Saturday, June 28, 2008


Philip Reeve has won the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2008 for 'Here Lies Arthur' his fresh, bold retelling of the Arthurian legend. "It is an outstanding book, and deserving winner," says Tricia Adams, Chair of the 12 strong librarian judging panel. "Reeve's is a consistent story-telling voice that brings us a subtle and credible retelling of the King Arthur myth. It is both a page turning adventure story and a clever historical novel. It also has clear political resonance for our times, demonstrating humanity's need to sustain hope and optimism, and our tendency to favour myth over reality to achieve that end."

The award was set up by a Scottish American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who apparently found such raptures in the libraries of his youth that he resolved "if ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries"; he managed, incidentally, a grand total of 2800. The Carnegie has been awarded by children's librarians for an "outstanding" children's book since 1936, and a moment's browsing through the list of past winners suggests that those humble librarians have been a remarkably prescient bunch. Some of the greatest works of children's literature are here, from Watership Down by Richard Adams to Northern Lights, the first of Philip Pullman's magisterial trilogy

For the second time in three years, illustrator Emily Gravett has won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, the UK's most prestigious award for children's book illustration.
Gravett, whose debut picture book, 'Wolves' won the 2005 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal wins the 2008 award for her fourth book, 'Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears', in which a small rodent confronts terrifying phobias, but eventually (and after much nervous nibbling) feels better when he realises that even human beings can be cowardy custards too.
The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, established in 1956 and named in honour of the distinguished illustrator is awarded for "outstanding illustration in a children's book". Sister award to the CILIP Carnegie Medal, it is judged by an expert panel of children's librarians from the Youth Libraries Group (YLG), and follows the same unique process of nomination, and judging. Distinguished former winners of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, which celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007, include Shirley Hughes, Raymond Briggs and Quentin Blake.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Future primary teachers avail of the Inis Meáin Public Library Service

Over 100 students from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin, Froebel College of Education,Dublin and Marino College of Further Education, Dublin, have just completed (at the end of June) three weeks of study on Inis Meáin on the Aran Islands. The students were taking Irish Language Courses in order to improve their spoken Irish. All students are following the Bachelor of Education Degree which is designed to qualify students to teach in primary school. During their stay on the island the students made good use of the Inis Meáin Public Library service.

During regular visits they consulted the library’s local studies collection and the reference library, and they also used the library to research important Aran writers including Liam O’Flaherty and John Millington Synge. In addition to borrowing books for home use, the students availed of the free internet access which the library provides.

Inis Meáin Librarian, Máirín Uí Chonghaile, assisted the students with their research, and used her own extensive knowledge of the island and the Irish Language in helping the students. As our photographs indicate some of the visits by the students to the library turned into informal seminars led by Máirín Uí Chonghaile.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

'Clicks and Bricks'

Blackwell Publishers are to become the first high-street bookseller to offer print-on-demand books while customers wait. The innovation will be delivered by an "Espresso Book Machine" (EBM), which can print and bind any one of a million titles.
Set to be piloted in this autumn in a branch that is yet to be announced, the chain plans eventually to install EBM machines in all 60 of its shops across the UK. The machine can currently print about 40 pages per minute, but a newer model due later this year is expected to double that speed.

Print-on-demand remains a controversial technology, with publishers' promotional duties to authors relegated to print-on-demand lists, and their rights to such titles as yet unclear. The Society of Authors welcomed the idea of "increasing the ways of getting books to readers", but stressed the importance of resolving these issues as soon as possible.

"It's obviously still at a very early stage," said Blackwell's CEO Vince Gunn. "But the market's changing and that's something we've got to embrace. The EBM is potentially mainstream technology in the future, so why not give it a go now? It might be a white elephant, but who knows until you give it a try?"
"Embracing print-on-demand did not imply that shops would run down their stocks of conventionally published books. The EBM will simply add to the number of available titles available. We believe in a combination of 'clicks and bricks'."

He added that it was not possible yet to say how much the print-on-demand titles would cost, partly because this would ultimately be decided by what customers were prepared to pay.
Target customer includes public and academic libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, university bookstores, university presses, hotels, US post offices and other government offices, reprographic shops, supermarkets, mass retailers, cruise ships, UN agencies, etc.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award

The announcement of the longlist of authors for this year’s Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the world’s richest prize for a short story collection, features one of the strongest Irish representations to date with 2007 Booker award winner Anne Enright featuring alongside 1993 Booker winner Roddy Doyle, as well as 2003 Booker longlist nominee Gerard Donovan.

Jhumpa Lahiri's latest collection, Unaccustomed Earth, recently topped the US book charts and has been immediately pegged as the frontrunner. But the prize for the year's best short story collection in English has a record of rewarding new talent over established names - so Mary Rochford's self-published volume, Gilded Shadows should not be written off too quickly.

With an unprecedented 39 names on the longlist, featuring writers from all continents, it would appear the FOC International Short Story Award’s role in attempting to revive the short story format - which had come to be seen as an ignored genre - is paying off. There are five Irish authors; 14 British authors; four Australian authors; four New Zealand authors; eight US authors; and one each from Canada, Taiwan, Singapore and Nigeria.

The longlist in full is available here

The winner will be declared at the closing event of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival in Cork, Ireland on Sunday September 21st.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Three Rivers Storytelling Festival continues in East Galway

The Three Rivers Storytelling Festival continues next week in Galway Public Library Branches at Ballinasloe, Woodford, Portumna and Loughrea.

Clare Murphy:
June 20th: Woodford Library, 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Loughrea Library 1.30-2.15

Liz Warren:
June 18th: Ballinasloe Library, 12:00 – 12:45 p.m.
June 19th: Portumna Library, 1:15 – 2:00 p.m.

Miceál Ross:
June 19th: Study Abroad Ireland, Croi OIge Seminar Room, 9:30 - 11:00a.m.

Three Rivers Storytelling Concert – Featuring Jack Lynch,
Liz Warren, Danielle Allison, the Study Abroad Ireland Storytellers, and Guests
June 19th: Aidan Heavey Library, Athlone, 6:30 -7:45p.m.

2008 Featured Tellers
Clare Murphy is a wordsmith and storyteller living and working in the west of Ireland. She has told stories to children of all ages from 1-100 years old. Her magical mythical tales have earned the young Irish storyteller numerous appearances at national and international festivals, including Ondas de Contos Festival in Lisbon, Choowaawaa Children’s Festival, Skiberreen Co. Cork, and at the Children's Museum of Denver, Colorado, USA.

Liz Warren, a fourth-generation Arizonan, is a storyteller, teacher, writer and co-founder of the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. She has performed nationally and in Ireland and England. Representing SMCC, she is the producer of the annual Mesa Storytelling Festival in Mesa, Arizona. Her new textbook, The Oral Tradition Today: An Introduction to the Art of Storytelling will be published in 2008. Every summer she comes to Ireland to teach "The Irish Storytelling Tradition" as part of Mesa Community College’s Study Abroad Ireland Program.

Miceál Ross
is a storyteller and a scholar. His quick wit and great store of tales provide his listeners with surprising and satisfying storytelling experiences. He taught folklore at the Saor-Ollscoil for more than 10 years. He has worked in New Zealand, Canada and the U.S., in Germany and Czechoslovakia. He has contributed to storytelling events in Scotland and Spain and founded the Dublin Yarnspinners Club which has flourished since 1995. He is a founder-member of Storytellers of Ireland.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Debut novel wins IMPAC Award

Beirut-born author Rawi Hage has won the world’s richest literary prize for his debut novel De Niro’s Game. He won the 13th annual International Impac Dublin Literary Award valued at €100,000, which was announced today.

Hage, who was born in Beirut, lived through nine years of civil war in the city before emigrating to Canada. His debut novel beat off competition from 137 titles, nominated by 162 public libraries from 45 countries.The winning novel, first published by House of Anansi Press, Canada, was chosen by a panel of five international judges from a shortlist of eight, including Patrick McCabe’s, Winterwood, heralded by critics as the Monaghan man’s best work yet.

The IMPAC DUBLIN award is unique for being the largest literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English, as well as for being nominated by public libraries from around the globe. De Niro's Game was nominated by Winnipeg Public Library, in Rawi Hage’s adopted home of Canada.

The Impac panel, which this year included Irish academic and writer Eibhlín Evans, said: "Rawi Hage's De Niro's Game is an eloquent, forthright and at times beautifully written first novel. Ringing with insight and authenticity the novel shows how war can envelop lives. It's a game where there are no winners, just degrees of survival. It's a wonderful debut and a deserving winner."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

First Annual Three Rivers Storytelling FestivalJune 4 – June 19th, 2008

Three Rivers Storytelling Festival is a month long celebration of the great traditional art of storytelling. Based in the Midlands, this annual festival features storytellers from Ireland and America. The goal of the festival is to highlight one of Ireland’s greatest treasures – its stories – while strengthening bonds among the communities in the Midlands.

Liz Weir:
June 11th: Loughrea Library, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Portumna Library, 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
June 12th: Study Abroad Ireland, Croi Oige Seminar Rm, 9.30 :11.00a.m.
Aidan Heavey Library, Athlone, 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
June 13th: Ballinasloe Library, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Danielle Allison:
June13th: Killimor Library, 10:15 – 11:00 a.m.
Eyrecourt Library, 11:30 – 12:15 p.m.

Susie Minto:

June 13th: Woodford Library, 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

More Festival dates will be posted here soon

2008 Featured Tellers

Liz Weir has worked with all age groups for over thirty years promoting the traditional art for which Ireland is world famous. A children’s librarian by training, she now travels the world telling stories to adults and children, organising workshops on storytelling, and speaking at courses for parents, teachers and librarians. Her wealth of stories is drawn from both the oral and written traditions. She was the first winner of the International Storybridge Award for “exemplary work in promoting storytelling between Ireland and other countries”. She is the director of the Ulster Storytelling Festival and has been a featured teller at major festivals in Ireland, England, Scotland and in the United States.
Danielle Allison comes from a teaching background. She has worked with children in schools all over Ireland, including six-Fridays-in-a-row sessions to help children make their own puppet shows, write their own stories, and live historical adventures in role-playing living storytelling. She has also worked in homework clubs, libraries, festivals, playgroups and even hospitals all over the country. Danielle will prepare special story and art sessions on a requested theme, for example jungle, mermaids and sea life, etc.
Susie Minto has a deep love for stories and their energy. She enjoys telling all kinds of tales - traditional stories and legends from her Scottish roots and from many world cultures, as well as personal anecdotes and spontaneous stories straight from her imagination. Susie is happy working with all ages - from birth to centenarians - and in any setting - outdoors or indoors. She likes to tell stories not least because of the way that they reach into people's lives, open up understanding and create a sense of well-being.

The organizing committee are grateful to the following organizations whose sponsorship made this festival possible: The Arts Council, Ballinasloe Credit Union, Ballinasloe Community Arts Group, Galway County Libraries, Westmeath County Libraries, Study Abroad Ireland, and Tickety Boo Playcentre.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Adventures in Reading

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

Fault Lines, by Nancy Huston, Grove Press
The story sweeps from 1945, where a young girl, Kristina, stolen as a baby from the Ukraine, is living with what she thinks is her real German family during the collapse of Germany. Narrated by children from four generations of the same family, the book traces their history back through the years, from California to New York, from Haifa to Toronto and Munich. Canadian-born Huston won the Prix Femina, one of France's most prestigious literary prizes, for this book.

Doctor Glas, by Hjalmar Soderberg, Knopf
Set over four months of a stifling Stockholm summer, it takes the form of the journal of the eponymous doctor. He is a man who, 'at past 30 years of age, [has] never been near a woman'. One day, the beautiful Mrs Gregorious comes to his surgery. She is the much younger wife of the loathsome Pastor Gregorious, a man she married out of a misplaced sense of religious duty, and whose insistence on his marital 'rights' has become unbearable to her. She begs Glas for his help.

Letter from Casablanca, by Antonio Tabucchi. New Directions Publishing Corp.
Tabucchi does not want to give answers to the reader but to ask questions of the reader. Tabucchi says that "doubts are like stains on a shirt. I like shirts with stains, because when I’m given a shirt that’s too clean, one that’s completely white, I immediately start having doubts. It’s the job of writers to cast doubt on perfection. Perfection spawns doctrines, dictators and totalitarian ideas."