds his couch until it outgrows him. As the pair track the birds’ journey across Europe, the boy finds a way to make sense of his own situation, gently revealing the idea of home as a site of self-invention. When her 17-year-old sister, Sukie, disappears during an air-raid one night, Olive and her brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devonshire coast, where a begrudging lighthouse-keeper takes them in. A little girl’s life is turned upside down when her family move house: “new town, new school… Richard Smythe’s illustrations feature fabulous cut-out collage pictures and the animal characters, with their quizzical expressions and rolling eyes, are particularly appealing. With a little bit of peer support, Dozy Bear finds himself turning into quite the omnivorous eater. Nothing makes sense to 12-year-old Olive anymore, the protagonist of Emma Carroll’s gripping historical drama, Letters from the Lighthouse (Faber and Faber, £6.99, 10+). On her journeys to and from school, the girl’s environment slowly becomes familiar, and Fawcett creates a visual journey for the reader as her illustrations gradually shed their grey hue and become suffused with colour. Written by Katie Blackburn, it follows the adventures of fussy foodie Dozy Bear, who sets off into the forest looking for something to eat after refusing the family feast. Less well-known are her fictional picture-books, which often feature animals in their natural habitats, although King of the Sky (Walker Books, £12.99, 4+), Davies’ second collaboration with illustrator Laura Carlin, has a humanitarian rather than an ecological …

Hennessy New Irish Writing winner: June 2017

He kissed me when I was bleeding. I couldn’t move my arms. Protestants were missing a trick in my book. Despite that, he referred to women’s things; he said it the same way a plumber said female items, when the toilet got blocked some years later. I had an older friend who saved me with a packet of Fastidious, Immaculate, or Untouchable, whatever it was they were called. The blood that comes after birth, the volume that is okay (half a litre) and the volume that is not okay (one and a half litres, two, three). I fastened on the dreamlike movement of the water, staring into that darkening ebb. True – but in fairness my song was very good. I thought of him then, his tongue on me, the knee of one leg turned out, silenced by something so beautiful I didn’t have a word for it. I wasn’t sure if he spoke them in hope-or despair. Love, Love, Love. My dad’s spade-calling was a rural inheritance. Everything was beginning to fragment – not like glass, sharp and bright, but like things dropping away, a steady exhaustion of my brain, a slowing of my breathing. Was I conscious or unconscious? Yes, I said, biting him harder. He kissed me when I was bleeding. I could still hear him, the words dimming, like the falling cadence of a song. It made sense to me, the way linguistics and Lacan would later, the way labour would. The Hook and the Needle Poem of the week: Naming of the Bones Books of the month for children: A boy refugee and the experience of change With my body I thee worship, he whispered in my ear, afterwards. He’d grown up with animals, a routine of mating, milk, dying and meat. I looked at him, with all the solemnity the moment required, touching his face. I wanted to put my hands across my chest, to summon him there, a comfort. Let’s skin up. They were slim-line versions of the bricks my mother had – or used to, by the time I started, which was around the time she was angry and sad all the time. I was a day early and didn’t realise until I rolled over, saw the maps of blood, fresh and bright on my inner thighs, tasted the tannin on his tongue when he kissed my mouth. My mother used white …

When you’re in a hole, Ryan Tubridy, stop digging

Ireland by bike You know things are bad after that when Morning Ireland (RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays) provides light relief. With the centenary of his death in July, it’s an eloquent tribute to a writer whose work defies easy definition but still sings. Tubridy’s breezy style is made for carefree sunny days, but sometimes it’s better to keep mum. Add to this the impression that a phone-in host appears more exercised than the Minister responsible and you get radio that is compelling but despairing too. Hook to Coppinger: ‘You have no manners. Calmly lucid for much of the time, Catherine breaks down regularly as she talks about her brother’s death. Ryan Tubridy usually isn’t one to get flustered during embarrassing or awkward situations – he hosts The Late Late Show every week, after all – but on Tuesday’s Ryan Tubridy Show (RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays) he is left discombobulated by the mother of all slip-ups. On air, at least, McCormack is going in the right direction. His antennae twitching at mention of this contentious issue, Tubridy smooths over any potential partisanship by remarking that a referendum on the abortion issue “should settle it one way or another, regardless of the outcome”. Before Catherine has finished her account the host is speaking to another Waterford woman who survived a similar experience. Drawing on contemporary contributors as well as archive interviews with Ledwidge’s brother, the programme traces the poet’s short life, exploring how his verse drew on his rural background, as well as his political sympathies and, of course, his doomed service with the British army in Flanders. But as well as being a human tragedy, it’s an indictment of the health system. After greeting his audience in customarily cheery fashion, his tone abruptly changes. “It’s like life,” she says. MOMENT OF THE WEEK: SLANE’S WAR POET REMEMBERED Devotees of poetry may have bittersweet feelings about The Lyric Feature: When the War Is Over (Lyric FM, Friday), but Claire Cunningham’s documentary about Francis Ledwidge, the Co Meath poet killed in the first World War, tells a quietly captivating story. It’s particularly damning that it has taken an unnecessary death to bring the matter to a head. Sorry. Catherine is calling to highlight the fact that the medical facility that could have saved Powers’s life operates only during weekday office hours. Trea sings the praises of losing oneself in her on-site labyrinth. “This …

The Hook and the Needle

Her purple regulation beret’s stuffed in her blazer pocket and for years it’s been too tight: England tethered fast in sad allotments, dripping on toast for tea, her father hacking coal dust into hankies, never to work again, the wireless a sodden blanket over every single stifled evening since consciousness began. Slide out the vinyl, lower the stylus and she’s through – leaving a note that she hoped would say more – in the blink of an eye: metal worker, rock chick, Communist, vanished across to Belfast on the Liverpool ferry – just for a holiday, promise – blindingly short – skirted, ready to blow a hole as wide as a gunwale in my staggered father’s heart. Her friend is huge with news. My mother’s Irish children dangle off walls and fences and imagine each half of their bodies awash with differently-coloured blood. This new band – my brother shares their flat in Liverpool – their first single’s due out soon – he says it’s a sure- fire number one – they’re set to be massive – My mother snaps her throat shut, blows an ‘O’ as neat as a bracelet, flicks ash from her cigarette and listens. Hooks and needles: the lives we stitch, the lives we pull apart to sew from scratch once more among our opposites – my mother’s gypsy slipperiness still exists in me, who, over halfway through perhaps (one never knows), am hitching high my skirts and running, aiming for the needle, ditching almost everything I own, shutting my eyes, as she once did, to land where she began, in a confetti of sweet pea and snapdragon, the tea still warm in its cosy, the back door on the latch.   On the other side of the needle, my mother’s freezing her knitted socks off practising smoke rings at the back of the Craft Hut in Miss Violet Markham’s School for Girls in Chesterfield. Her mother falling asleep of an afternoon with her apron on in a suntrap at the end of the garden sinks out of sight, and not even riots or bombs or the postman shot dead in Kilwilkie for handling letters tarnished by stamps of the Queen can summon her up again.

Poem of the week: Naming of the Bones

We hurt, my Christ, we hurt. At the heart of it. Deane John F Deane’s recent books are the poetrry collection, “Semibreve” ( Carcanet ) and a memoir “Give Dust a Tongue” (Columba ) There is a season, the Big Book says, a time to die, a time to weep, and a time for peace; no one, it says, can understand what is happening under the sun; I saw the bare breast heaving, that once beautiful breast; I hurt for you, for your beloved once beautiful, body, each twist or twitch, each reach and wrench adds to the fire in your flesh and bones; I plead to creator lover God for you, to ease your pain, to mother you. And yet… You. Today, my Christ, June 14, twenty-seventeen, Grenfell Tower in London was engulfed in flames; inestimable furnace, suffering unbearable. Words, the Big Book says, can be wearisome, a chasing after wind. the world breaks. A child appears for a moment, at a window of the sixteenth floor, a moment only, frantic, waving: to a not-there-saviour; you? Hurting. London, June 2017 I looked up and saw you, your distorted body writhing again in agony. Why is our spittle hot with bitterness? I wince once more at the bitter-spittle angers of humankind: the blunted iron nails driven through your caring hands, your tender feet; so that impossible you hang from them, and stand on them; the muscles cramp and spasm, and your face, so beautiful once, is contorted with sweat and ugliness, with blood and sweat and tears. But the beautiful body breaks, and yields. The world Re-forms. Yearning and grief trouble us. John F.

Dear England: Here’s who the DUP are

They’re not remotely queer. The attachment to the United Kingdom is wrongly framed as an affection for England The analogy doesn’t really work. The DUP’s loyalty to (ahem) the Crown fails to inspire any great Anglophilia. This overlooks the obvious fact that the UK is a family of nations that – despite their differing sizes and influence – pretend to equality. Given the slightest encouragement – indeed the slightest discouragement – DUP members will stomp down your street hammering drums the size of landing craft. The news that, following the Tories’ failure to gain an overall majority, the DUP would be entering into an arrangement with the minority government has been met with the same bafflement that might greet the arrival of cargo cultists to Downing Street. The English don’t care. Lord help Dirk Britannia if he ever runs off the road near the DUP’s stony grey mansion. Tweets are sent. Unionists know they have the right – the RIGHT, I SAY! What more would you expect? Oh, the ingratitude of some people. Letters are written. Who else still refers to the British army as “Crown forces?”) They’re here. The people of Middlesborough call that thing down which cars drive “the road”. The average British person knows little and cares less about Northern Ireland Yet the unionist community has got little recognition from fellow patriots on the other side of the Irish Sea. No great love is lost between England and the awkward top right corner of Ireland. It springs from an ancient, misguided assumption. There are endless cultural foibles that – despite the narcissism of small differences – unite Northern Irish unionists and nationalists. The average British person knows little and cares less about Northern Ireland. What more would you expect from a nation that serves fry-ups without soda bread? It’s not as if they are a shy bunch. They get enormously and irrationally jealous when rumours emerge of his impending marriage (to Allesandra Europa, for example). Yet for all that loyalty, the “mainland” stubbornly recognises them not. Nothing gives a northerner greater pleasure than the fury generated when an English shop assistant refuses a Northern Irish banknote. One is a desire to see just about anybody beat England at rugby. “Who are the DUP and what do they stand for?” the Mirror expanded. Typical of them. – to progress down “the Queen’s highway”. A less temperate man than …

Arundhati Roy: ‘It’s a hatred that crosses the line’

“More people ended up reading that than ever read the book,” I was told, making it clear that I should consider myself in disgrace until further notice. “There’s nothing like it,” she says, placing a hand on her heart. As in, I write about issues that are really divisive. I’m nervous that Roy will approach our conversation in a guarded fashion but to my relief she’s gracious from the start, projecting a natural warmth that makes me feel as if I’m in the company of a long-time friend. I mention an incident that took place the night before when a writer took to Twitter to disparage Theresa May as a “whore” and JK Rowling bit back, saying she was “sick of ‘liberal’ men whose mask slips every time a woman displeases them, who reach immediately for crude and humiliating words associated with femaleness”. But this newspaper’s literary correspondent Eileen Battersby, a critic not known for half-formed thoughts or noncommittal opinions, compared reading it to “spending years knitting a giant sweater only to discover that it actually has three sleeves”. “In India,” she tells me, “if a woman says anything against the central national order, the first thing is rape her. It’s like navigating a city, taking people down byways and blind alleys. “I think often people put the cart before the horse. Last month, when the army took a Kashmiri man and tied him to a jeep and used him as a human shield, people were celebrating. Everybody is boasting about it. The whole atmosphere in the country suddenly altered, it became very nationalist, very Hindu-chauvinist, so the first thing I did was to write this essay called The End of Imagination, and after that I started writing more essays.” So, what brought her back to fiction? This is perhaps a crime against humanity to me.” It is Roy’s refusal to compromise her beliefs or play the role of cultural ambassador for India that has made her such a divisive figure in her home country. I’m thinking about this as I make my way into town to meet Arundhati Roy, the Booker Prize-winning author of The God of Small Things, whose second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, is one of the publishing events of 2017. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a response not only to India as it is today but also to a changing world. It’s a …

Emma Donoghue: ‘When I have an idea, I hurl myself at it’

She had come across Room in that very ordinary way, in an airport bookshop. Everyone who worked on the show wears a carnation.” “So it’s who to blame, basically?” Enthralling Inside the Theatre Royal Stratford East, the cramped dimensions of the London stage, and the perceived inescapability of the theatre, amplify the horror of being crammed into a tiny room. “It’s a tradition going back a very long time. “I should never say never. It reminds us of lots of other situations in which people are not free.” Donoghue is far more comfortable in theatre than among the madness of Hollywood. “I still really click with Irish people. “Emma Donoghue Room” is writ large in lights; Donoghue says it’s like bringing a picture home from school and seeing it stuck up on the fridge. He was just one of the gang and he wasn’t the lead one, because he was not that experienced in TV, but he enjoyed it. “You can get a film actor to do a performance in little pieces and then you edit it altogether. With The Leftovers, he’s one of the writers in the writers’ room of the adaptation of his book. I’ve messed them up forever.” But the story’s malleability means it resonates differently depending on where it is experienced. “I have plenty of lower energy days when I don’t achieve much, but when you get seized by an idea, I hurl myself at it because otherwise the idea gets away. Theatre is so much less about the glitz and much more, you’re all in a room together in your yoga pants working really hard at something.” She describes getting down on the floor, banging saucepans. Donoghue described him as “like everybody’s superhero or guardian angel figure”. Donoghue was to have a similar experience with Bissett. Not at all, Donoghue says, describing it as “a satisfying trilogy of experiences. ‘Film production’ Canada is very much home for Donoghue after 19 years there but she comes back to Ireland every summer. It’s not used in the way musicals typically do, to declare things.” She thinks the songs are the best part. When I got the idea for The Lotterys Plus One [her recent children’s book] at a dinner party, by the end of the night I pretty much had it plotted out in my head. “We needed to solve the problem of the child,” Donoghue says. …

Taking Travellers out of the picture

It was taken, as the caption explains, at “a reception in the Peacock Theatre, Dublin, last night to open the Itinerant Settlement Week.. The fact that it didn’t even occur to anyone to include the maker of the caravan surely speaks volumes about the assumptions and attitudes of half a century ago. Looking back through news photographs from bygone days, it’s easy to get the impression that nothing much changes in our corner of the world. On rare occasions they even change for the better. Happily, some things do. Why is there no Traveller in the picture? Arminta Wallace These and other Irish Times images can be purchased from: irishtimes.com/photosales. But the strongest impression given by this photograph has nothing to do with the presence of these three individuals. Rather, it’s an absence. A book, The Times We Lived In, with more than 100 photographs and commentary by Arminta Wallace, published by Irish Times Books, is available from irishtimes.com and from bookshops, priced at €19.99. The men in the photograph – named as, from left, “Mr Vincent Jones, organiser of the week’s activities, Dr Cecil Day-Lewis, Poet Laureate, and Mr Niall Tobin” – are examining a beautifully detailed model of a caravan which, the caption assures readers, was crafted by a Traveller. .” In defence of all concerned, let it be said that in the 1960s the integration of Travellers into the settled community was not only accepted practice in Irish political circles but was regarded by many as the noblest, if not necessarily kindest, of social aspirations. When Taoiseach Enda Kenny made a statement in the Dáil a couple of months ago, formally recognising Travellers as a distinct ethnic group, it was the culmination of a 30-year campaign by Traveller organisations, many representatives of whom were in the public gallery, and greeted Mr Kenny’s remarks with a standing ovation. To get some idea of what the activists have been up against we should rewind to the autumn of 1968, when this image was published on the front page of The Irish Times in the autumn of 1968. We should also note that the image is attempting to put a positive spin on the situation.

Peace or oppression? What our vision of the future says about us

What the show captures, with an uncanny timeliness, is the sense of a stunned public, cowed and outraged. For an obese fellow his is a rare complaint: he is in imminent danger of losing weight. Staged by the Everyman Theatre this week as part of Cork Midsummer Festival (it comes to Project Arts Centre, in Dublin, next week), Radley’s play is in some ways a parable about adaptability. Culture Shock: A daring reinvention of Shakespeare Culture Shock: Brendan Behan – playwright, novelist, terrorist Culture Shock: The trouble with memories A mesmerising corpulence has made him a prime attraction at a travelling freak show. The marketing is adjusted to suit prevailing prejudices: “Even the most wanton amongst us have the power to change within.” To watch this play at the same time as The Handmaid’s Tale, the current TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, is to feel the shivers of suppression, brutal and subtle, and dark capitulations to hyperconservative ideas. Lynda Radley’s play Futureproof, finally making its Irish premiere six years after its Scottish debut, begins with a man anxiously watching his figure. “Don’t worry, you’re still fat,” he is assured by a bearded lady, a fellow performer in Robert Riley’s Odditorium. “But for how long?” The times, and public tastes, are changing, and as audiences for Riley’s Odditorium become leaner, so does the professional fat man. Atwood drew from real examples of the subjugation of women – too many to count – describing her novel not as sci-fi but as speculative fiction. How did nobody see this coming? But for the ironically named Tiny this could jeopardise his livelihood. The fat man slims down, the bearded lady shaves, the hermaphrodite is encouraged to pick a side, and the conjoined twins consider going their separate ways The fat man slims down, the bearded lady shaves, the hermaphrodite is encouraged to pick a side, and the conjoined twins consider going their separate ways. The TV series concentrates, more vividly than Atwood ever found necessary, on flashbacks of societal transition, of a familiar society first slipping, then plunging into tyranny. “Yes,” he replies. This, of course, becomes a kind of sly horror show, as one by one the team undergo an onstage conversion for the sake of fickle popularity. If the audience, chastened by Darwinian theory and religious strictures, will no longer stump up for rarity, the ringleader diversifies the acts in …

Irish Landmark Trust celebrates 25 years saving buildings

On Saturday, the trust celebrates its 25th anniversary in the Long Gallery of Castletown House, a sumptuous Palladian house built in the 18th century for the speaker of the House of Commons, William Conolly. The anniversary is but a blink of an eye in the lifespan of most of the buildings which have been saved, restored and managed, but it is a significant milestone, nevertheless, says the trust’s director Mary O’Brien. “Not only did we have to convince the government, we had to convince the owners,” she says. Win everyone over It sounds simple, but O’Brien says it took a while to win everyone over. “Buildings always adapt over the years.” Now, Landmark is old enough to have to consider the challenge of renovating its own renovations. “The Irish Georgian Society was championing the bigger houses, but there was a gap for smaller buildings. The Landmark Trust has rescued lighthouses, schoolhouses, thatched cottages, even a castle or two from destruction since it was founded a quarter of a century ago. All you need for your al fresco dining this summer Quiet generosity Like so many other bodies, Landmark benefited from the quiet generosity of US billionaire Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies. “We had to convince Fáilte Ireland that it’s okay not to have a television,” she went on, though the renovated properties are fitted out to a high quality with modern kitchens, bathrooms and comfortable sleeping-quarters. But each retains its integrity. The business model of the non-profit trust is simple: it takes over endangered properties from owners, usually on a lifetime lease, restores them and then rents them out as self-catering holiday rentals. Instead, its brief has been to rescue, restore and bring back to life buildings that are romantic, eclectic and, in some cases, downright odd. Design Moments: Toile de Jouy, c 1760 Which décor tribe do you belong to? The imposing Kildare mansion is not the sort of landmark the trust was set up to protect. O’Brien believes there are a range of institutional buildings which are now under pressure and ripe for renovation. We had to convince Fáilte Ireland that it’s okay not to have a television The oldest property currently on its books is Clomantagh Castle, a medieval tower house in Freshford, Co Kilkenny dating from the early 1400s. “Without that money it wouldn’t have been possible,” she says. “It was very much modelled on the principles …