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.


adrian mckinty said...


Who's fey?

Hugh Grant's haircut, now that's fey.

And while we're on the subject where's my interview in the Indo? Eh?

It's like what Dame Dudley Edwards says - you're all just prejudiced against we windswept and interesting northern types.

bookwitch said...

Of course they are.

But I quite like you.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Dawson Street, you say? Nice that they're letting the crime-fiction types into the city and closer to the action this year instead of consigning you to the lovely but slightly out of the way Dun Laoghaire. You're coming up in the world.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Declan Burke said...

It's only the voice that's fey, Adrian. The rest of you is hard as nails, obviously. It's a Norn Iron thing.

Peter? Next year, I'm told, the crime writing event may well have to be held in hot air balloons.

Please insert your own 'hot air' punchlines in your own time ...

Cheers, Dec

Declan Burke said...

Adrian - the deal with a Sunday Indo interview is, you write a good book and then ... Oh. Right. I see. Good point, sir.

Cheers, Dec

Peter Rozovsky said...

First you make nice with Benjamin Black and John Banville, and now Dublin is flinging its gates wide to crime writers. What's with all this peace and good will stuff?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"