Strange days, indeed. As all Three Regular Readers (right) will be aware, I posted a piece a couple of weeks back about how difficult it was going to be to scrape onto the short-list for the Irish Book Awards, given that the competition this year is a right royal buggery. If I’m entirely honest, I wrote that piece for myself - I was getting a bit carried away with the reviews that were coming in (see left), and was starting to believe that maybe I was entitled to a short-list nomination. Except then I copped myself on, had a good hard look at all the other Irish crime titles published this year, and conceded that I’d be very fortunate indeed to make any kind of short-list.
But lo! The day has come, and there’s ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL nestling snugly on said list. Which is all kinds of wonderful, not least because a year or so ago I was planning to self-publish AZC, this on the basis that I couldn’t get a publisher to touch it with a barge-pole, and the only love was coming from the readers of this very blog.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not losing the run of myself - a short-list nomination is exactly what it is, and no more. But there’s a wealth of truth in the hoary old cliché about how it’s lovely just to be nominated, and I’m certainly buzzing on that right now. And not just for myself, or for the book itself, but for everyone who believed in it despite all the negative vibes (and there’s a very good chance that that means you, yes, YOU!); and I’m especially delighted for Liberties Press, and particularly Sean O’Keeffe, who was imaginative and brave enough to publish AZC.
Where do we go from here? Well, we’re off to the Irish Book Awards event on November 17th, for starters, and that should be a ton of fun, not least because I’ll get to hook up with all the other nominees (and I’ll be giving you the full short-list in due course, because the actual award is opened up to public voting once the short-lists are announced, as I understand it). Anyway, for now I’m just pleased as punch to be right here, right now, enjoying the moment and high on the improbability of it all. See you all back in the real world, tomorrow …
“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. “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.