It’s been a busy time at CAP Towers recently (typical afternoon pictured, right), what with christenings and Electric Picnics and Irish crime writers weekends and YE BIGGE O heading for publication Stateside, although one reason for being so busy-busy-busy was self-inflicted. Basically, the notion is this – given the recent explosion in Irish crime fiction, I wondered if there might be any interest in putting together a book offering perspectives on the whys and wherefores of contemporary Irish crime writing. It would consist of a series of essays written by the Irish crime writers themselves, with each author taking a chapter according to his or her speciality. Aimed at a general reading audience, it would decidedly not be an academic tome, but an entertaining and informative read.
Thus armed with my latest harebrained scheme, I farmed out the idea to some writers I’m in touch with. As of yesterday, those who have confirmed they will be taking part are: John Connolly, Colin Bateman, Declan Hughes, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Gene Kerrigan, Gerard Donovan, Brian McGilloway, Neville Thompson, Adrian McKinty, Gerard Brennan and yours truly, with the latter trio taking on the gig of compiling / editing. If you’re looking at that list and wondering where some glaring omissions are, rest assured that I’m still waiting for more writers to confirm interest or declare otherwise.
The project currently labours under the working title of A TERRIBLE BEAUTY: A NARRATIVE OF IRISH CRIME WRITING, and yesterday was D-Day for applications for Arts Council funding. That deadline met, we now wait to see if the funding for commissioning the writers comes in. Should it do so, there is already an Irish publisher interested in taking the project on, although it would be unfair at this early point to name any names.
The plan is to have the book on the shelves by September 2009. Should the project come to fruition here in Ireland, we’ll then be looking abroad to international markets. That’s all a long way off at this point, however, and there’s no sense in trying to run before we can roll over onto our collective tummies. What I’m wondering for now is this: If the project gets the green light, what kind of topics would you like to see explored between the covers? Over to you, people …
Praise for Declan Burke: “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – The Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “A hardboiled delight.” – The Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review). “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre, was ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL.” – Sunday Times. “The writing is a joy.” – Ken Bruen. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.