“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.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
A Week Of A Thousand Scribes
I also bumped into Keith Ridgway at the Picnic, and had a short but sweet chat about how his new novel, HAWTHORN AND CHILD, isn’t really a crime novel but might be, sorta.
Onward then to Wednesday, when I interviewed Howard Jacobson, who has just published ZOO TIME, the follow-up to his Booker Prize-winning THE FINKLER QUESTION. The novel - ZOO TIME - might well have been written about yours truly, given that it’s a comedy about a failing, narcissistic writer, although if the truth be told, all writers are equally narcissistic and failing. Anyway, Howard Jacobson was wonderful company - irreverent, funny, thoughtful, profane. A hugely enjoyable hour or so.
On Thursday it was off to Dubray Books on Grafton Street in Dublin, for the launch of BOOKS TO DIE FOR, where John Connolly and I were joined by contributors Brian McGilloway, John Banville, Arlene Hunt, Eoin Colfer, Stuart Neville and Colin Bateman. All of which was terrific, but Barbara Nadel and Julia Wallis Martin also flew over from the UK to join in the festivities, which was very much in keeping with the spirit of the book. The good people at Dubray arranged the writers in a conveyor belt-style set-up for signing purposes, which left me sitting between Eoin Colfer and John Banville and - not to put too fine a point on it - acutely aware of my deficiencies. Ah well. Declan Hughes, who was elsewhere detained at the Mountains to Sea Festival out in Dun Laoghaire for the actual launch, schlepped along to the post-launch party, and regaled all and sundry - as is his wont - with details of how his new play is progressing. Said play will open at The Gate next month, incidentally, so stick that one in your diary.
On Friday I took myself off to Dun Laoghaire for the aforementioned Mountains to Sea Festival, where I hosted a conversation between two very fine Irish crime writing debutants, Conor Brady (A JUNE OF ORDINARY MURDERS) and Michael Clifford (GHOST TOWN). It’s a very impressively run festival, Mountains to Sea, I have to say, and Conor and Michael had a very fine turn-out.
Saturday morning I jaunted in as far as Dundrum, there to meet with Lee Child to interview him about his latest Jack Reacher offering, A WANTED MAN. A very nice guy, Lee Child, even if he has lowered his standards so far as to provide a big-up for the cover for yours truly’s latest tome. He’s remarkably frank, too, when discussing topics such as Tom Cruise and Ian McEwan. All told, another very pleasant hour.
Back to Dun Laoghaire for Saturday afternoon, then, to host a crime writing workshop that was filled out by eight very interesting authors-in-progress, all of whom were at a different stage of the writing process. Hand on heart, I honestly can’t say that I was much use to them, but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours we put in, and that I learned quite a bit myself. Not the object of the exercise, of course, but great fun all the same.
And after that, happy days, I can relax into … Oh hold on, no. I’m off to the UK next week to gatecrash John Connolly’s THE WRATH OF ANGELS / BOOKS TO DIE FOR tour, and meet the lovely burghers of York, Scarborough, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool to talk books, books, books.
Not incidentally, there were a couple of very nice feature pieces on BOOKS TO DIE FOR in the newspapers yesterday. For more, clickety-click here and here …
People, I love this life …