“I felt compelled to go. So I went, and I’m glad I did. There was a memorial service for Siobhan Dowd in Oxford yesterday. The Holywell Music Rooms was a beautiful place to have it. The weather was beautiful. And the celebration of Siobhan’s life and work was beautifully put together. Siobhan’s husband Geoff and friends started it off by singing Gypsy Rover. Then David Fickling (“the Lancashire Comedian”) and Fiona Dunbar did their Oscars-style presentation. Siobhan’s sisters Denise and Oona talked about their childhood, and read from a favourite book. Bella Pearson read from A SWIFT PURE CRY and Phil Earle from THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY, which just showed us again how good these books are. Geoff read a poem by Siobhan, and Meg Rosoff read an extract from Siobhan’s next book, BOG CHILD. There was a lot of music and singing. Nick Gill played Scott Joplin. Daryl Wells sang Nina Simone. And we had real Bulgarian Gypsy music from Mike Limmer and Morski. There were readings from James Joyce, Irina Ratushinskaya, Henrietta Branford, Ezra Pound and Dylan Thomas …”It’s all very sad, especially given Siobhan’s talent – she was feted as a future ‘literary lion’ by the Sunday Times earlier this year. Still, they need storytellers in heaven too, don’t they?
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
An All-Too-Swift Pure Cry
We mentioned in passing yesterday that there was a memorial service being held in Oxford for the late Siobhan Dowd (right), a wonderful person and a marvellous writer, and when it comes to Siobhan it really doesn’t matter in which order you put those attributes. Ann Giles is a long-time friend of Crime Always Pays, and she’s posted her thoughts on the service over at Bookwitch, some of which runneth thusly: