Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

“The Squat Pen Rests; As Snug As A Gun.”

I interviewed Declan Hughes for today’s Sunday Independent, with the cunning ulterior motive that some of his pixie-dust might rub off when we shook hands. So far there’s been no joy, but it’s early days yet. Herewith be the interview:
“The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun,” wrote Seamus Heaney in ‘Digging’, and he could have written the words for crime novelist Declan Hughes, who has been digging with a pen for a quarter of a century.
  Formerly a playwright and theatre director (this year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Rough Magic, which Hughes co-founded with Lynne Parker), currently a novelist, Hughes is enjoying something of an annus mirabilis. His fourth novel, ALL THE DEAD VOICES, was published in June. His previous novel THE DYING BREED has just been nominated for a Shamus award, as well as a 2009 Edgar Award, the American crime-writing equivalent of the Oscar.
  “It’s terrific to be nominated,” says a beaming Hughes. “I particularly treasure the Shamus nominations, because private-eye fiction is such a quintessentially American sub-genre. It’s a thrill to write Irish private-eye fiction and make the American grade.”
  There can no more appropriate writer to open next week’s crime fiction strand of the Books ’09 Festival, when Hughes presents the crime-writing workshop, ‘Bloodwork’.
  “Write every day,” he says, when I ask for advice, “and, as Lawrence Block says, find a way of putting writing first, if possible, literally, by getting up early and getting it done before the official day begins.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, Adrian McKinty, currently domiciled in Oz, had himself interviewed on a radio station in New Zealand last week, the point of the exercise being to promote the rather excellent FIFTY GRAND. Those of you craving Presbyterian blarney in a fey Irish brogue could do worse than clickety-click here
  Also meanwhile, the crime writing strand of Books 2009 takes place next Saturday, September 12th, at Independent Colleges, Dawson Street, Dublin, with yours truly MC-ing the day’s events and making a hames of it entirely, no doubt. The line-up runs as follows:
12 Noon: Bloodwork: A Crime Writing Workshop
Shamus Award-winning author Declan Hughes (‘All the Dead Voices’) hosts a crime writing workshop designed to hone your killer writing instincts.

2.30pm: Bright Young Things
Cormac Millar, a former ‘Penguin Most Wanted’ author, hosts a panel with four of the hottest new crime writing talents: Ava McCarthy (‘The Insider’), Stuart Neville (‘The Twelve’), Alan Glynn (‘Winterland’) and John McFetridge (‘Let It Ride’).

4pm: In Cold Blood – The Art of True Crime Writing
Ruth Dudley Edwards (‘Aftermath: The Omagh Bombing’) hosts a debate between Paul Williams (‘The Untouchables’), Emer Connolly (‘Lying Eyes’), and Niamh O’Connor (‘Blood Ties’) on the nature of Irish crime journalism and true crime writing.

5.30pm: Real Guts, No Glory
Critically acclaimed author Brian McGilloway (‘Bleed a River Deep’) hosts a panel with Alex Barclay (‘Blood Runs Cold’), Gene Kerrigan (‘Dark Times in the City’), Arlene Hunt (‘The Outsider’) and Mandasue Heller (‘Two-Faced’) on the shocking truth behind crime fiction.

7pm: It’s A Dirty Job …
Declan Hughes interviews Colin Bateman (‘Mystery Man’), John Connolly (‘The Lovers’) and Eoin McNamee (‘12:23’) on genre-bending, genre-blending, and best-selling the hard way.