Dah Duit (Hi) and welcome

Five Irish novels long-listed for prestigious IMPAC Dublin Literary award


Nicola Anderson

The Irish titles are The Herbalist by Niamh Boyce nominated by Galway County Library;  The Guts by Roddy Doyle, nominated by Liverpool City Libraries, UK; TransAtlantic by Colum McCann, nominated by Dublin and Water City Public Libraries as well a number of libraries in Canada, USA and the UK; The Rising of Bella Casey by Mary Morrissey nominated by Cork City Libraries and Dublin City Libraries and The Thing About December by Donal Ryan, nominated by Limerick City Library.
They will be up against competition from  The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize; The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, winner of the 2013 National Book Award.
They were amongst a total of 142 books nominated by libraries worldwide for the €100,000 award, which is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English.
Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian said the list of books was nominated by libraries in 114 cities and 39 countries worldwide; Some 49 are titles in translation, spanning 16 languages, with 29 first novels.
Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke launched the 2015 award today, saying IMPAC puts Dublin on the literary world map.
“Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature and cultural tourism is a vital part of the City’s economy,” he said.
“Initiatives such as this award, the Dublin Writer’s Festival and One City, One Book have consolidated Dublin’s position as a centre of literary excellence on the world stage.”
Judges on the 2015 panel include Irish novelist Christine Dwyer Hickey, winner of the Irish Novel of the Year 2012 for The Cold Eye of Heaven; Valentine Cunningham, Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University; Daniel Hahn, award-winning translator and writer; Kate Pullinger, Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University and Jordi Soler, Mexican author. The non-voting Chairperson is Eugene R Sullivan of the USA.



Lecture explores role of Irish literature in world


Clare Kossler

Ph.D. candidate Kara Donnelly discussed the role of Irish literature relative to other literary genres in the lecture “Contemporary Irish Novels and World Literature in English: The Case of the Irish Booker” at Flanner Hall on Friday.
Donnelly said she wanted to examine specifically the influence of Irish literature on the world stage.
“Today I’d like to ask the following question: ‘What is the relationship between Irish literature and world literature in English?’” she said. “This question isn’t simply, ‘Can I get a job in one of those fields?’… Rather, my question is when an Irish author is active in international literary culture, how is she perceived and classified?”
Donnelly said addressing this question requires an awareness of the role of Irish literature in commonwealth and post-colonial literature, both of which were intrinsic to the development of world literary studies.
Irish literature was an antecedent and “role model” to commonwealth literature, which in turn was a “precursor to post-colonial studies and then to global Anglophone literary studies,” Donnelly said.
Many of the anti-imperial and anti-establishment themes of modern Irish literature were embodied in commonwealth and post-colonial literary studies, and Irish literature contributed to the development of world literature as a whole, she said.
“Indeed, the Irish authors were part of the internationalizing trend,” she said.
Donnelly said part of the international success of Irish literature can be attributed to the Man Booker Prize, an award which “aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland,” according to the prize’s website.
The significant number of Irish novelists who have won the award have enhanced the presence of Irish literature in international circles, a demonstration of “the globalization of the publishing industry,” Donnelly said.
Irish literature is fundamentally distinct from commonwealth and post-colonial literature, as well as the broader category of world literature in English, however, Donnelly said.

“In the discourses about world literature, Irish literature appears both too early and too late,” she said.  “It’s too early in the sense that the oppositional models of world literature look to Irish modernism as antecedents for their anti-imperial politics and aesthetics. It’s too late in the sense that, on the international stage, it loses its national specificity in such a way that it comes across as unmarked.”

MY WRITERS SITE: Age

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Following Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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And now for a little Yeats (a little bit of Yeats, not a little Yeats...you know...like a midget or something.)


“For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon…”
—  William Butler Yeats



 “He made the world to be a grassy road
Before her wandering feet.”

—  William Butler Yeats



Raddison Blu Hotel managers temper tantrum


  My wife and I were travelling on business and had been staying at the Radisson Blu in Letterkenny Ireland for just under two weeks when I caught the flu and became very congested. I'm asthmatic and congestion is a problem.  My wife ran the shower for me to get up a steam, hoping a hot shower and steam would offer some relief.
  The hotel wasn't built with showers, instead a shower head is attached to a metal hose that is attached to the water main. After my wife turned the water on to run; a small rip in the metal shower hose was broke up and unknown to us, water shot out across the floor and into the hall.
 We shut the water off and mopped up the spilled water with towels and called the front desk, told them the problem, asked to have the shower fixed and to have new towels brought up to the room. The clerk said he would and that was the last we heard from him.  
 Three hours later, I phoned the reception again and asked for a repairman and clean towels. The repairman arrived, fixed the shower head and left. Several minutes later a furious hotel manager called. She made three points in rapid succession. She was charging us $200 for the damage done by the faulty hose, there were two persons in a room booked for one and she was charging for the second person with penalties and that her workman had informed her that I was ill with the flu and did I want to see a doctor?
  I was taken aback by the verbal assault and the invasion of privacy and general obnoxiousness of it all. I told her, no, I didn't want to see a doctor.  She said that it was not in the best interest of the other hotel guests to allow a sick person to "Carry on" in the hotel. I told her we were leaving the hotel that day so it wasn't an issue.
  I phoned my wife who was at her consulting site and told her about the manager's abrasive call. She called the manager and tried to explain that the shower hose was broken. 
  The manager replied that "You and your husband are telling two different stories so we'll get you both in the same room and get the story straight"
  They agreed to meet at 5:00 that afternoon. I phoned the manager and told her I wanted the broken hose present as well as the workman who fixed the hose.  
  That blew her fuse. She went off on me. She snapped that the workman had taken the hose with him and had left the property for the day and, she informed me, I was not to tell her what to do in her hotel.  I asked her to calm down. She replied in a manner that made me think she was speaking for the benefit of someone else she said "You are raising your voice at me"
 "No one has raised their voice at you" I replied "I have Streep throat, I can barely talk,"
 "In that case" she snapped "You are being aggressive towards me and I feel threatened by your mannerism"
  I told her she was being aggressive I was simply defending myself.  She hissed something and hung up. Several seconds later she called back and told me that check it was past noon and I was to leave the hotel "immediately"  
  I explained that we had arranged for a late checkout and we were leaving the hotel in four hours away, that I had a temperature, the chills and a breathing problem and I needed to rest before a four hour ride to Dublin. Her reply was that I was to vacate the room or that she would arrange with the local authorities to take me out of the room. 
  So I left.

File of 1916 veteran whose death changed Irish literature is released



Ronan McGreevy

Widow of John Furlong remarried Brendan Behan’s father in 1922 

Irish playwright and author Brendan Behan drinking at the Fitzroy Tavern, London. Photograph: Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images

A pension application for a man whose death changed the course of Irish literature is contained in the Military Pensions Archive files released today. 

The mother of the Behans was turned down for a pension despite having been married to an Easter Rising veteran. 

Kathleen Behan, the mother of Brendan, Dominic and Brian, claimed a pension for her first husband John Furlong who died in 1918 from influenza.

King Edward VIII, formerly Edward, Prince of Wales, making his first radio broadcast to the world on the 1st March 1936. Newly released files show that IRA volunteers tried to kidnap the Prince of Wales in 1922 in an attempt to have a death sentence commuted. Photograph: PA IRA tried to kidnap Prince of Wales in 1922 

In a 1945 reference for his former secretary Eamon DeValera wrote : ’Miss O’Connell has read for me her evidence. I agree with it in general.’ Eamon de Valera pictured in uniform circa 1914. I

It is not clear from the military pensions file if he died from the Spanish flu which broke out at that time. 

She remarried the house painter and Republican Stephen Behan in 1922. Her new husband was the man who would be the father of the famous literary dynasty. 

In her pension application, she stated that John Furlong had died from “influenza or pneumonia contracted from chest rendered delicate from using flour bags for fortifications in Jacobs Biscuit Factory.” 

Her pension application included a letter from a doctor, whose signature is illegible, and who stated that he had attended to Furlong in 1917 who had bronchitis “said to be contracted during rebellion of 1916”. 

She listed her brother Peadar Kearney, who wrote the national anthem, as a reference. 

She was deemed ineligible for the pension as she had remarried before the Army Pensions Act 1923 came into being. 

Under the terms of the act, the dependents of Easter Rising veterans could claim an allowance, but Mrs Behan was deemed not be a dependent of her late husband as she had remarried in 1922. 

The files also show that her son Roger Casement (Rory) Furlong, who was the Behan’s half-brother, successfully claimed for a funeral grant of £300 for Kathleen Behan when she died in 1984. 

Rory Furlong also successfully claimed a 1916 medal of service awarded posthumously to his father.

In Search of Transparency



The Irish author Eimear McBride’s breathtaking debut novel A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing.
By Jenny Hendrix

It’s said that the Irish novelist Eimear McBride wrote A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing with a quote from one of Joyce’s letters taped up above her desk: “One great part of every human existence is passed in a state which cannot be rendered sensible by the use of wideawake language, cutanddry grammar and goahead plot.” McBride, more completely than any recent novelist I’m aware of, has translated this crucial truth into style.
In Girl, her debut novel, she’s invented a new way of telling: one that, while it resuscitates several key tropes of modernism (not least the resistance to easy pleasure), is something all its own, wisely trading James Joyce’s linguistic blarney for an ambitious vision a great deal slimmer. You’ll feel Joyce’s influence, certainly, as well as that of Samuel Beckett (and what Irish writer could really avoid these two?), and yet McBride’s novel feels weirdly outside of literature, despite having been hustled to the forefront of it, racking up a number of prizes in Europe. The prose, while seeming literarily anarchic, is actually quite focused, stripping sentences to their bare bones not as part of some stylistic exercise, but to convey immediate experience as lived. The effect can be, at times, less that of literature than of the video feed:
That house had up hill down dale. Steps and mud. Those wellies red. Umbrella. Wondrous being dry. See fat drops plop and run like a river down for flies. Spiders. That time it was always raining. Summer. Spring.
 Although time seems collapsed here (“Summer. Spring.”) it is nonetheless written live.
The novel—published in the U.S. by Coffee House, a press with unfailingly excellent instincts of late—is a portrait of the disruptive force of sibling love, between the girl of the title and her terminally ill older brother, and its entanglements with sin. A shared childhood, beautifully rendered, progresses into the usual separations forced by school and a dawning awareness of sex, an early adulthood destabilized by change, and the progression of a final illness painted so crystal-clear it is almost impossible to read. (McBride has experienced this, as anyone who also has will see at once—here there be trigger warnings.) The near-total lack of names suggests that a kind of universalism is the point.
From the novel’s first lines, the speaker is not immediately clear:
For you. You’ll soon. You’ll give her name. In the stitches of her skin she’ll wear your say. Mammy me? Yes you. Bounce the bed, I’d say. I’d say that’s what you did. Then lay you down. They cut you round. Wait and hour and day.
Soon though, it becomes clear that the narrator, who is not yet born, is recounting a scene between her (unnamed) mother and brother. The boy has a brain tumor and undergoes an operation that will leave him physically and mentally scarred. Dialogue—here the mother telling her son he can name the unborn narrator—is embedded in the sentence along with the twists and turns of internal contradiction; scenes collapse into each other, layering. “Mammy me?” seeks confirmation but, without the comma, is also a plea.
It’s a lesson in just how far the rules of the English language can be bent before comprehension falls away.
McBride’s path into this raw, unfiltered state of prelinguistic experience—a state, one might as well note, stereotypically gendered as feminine—leads through the (typically masculine) form of the short, percussive sentence, cutting the flow of thought into biting, often contradictory chunks. There are few commas (normal or inverted) and many, many full stops. These seem related, maybe, to Céline’s ellipses, chopping reality up into units without fragmenting it completely, suggesting, by their placement, something else intruding or occurring alongside what is perceived. The prose is syncopated but is propelled forward by this series of driving, stuttered blocks. Verb forms are twisted, prepositions dropped. Contradictory thoughts and emotions sit side by side, irresolute. McBride’s aim, it seems, is to capture experience almost prior to thought, dropping the reader into events at the very moment the narrator, too, encounters them.
Despite its complexity, McBride’s novel does not, as Joseph Collins wrote of Ulysses, require “a course of training or instruction.” I quickly grew used to the way in which scraps of dialogue are tossed around and peppered into sentences, and there is little that is abstract about McBride’s language itself. If it has been compared to poetry—the narrator is a poet of a kind—the comparison is accurate only in as much as it tends to flirt with rather than embrace conventional grammar, choosing rhythm and internal rhyme (“A right hook of a look in his eye all the time”) over straightforward exposition. But McBride, though she does indulge in the figurative, is never really lyrical; her words seek not admiration but transparency. And many of the ungrammatical, almost prelinguistic sentence fragments—“My thud cheeks up,” for example—are instantly understood. It’s a lesson in just how far the rules of the English language can be bent before comprehension falls away, as though McBride had discovered a pidgin of the reptilian brain. There are moments where she compromises this oblique style somewhat, throwing her reader a bone, whether in long passages of dialogue or at the beginning of chapters where it’s necessary to establish a scene: “We’re living in the country cold and wet with slugs going across the carpet every night. Now when you are seven eight. Me five.” There are moments where, for clarity, the uncle needs to be “Uncle” rather than “he,” or the mother “Mammy” rather than “she.”
Girl hews closely to what the feminist philosopher Julia Kristeva called the “dark revolt of being” that looms within abjection, “directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside.” For McBride’s narrator, the threat is personified by her brother’s tumor (“Cosy kernelled in your head…Nasty thing. Having a chew”), but there are other threats too: the absent father, certainly, and the overbearing force of the mother’s Catholic faith. Half-formed, the girl uses abjection to separate herself—herself and her brother both—from all these things. For her, abjection takes the familiar form of sexual promiscuity, beginning at 13 in an encounter with her uncle and developing through many partners into a blooming masochistic need. There is a great deal of ambiguity here—in the girl’s conflicted response to the initial incest-rape, in the moments of pleasure experienced between pain and fear, and in the way guilt over her actual or perceived complicity acts both as relief and an inducement to continue. In these guilty moments, scraps and passages of liturgy force their way into the text as through the narrator’s conscience, their phlegmatic Catholic weight providing, like all those full stops, both anchorage and (narrative, rhythmic, emotional) impedance. Before having sex with her uncle, she wades into the lake, a kind of baptism—the first of many—in which she humiliates herself before God prior to the more visible, literal abasement. Humility, repentance, anger, guilt, and abjection are all tangled up here in a specific, Catholic mess.
While she doesn’t understand her erotic adventures, necessarily, or exactly desire them, the narrator does, as Kristeva put it, “joy” in them:
I met a man. I met a man. I let him throw me round the bed. And smoked, me, spliffs and choked my neck until I said I was dead… I met a man who hit me a smack. I met a man who cracked my arm. I met a man who said what are you doing out so late at night. I met a man. I met a man. And wash my mouth out with soap. I wish I could. That I did then. I met a man. A stupid thing. I met a man. Should have turned on my heel. I thought. I didn’t know to think. I didn’t even know to speak. I met a man. I kept on walking. I met a man. I met a man. And I lay down.
As she sees it, sin is a way to separate herself from the spiritual world of her mother. Sin allows her body, her self, to be real, and there is a kind of beauty in this, along with a host of contradictory emotions. In one of the book’s very few moments freighted with symbolism, the narrator smashes a statuette of the Virgin, as though metaphorically joining her schism from her own mother’s faith with the confusion, guilt, and joyful relief that will attend the loss of her own virginity, at the hands of the uncle, in the next chapter. “I am happy,” she says after that event. “Satisfied that I’ve done wrong and now and now. What now? Calm sliding down into my boat and pushing out to sin.” Sin, like love, is freedom for her but also a form of revenge which keeps her from being free. It also, the novel is careful to note, makes her an object, the titular “thing”: “Me the thing but I. Think I know. Is that the reason for what’s happened? Me? The thing.” In her affectless, distant narration, the girl finds existence in alienation. So: A woman invites violence to be done to her, is (joyfully) made a thing of, and becomes a subject again through, of all things, a kind of guilt bound up in love. This form of redemption, if that is what it is, can be wearying.
And yet, attempts to reduce Girl to such simple, programmatic readings will be frustrated by the way events are narrated: The immediacy of the prose sets it outside of symbolism, and so sexual violence—in particular a gut-wrenching and, in its typographic transgressions, almost onomatopoetic scene towards the end—is not allowed to stand for much, isn’t recuperated by message or theme. It’s not so much sublimated by art as purified of it. The brother, too, easily a Christ-like innocent, dying for his sister’s sins, isn’t that, and so death is given the full and awful weight with which it presents. All of this is deeply uncomfortable, and McBride, to her credit, allows discomfort to stand, along with the rest of her novel’s difficult contradictions. What she does, even in the dense prose of her beautiful final scene, is give discomfort room to breathe:
The black I swim filled with light and things and clouds that were the sky. The coldest water. Deepest mirror of the past and in it I am. Drowned no fine…And we are very clean here like when we wash our hands. When we’re in the rain. I was. His fingers in my mouth my eyes my hair. Stop. You break the surface. Gasp. Air is. That’s what air is again.
Allowed to exist in the fullness of this ambiguous proximity to love, even abjection can be a form of beauty. There is no sublimation, no transformation of it or its horrors, just a recognition that it exists, in the thick of things, arm in arm with love, with joy, and all the rest. 



Raddison Blu Hotel managers temper tantrum

My wife and I were travelling on business and had been staying at the Radisson Blu in Letterkenny Ireland for just under two weeks when I caught the flu and became very congested. I’m asthmatic and congestion is a problem.  My wife ran the shower for me to get up a steam, hoping a hot shower and steam would offer some relief.
   The hotel wasn’t built with showers, instead a shower head is attached to a metal hose that is attached to the water main. After my wife turned the water on to run; a small rip in the metal shower hose was broke up and unknown to us, water shot out across the floor and into the hall.
  We shut the water off and mopped up the spilled water with towels and called the front desk, told them the problem, asked to have the shower fixed and to have new towels brought up to the room. The clerk said he would and that was the last we heard from him. 
  Three hours later, I phoned the reception again and asked for a repairman and clean towels. The repairman arrived, fixed the shower head and left. Several minutes later a furious hotel manager called. She made three points in rapid succession. She was charging us $200 for the damage done by the faulty hose, there were two persons in a room booked for one and she was charging for the second person with penalties and that her workman had informed her that I was ill with the flu and did I want to see a doctor?
   I was taken aback by the verbal assault and the invasion of privacy and general obnoxiousness of it all. I told her, no, I didn’t want to see a doctor.  She said that it was not in the best interest of the other hotel guests to allow a sick person to “Carry on” in the hotel. I told her we were leaving the hotel that day so it wasn’t an issue.
   I phoned my wife who was at her consulting site and told her about the manager’s abrasive call. She called the manager and tried to explain that the shower hose was broken.
   The manager replied that “You and your husband are telling two different stories so we’ll get you both in the same room and get the story straight”
   They agreed to meet at 5:00 that afternoon. I phoned the manager and told her I wanted the broken hose present as well as the workman who fixed the hose. 
   That blew her fuse. She went off on me. She snapped that the workman had taken the hose with him and had left the property for the day and, she informed me, I was not to tell her what to do in her hotel.  I asked her to calm down. She replied in a manner that made me think she was speaking for the benefit of someone else she said “You are raising your voice at me”
  “No one has raised their voice at you” I replied “I have Streep throat, I can barely talk,”
  “In that case” she snapped “You are being aggressive towards me and I feel threatened by your mannerism”
   I told her she was being aggressive I was simply defending myself.  She hissed something and hung up. Several seconds later she called back and told me that check it was past noon and I was to leave the hotel “immediately” 
   I explained that we had arranged for a late checkout and we were leaving the hotel in four hours away, that I had a temperature, the chills and a breathing problem and I needed to rest before a four hour ride to Dublin. Her reply was that I was to vacate the room or that she would arrange with the local authorities to take me out of the room.

   So I left. 

Dr. Rory Childers, U. of C. heart expert who treated Brendan Behan, dead at 83


BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL

A world-renowned expert on electrocardiograms, Dr. Rory Childers was also the son of Ireland's fourth president and the grandson of Erskine Childers, a strong backer of a united Ireland who was executed by firing squad in the country's civil war in 1922.
Dr. Rory Childers was an expert on heart disease who helped set the standards for interpreting electrocardiograms that guided first-responders on life-saving action.
His work “had a huge impact in clinical care, in emergency rooms and intensive-care units across the world,” said Dr. Martin Burke, a colleague at the University of Chicago, where Dr. Childers taught for half a century.
“He standardized the interpretation of the electrocardiogram through mathematical analysis,” Burke said, which led to more accurate readings and more timely and targeted treatment.
Dr. Childers, 83, died Aug. 27 after a heart attack while vacationing in East Hampton, New York.
The Dublin-raised physician had wide interests beyond his work, most notably literature. He already spoke English, Irish, French and German when he decided to study Russian out of love for the novels of Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova, whose work he wrote about in scholarly journals. And every year on “Bloomsday” — June 16 — Dr. Childers was among the performers who read James Joyce’s monumental novel “Ulysses” at the Cliff Dwellers club in downtown Chicago.
At the University of Chicago, he won the cardiology department’s “teacher of the year” award with such regularity the honor was renamed the Rory Childers Teaching Award. He kept students and fellow professors laughing, according to the University of Chicago Magazine, telling them the irreverent nicknames Dubliners bestowed on their city’s monuments to Anna Liffey, peddler Molly Malone, Dublin’s waterways, a clock and two women shoppers. They were, respectively: “the floozy in the Jacuzzi, the tart with the cart, the box in the docks, the chime in the slime and the hags with the bags.”
He came from a renowned Anglo-Irish family. In 1973, his father, Erskine Hamilton Childers, was elected president of Ireland. His English grandfather, Robert Erskine Childers, was an Irish nationalist executed in 1922 during the civil war that followed the partition of Ireland. With dashing last words, the grandfather told the firing squad, “Take a step or two forwards, lads. It will be easier that way.”
In July, Dr. Childers accepted an invitation from Irish President Michael D. Higgins to attend a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of a gun-running operation by the doctor’s grandfather and grandmother, Molly Childers, who brought weapons to Ireland — later used in the 1916 uprising against British rule — on their boat.
The Irish president expressed “great sadness” at Dr. Childers’ death.
“A distinguished academic, many tributes have been paid to him for his path-breaking work as a cardiologist and his teaching at the University of Chicago,” Higgins said. “He had a vast knowledge of Irish literature, and, as a raconteur, his sense of humor has been recalled since his death on 27th August.”
Dr. Childers received simultaneous degrees in English and French while attending medical school at Trinity College, said his son, Peter.
He operated the first cardiac catheterization lab in Dublin, according to his wife, Michele, who met him at a wedding party in New York for mutual friends.
“I thought he was a great conversationalist,” Michele Childers said. “Toward the end of the party, he said, ‘Well, this party seems to be winding down. Where are we going for dinner?’ As if we’d known each other forever . . . Six months later. we were married and moved to Ireland.”
In Ireland, Dr. Childers was writer and poet Brendan Behan’s physician. Behan was a frequent dinner guest at the Childers home and drank only soda water when he was there, nothing stronger.
“He told Rory he ‘wouldn’t drink in front of Michele’ — ‘That would be terrible,’ ” Michele Childers said,
“We were very heartbroken when he died,” she said of Behan. “He had diabetes, and Rory tried valiantly to convince him to stop drinking. But, you know, he was who he was. Rory had lots of stories about him. I wish I could hear him tell them again.”
She and her husband came to Chicago in the early 1960s, when Dr. Childers took a post as a fellow in cardiology at the University of Chicago.
They raised sons Peter and Daniel in a home where dinner conversation revolved around literature, history and medicine.
“His intellect and openness to creative work and knowledge was a marvelous thing to grow up with,” Peter Childers said.
“I just feel so lucky to be raised by someone so passionately engaged with life and who showed us by example all the different ways your life could be enriched by both the sciences and the arts,” Daniel Childers said. “Two of his gifts to me were his love of old movies and jazz. I will always think of him when I watch B movies.”
Dr. Childers was an early patron of the Court Theatre, said founding director Nicholas Rudall. Though “primarily one of the greatest cardiologists in the world, he was curious about everything — political, literary, artistic,” Rudall said.
Dr. Paul Kligfield, a professor at Cornell University, said Dr. Childers “was a great teacher.”
“Not only was he a master of interpretation of the electrocardiogram, but he also was a genius at explaining electrocardiography to others in his peer group,” Kligfield said.
Dr. Childers was former president of the International Society for Computerized Electrocardiology, which issued a statement saying, “Rory was an extraordinary man with a rich and remarkable heritage; a dedicated physician, teacher and mentor.”
He also had a talent few knew about, according to his son Peter: “He couldn’t cook, but he could make a bananas flambé. It was a very flamboyant dish, with great fanfare, nearly setting things on fire using brandy.’’
Dr. Childers is also survived by two sisters, Margaret and Carainn, and a half-sister, Irish politician Nessa Childers, a member of the European Parliament. His late brother Erskine Childers was a United Nations official.
A service is being planned at the University of Chicago, where Dr. Childers’ family will play some of his favorite music by jazzman John Coltrane.


Writer Colin Barrett Awarded The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature 2014

The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for 2014 was awarded to Colin Barrett in recognition of his outstanding achievement as a fiction writer. The announcement was made by the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast, at a reception in the Provost’s House this week.
Now in its 38th year, the Rooney Prize is a highly regarded award recognising a body of work by a young Irish writer which the selection committee considers shows exceptional promise. Notable past recipients include Bernard Farrell, Neil Jordan, Frank McGuinness, Hugo Hamilton, Anne Enright, Mark O’Rowe and Claire Keegan.
“The Rooney prize is a renowned accolade practically every young Irish writer hopes to one day attain, and it is a true honour for me to be this year's recipient,” said Barrett. “Thank you to the selection committee at Trinity and the enduring generosity of the Rooney family for this amazing vote of confidence in my work.”
The annual award is maintained through the generosity of Dr Daniel Rooney, President Emeritus of the Pittsburgh Steelers who recently served as Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland, and his wife Mrs Patricia Rooney. The award is administered by the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing at the School of English at Trinity and its committee is co-chaired by Professor Gerald Dawe.
Commenting on the legacy of the high-profile award, Professor Dawe explained: “The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature is one of the premiere awards in Ireland offered to writers of 40 years or younger, across genres. Since 1976, past recipients read like a Who’s Who of some of the best of Irish writing. The Rooney Prize, approaching its own fortieth birthday, is a generous and important gift from the Rooney family to this country and all of us at Trinity College are honoured to be involved.”
Colin Barrett is from Mayo. His debut collection of short stories, Young Skins, won the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and has been long listed for the Guardian First Book Award. It is published by the Stinging Fly Press in Ireland and by Jonathan Cape in the UK. Thirty two years old, he was born in Alberta, Canada, and has also lived in Toronto and Perth, Australia. He grew up in Mayo and now lives in Dublin. A graduate of UCD Arts, he also holds an MA in Creative Writing from the college. He has written relentlessly since his teens. It is with unexpected delight and deep gratitude that he accepts this year's Rooney prize for Literature.
Literary agent and selection committee member, Jonathan Williams, said: “Young Skins is a shimmering debut.  Henry James said the house of fiction contains many windows.  This collection opens a window on a very particular tract of earth.  All the stories take place in or around a fictionalised small town in north Mayo, but, as with other writers who have chosen to set their narratives in a postage stamp patch of earth, it would be a grave mistake to characterise these stories as being in any way parochial.  Rather, Colin Barrett’s fictional terrain will resonate with readers from various cultural backgrounds, in the same way as the settings of Maupassant’s short stories do.  In Young Skins, the writer has made a world.”*

Full Citation by  Jonathan  Williams:
The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature is awarded annually for a body of work that, in the view of the selection committee, shows exceptional promise.  In certain years a single outstanding work may warrant an award being presented to its author, especially where there is evidence of further writings in progress.
This year’s recipient, Colin Barrett, has been awarded the Rooney Prize specifically for his first book, Young Skins, which comprises six short stories and a novella.  The book was first published in Ireland by The Stinging Fly Press and was subsequently published in Britain  about six months ago by Jonathan Cape.
Young Skins is a shimmering debut.  Henry James said the house of fiction contains many windows.  This collection opens a window on a very particular tract of earth.  All the stories take place in or around a fictionalised small town in north Mayo, but, as with other writers who have chosen to set their narratives in a postage stamp patch of earth, it would be a grave mistake to characterise these stories as being in any  way parochial.  Rather, Colin Barrett’s fictional terrain will resonate with readers from various cultural backgrounds, in the same way as the settings of Maupassant’s short stories do.  In Young Skins, the writer has made a world.
There is an intensity about some of these stories.  It’s as though an electric current is running along the spine of the book.  Barrett can invest the most mundane incident with a tautness and incipient menace.  And yet scenes of horrifying brutality – ‘the wishbone snap of a nose breaking’ is one instance – are cheek by jowl with smoulderingly beautiful prose about  the Mayo landscape,  about the air and the quality of the light.  The varying colours of the sky and clouds – ‘warm’, ‘melancholy’, ‘lavender’ in one story – are depicted with obvious relish.  In the embedded novella, ‘Calm with Horses’, which takes up nearly half the collection, just before what proves to be a particularly violent confrontation, there is a pastoral serenity:
They were beyond the farmsteads now, into reefs of bogland infested with gorse bushes.  Bony, hard thorned and truculently thriving,  the gorse bushes’ yellow blossoms were vivid against the grained black sheen of the sump-waters, the seamed bog fields.  The sky was clearing itself of clouds.  The day was on its afternoon wane, already.
Colin Barrett portrays the individuals who inhabit these stories with a potent fusion of pitiless insight and a merciful acceptance, much as Flannery O’Connor does in her fiction.  Despite the prevailing despair and outbursts of viciousness in these stories, what gives them an affirmative twist inevitably is the invigorating prose.   I think the greatest attribute of good writing is a verb used in a way you have never seen it used before.  Young Skins has a slew of them.
This dazzling writer has a whiplash wit – one lad in ‘Stand Your Skin’ has ‘a spotty face like a dropped bolognaise’ – and there are turns of phrase to savour in his descriptions of the animal world: pigs with snouts shaped like electrical sockets and ‘cows moving like barges through the long grass’.
Reading the stories put me in mind of William Faulkner’s words that the oppressed live permanently in a kind of daze.  The collection is written with a ferocious elegance and underpinned by a clear metaphorical impulse.
My colleagues on the panel and I trust that the Rooney Prize will enable Colin Barrett to write many more astringent and arresting stories (which, like all achieved work, deepen on further reading).
And I understand that there’s a novel coming down the turnpike.
Jonathan Williams was born in Wales and has worked as a literary agent in Canada and Ireland for the last thirty-four years.  He is an adjunct professor in the School of English at Trinity College, where he teaches in the Oscar Wilde Centre for Creative Writing.  He was the originator of the Poets' Corner venture on the DART.
The selection committee for The Rooney Prize 2014, comprised of:
Gerald Dawe poet and essayist, (Professor of English, TCD);  Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, poet, critic and editor (Professor Emerita,  School of English, TCD); Dr Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, novelist and dramatist (Lecturer in Creative Writing, UCD); Dr Carlo Gébler, novelist and dramatist; Dr Riana O’Dwyer , critic, (Department of English, National University of Ireland at Galway) and Jonathan Williams (Literary Agent and Editor).





Literary Dublin




A Modest Proposal



For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland
From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and
For Making Them Beneficial to The Public


By Jonathan Swift (1729)

     It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.
I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.
But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our charity in the streets.
”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”
As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of other projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in the computation. It is true, a child just dropped from its dam may be supported by her milk for a solar year, with little other nourishment; at most not above the value of 2s., which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner as instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.
There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us! sacrificing the poor innocent babes I doubt more to avoid the expense than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.
The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain their own children, although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom; but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remains one hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, how this number shall be reared and provided for, which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing, till they arrive at six years old, except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier, during which time, they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers, as I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.
I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.
I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.
Infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this kingdom: and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of papists among us.
I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar's child (in which list I reckon all cottagers, laborers, and four-fifths of the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend or his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants; the mother will have eight shillings net profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.
Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flay the carcass; the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.
As to our city of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.
A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service; and these to be disposed of by their parents, if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me, from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our schoolboys by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable; and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission be a loss to the public, because they soon would become breeders themselves; and besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly), as a little bordering upon cruelty; which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, however so well intended.
But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country when any young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality as a prime dainty; and that in his time the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty's prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court, in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at playhouse and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for, the kingdom would not be the worse.
Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease the nation of so grievous an encumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known that they are every day dying and rotting by cold and famine, and filth and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young laborers, they are now in as hopeful a condition; they cannot get work, and consequently pine away for want of nourishment, to a degree that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labor, they have not strength to perform it; and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.
I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.
For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of papists, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal breeders of the nation as well as our most dangerous enemies; and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.
Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to distress and help to pay their landlord's rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.
Thirdly, Whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old and upward, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a-piece per annum, the nation's stock will be thereby increased fifty thousand pounds per annum, beside the profit of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.
Fourthly, The constant breeders, beside the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.
Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns; where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection, and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating: and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.
Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards or enforced by laws and penalties. It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers toward their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the public, to their annual profit instead of expense. We should see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives during the time of their pregnancy as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, their sows when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.
Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barreled beef, the propagation of swine's flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well-grown, fat, yearling child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a lord mayor's feast or any other public entertainment. But this and many others I omit, being studious of brevity.
Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.
I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and 'twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual Kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither cloaths, nor houshold furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.
Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.
But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.
After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for an hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, there being a round million of creatures in human figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock would leave them in debt two millions of pounds sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession to the bulk of farmers, cottagers, and laborers, with their wives and children who are beggars in effect: I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold as to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food, at a year old in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes as they have since gone through by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like or greater miseries upon their breed for ever.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.


The End