“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, September 12, 2008

“All Changed, Changed Utterly / A TERRIBLE BEAUTY Is Conceived.”

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 …

7 comments:

Mack said...

I'd buy a book like this. I'll try to maintain the forlorn hope that it will be simultaneously published in the Stats.

OK, off the top of my head and not expressed terribly well, some topics that would interest me in such a book:

Use of humor/humor expressed through characteristically Irish voice/expression. This isn't phrased well, I know. I'm currently listening to The Dead Yard and the way the narrator expresses himself frequently makes me laugh. I've read enough Irish writers to feel that I would be as amused if I was reading instead of listening.

Expression of Irish culture through crime fiction. Are there particularly Irish ways of looking at events/reacting to events.

Sense of place - using Ireland's landscape, rural and urban, to "place" the reader in Ireland.

I wish you well in this project.

Mack

Declan Burke said...

Thanks, Mack ... Consider your suggestions taken on board. Cheers, Dec

adrian mckinty said...

I'm looking forward to the book tour. Course Bateman and Connolly are buying.

Barbara said...

Great idea, Dec. The thing that strikes me the most about Irish crime fiction is the narrative voice. I suppose I should say voices, because they are many - but that seems to be an aspect of writing that Irish writers in particular have developed into something really special. So where did that come from? And is there something peculiarly Irish about it? And will we hear lots of it from Adrian after a few rounds?

Mack said...

Ditto what Barbara said. "Narrative voice", that's the term that was lurking in the back of my mind. And here I am a former English major.

Declan Burke said...

Narrative voices ... y'know, that was the most enjoyable thing about Crime Always Pays, once I got it up and running - the sheer diversity of voices and styles and stories. And hopefully, with a diverse range of writers on board, that'll be implicit in the project itself. We'll see.

Adrian - Bateman buying? You're kidding, right? That bloke'd peel an orange in his pocket ... Cheers, Dec

Peter Rozovsky said...

Being the stodgy, academic-type old fart that I am, I'd like to see some attention to the roots of the current boom. Why now? What are some of the antecedents of the current Irish crime writing, and how did its authors come to crime fiction?
===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/