Would you like Belfast Girls in your stocking this Christmas?

Award-winning Irish author, Gerry McCullough, releases her debut novel, 'Belfast Girls', on Amazon.com

The new full-length debut novel, Belfast Girls - from Ireland’s award-winning author, Gerry McCullough - has just been released on Amazon by new UK publisher, Night Publishing. This story of three girls growing up in contemporary Belfast captures the high life - and lowlife - of these post-conflict times, including drugs, high fashion, addiction and crime.

Gerry has been a successful short story writer for many years - with stories, poems and articles published regularly in magazines and anthologies in Ireland, UK and USA, and broadcast on BBC Radio. In 2005 she won the Cuírt International Literary Award in Galway, Ireland, for her short story, Primroses, and has been shortlisted/commended for other awards since then.

Says Gerry of Belfast Girls, “I’m bouncing off the walls! It’s something I’ve lived for and worked for my whole life, so I couldn’t tell you how happy I am. I’m hoping for a lot of support from the people of Ireland and beyond and I think the book is something everyone will enjoy.”

Her first novel follows the lives and loves of three girls from different religious backgrounds. In a city where such differences often separate, the girls manage to remain firm friends into adulthood. Their love lives are much more complicated, though. Sheila, the ‘ugly duckling turned beautiful swan’, becomes a successful super-model - dubbed the ‘ice maiden’ - but hides her unhappiness and dissatisfaction beneath the ice cool exterior.

Phil sets her heart on Davy, but he gets more and more entangled in the local crime scene, eventually dragging her down with him. Mary is wild and uncontrolled - until she almost overdoes it - then manages to re-build her life on a more solid foundation. John is all that Davy is not - solid, ambitious, serious, but also self-righteous, angry and conflicted. Drawn to one another, yet somehow repelled, John and Sheila’s love affair is more off than on. Where will it end?

Belfast Girls managed to make it to the top of the HarperCollinsAuthonomy.com site last April, earning Gerry a review from this major publisher. But it was Night Publishing, a smaller UK company, which actually offered to publish her first novel - without forcing it into any particular ‘genre’ pigeon-hole. The result is a novel which has plenty for everyone - action, emotion, gunmen, kidnapping, glamour and despair.

This novel is a thriller, romance, comedy and drama, rolled into one - as Gerry says, “Like most people’s lives!” So, why not put Belfast Girls into your stocking this season?

Belfast Girls paperback/Kindle editions available on Amazon.com, Kindleedition also on Amazon.co.uk

The River and Other Stories by Seán Mackel

launch debut novel

The River and Other Stories
Seán Mackel
Clarendon Bar Lounge, Strand Road, Derry
Thursday 25 November at 7:30pm
Guildhall Press is pleased to announce the launch of The River and Other Stories, a collection of short stories from local author Seán Mackel. This absorbing debut publication explores the intricacy of narratives between people and place, across time and territory. In the title story, an ageing house painter discovers the river to be the only true bridge. Elsewhere, a young couple reconciles the past through music, a dusty professor finds release working with a Czech puppeteer, and a surprise awaits the 1948 Tillies Shirt Factory Queen. The reader embarks on an intriguing journey beginning in 1920’s Donegal through Derry during WWII, from Australia to Poland and back again to a contemporary city on the cusp of cultural celebration.
Seán explains: “The thirteen short stories are thematically linked by a river, in this case the Foyle. In exploring these narratives, I was influenced by one translation of An Feabhal as ‘estuary of the lip’. And it was this link between life and language, which intrigued me. So the first story in my collection acknowledges the Irish language as the roots of our imagination. The collection then flows forward from the 1920s, through the forties, and addressing the Troubles, it continues up to the present day featuring characters from Australia , the Czech Republic , Germany , France and Poland . Given our recent history in the North, the title story, The River, explores the idea of truth. It is placed at the physical centre of the book. Like the River Foyle itself it has the capacity to divide and, more importantly, to unite.”
Seán added: “I’d like to give special thanks to Marilyn McLaughlin who was instrumental in the editing process of this collection and to Guildhall Press and the Arts Council for giving me the opportunity to have my work published. I hope everyone will enjoy my stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.”
Included are stories previously short-listed for the Brian Moore Short Story Award 2003/04, Raymond Carver Short Story Contest 2004 and the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award 2008. In his foreword to The River and Other Stories, Derry-born author Sean O’Reilly writes:
‘These stories display a scrupulous sympathy for the characters and the small rewards they find in their attempts to keep on going. The writing is simple and honest and touched with wonder ... With great delicacy, these stories ask the question: What saves us all from drowning in the past?’
Seán Mackel was born in Belfast in 1957. He now lives in the North West of Ireland. His poetry has appeared in Cuirt Journal, Cyphers, HU, Poetry Ireland , Waterford Review and Four W, Australia . A chapbook collection of his poetry, Strangled Laughter, was published in 1998.

The River and Other Stories by Seán Mackel is published by Guildhall Press and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-906271-33-6. £7.95. Available from all good bookshops and www.ghpress.com

'left of soul'- poems by Colin Dardis

'left of soul' is the new collection of poems from Colin Dardis.

Originally from Omagh, Country Tyrone, Colin now resides in Belfast, where he currently edits the poetry e-zine 'Speech Therapy'. Previously, Colin has been a co-ordinator of Make Yourself Heard, a monthly performance poetry night in Belfast, and has worked as a Poet In Motion for the New Belfast Community Arts Initiative. He has also performed with the Belfast Poets. Notable readings include the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Between The Lines and the Castlereagh Verbal Arts Festival.

Colin is a poet who displays hunger for understanding of himself and the world around him. His poetry display an ever present sense of hope through times of love, sadness, death and joy, while sprakling with humour, honesty, modesty, and a touch of the absurd.

'left of soul'- available to buy now and preview via Lulu.com

Your chance to meet the Godfather of Punk.

I'd the privilege this week of meeting and having a few drinks with a Northern Irish legend, the legend that is Mr Terri Hooley. What was planned as just a meeting for my wife to get his book 'Hooleygan' signed took a wee bit longer than I'd expected.She was also fortunate to have the book signed by both Terri and Richard Sullivan, Richard  I believe put a lot of hard work into both persuading Terri to have the book written and writing the book.I reckon this book will be the Northern Irish bestseller this Christmas.

If you want to get a copy of the book signed both Terri Hooley and Richard Sullivan they will be signing copies in Waterstone's Fountain Street, Belfast tomorrow, Saturday 13 November, from 2.00pm.

If you haven't bought the book yet, buy it now! Did I mention it's called Hooleygan.

When Bedlam won't be.

I shouldn't really tell you about this as I might miss all the bargains.Last year I was at something similar run by Jenni and it was impressive and I left needing to purchase another bookcase...


WHAT ? - For two days only, in the front foyer of the Old Library in Great James Street, local online Bookshop, LITTLE ACORNS BOOKSTORE will have a stall at Derry's innovative and most exciting indoor weekend market – BEDLAM MARKET.

With an overall stock of 7,000 books, stock has been specifically chosen for sale over the two-day period in keeping with the nature of the market and other stalls: vintage, retro, antiques, arts and crafts.

There will also be books on film, television, music (biographies, history, pictorial etc), literature (drama, poetry, study guides etc), fashion, arts, crafts, Irish/Ireland-related plus mixed fiction, alongside selected children's titles.

New and used books will all be discounted, many of which will be cheaper to buy than online and in the high street.

To compliment the books, a small selection of used and new CDs and cassettes – jazz, blues, film soundtracks, swing etc – will be on sale.

Other stock available:

As-good-as-new magazines on books, publishing, writing (Books Ireland, the Bookseller, Publishing News, the New Yorker, Writers' News etc). Plus arty postcards and second-hand film star prints/postcards (Marilyn Monroe, James Dean etc).

Local, hand-made, specially created gift cards and other small crafts from Marilyn McLaughlin.

And possibly a few other unique surprises – perfect for stocking fillers or Christmas gifts!

Please feel free to suggest or ask after any specific books/subjects in advance that can then be made available (if in stock) on the day.

This is a one-off Book Stall, so please do come along and feel free to spread the word!

Email: wonderfulworldofworders@yahoo.co.uk

Web: http://www.amazon.co.uk/shops/littleacornsbookstore

WHERE ? -  Bedlam Weekend Market (Basement of Old Library)35 Great James Street, Derry, N Ireland

WHEN ? - Starts @ 10am this Saturday and finishes sometime on Sunday.

Promoting books, authors and publishers from and in Northern Ireland.

I mentioned on YeWhat.Biz  that I was feeling slightly guilty about this blog gathering dust over the last few months. It still has visitors even though the last blog post was in June. I've decided I'd like to open it up to authors, poets & publishers from and in Northern Ireland who want to use it to promote their books, book signings, appearances etc. Also if you've read a book about Northern Ireland or written by a Northern Irish author and you want to review it on here it's open for you to blog about that.It can be used to reblog blog posts or articles that have been written for other sites that can be reposted  on BooksNI

I'm going to be sending out invites by email to people inviting them to start blogging here @ BooksNI.  If you are one of these people please feel free to blog about, as it says on the tagline of the site, books written by authors from and in Northern Ireland. Sadly the blog/website can only have up to 100 authors, so if your reading this and want to post on this site email me soon so I can add you as an author.I'm afraid there is no payment for writing/blogging on this site, it's just another avenue for people to find out about your latest book.

@YeWhat.Biz #booksni

Taking a break from blogging here @ BooksNI and in  the meantime read blog posts

 @ YeWhat.Biz 

editor's desk - 05 days 02:40:01 left...

 The clock is ticking and Owen now only has just over 5 days left to make it into the top 5. To encourage you to back the book, if you haven't already done so here's a review of The Time Warriors. It's reviewed by  Christine who works as a civil servant in Belfast. She was told about Owen Quinn's book through a friend. Sci-fi is not her usual usual thing but she backed it on Authonomy and before she knew it she  had read the first two chapters.

The Time Warriors is an engrossing read which took me by surprise. The scifi elements are well placed and the character of Varran is an intriguing one; a man who hasn't aged but doesn't know if he is immortal or not. As he tells Tyran, he has never had the inclination to throw himself under a bus to find out.
The book is made up of 17 different stories but all connected and building towards a series finale in Tempest where everything comes together in a rip roaring adventure that threatens Earth and more importantly, the Time Warriors themselves.
Without spoiling it, what shines amid the scifi and aliens is the human drama where Owen deals with bullies, unrequited love and bizarrely, makes losing your virginity a life changing event. I cried at the end of Homecoming as Jacke deals with the death of her grandmother and questions herself.
And this is another plus for the book. I actually care about these characters and what they go through and Owen has given each one a journey of self discovery, again cleverly using scfi adventure as a backdrop.
What I found a good device was, you think you know what is going on but Owen twists your expectations. He says they battle Bigfoot, Jack the Ripper and the Celts but each one subverts what you think and becomes something quite different and engaging.
The fact we now have a Nr Irish, black female lead is a brilliant idea as I could see Belfast and for once, the troubles are not the focal point of being Irish, living your life in this new Ireland is but with aliens and villains creeping at our doors here in the North, life just got a whole lot creepier.
The Time Warriors is a visual treat, such vivid imagery and breath taking stories that will take you by the scruff of the neck and throw you into worlds you never imagined.
If this doesn't put us on the map, then nothing will. Superb.
Remember, everyting happens for a reason! You have been warned.
 To help Owen make it into the Top Five...
  1. Register (simple) on http://www.authonomy.com
  2. Search for 'THE TIME WARRIORS' and click on it 
  3. Then click on 'Back the book'

#FollowFriday @garrett_carr

According to mashable.com #FollowFriday began with a simple tweet @
I am starting Follow Fridays. Every Friday, suggest a person to follow, and everyone follow him/her. Today its @fancyjeffrey & @w1redone.
The idea is to think of interesting people you already follow and recommend them to others.
Mykl Roventine suggested the hashtag #followfriday, and a few friends (Chris Brogan, Erin Kotecki Vest, Aaron Brazell and Jim Kukral) helped spread the word. On the first FollowFriday, there were almost two #followfriday tweets per second at its peak.By Saturday morning, there was no trace of FollowFriday.Then late the next Thursday night, suddenly #followfriday tweets began to appear in foreign languages! It seemed that FollowFriday was back. Now, every Friday, people suggest other people to follow.
As it's Friday I thought for all you tweeters out there and those who haven't yet started tweeting that I should suggest a #FollowFriday. Suggested because the tweeter puts  a bit of effort into his poetic tweets. He isn't followed by or following thousands of people yet, but I'd reckon he has one of the best twitter pages I've seen yet. Tweets like...

- Wendy and I had the craic / on today's Talkback / Hope I kept my cool / and not blab like a fool - http://bit.ly/cjrO4l (@wendytalksback)

- You have an hour and half / to win a copy of my book / have a go, it's a laugh / a few others have partook - http://bit.ly/9tGeOk

- A change is as good as a break / But I’ll get both at Flat Lake - www.theflatlakefestival.com

- Me and Monsters in No Alibis / come along, or send your spies - http://bit.ly/aoHZed @young_at_Art @CultureNI @NI4kids

The twitterer is Garrett Carr who comes from a town in the west of Ireland. He has a background in illustration and has worked for governmental agencies in his native Ireland and for development agencies in Latin America. Now living in Belfast, he he contributes to the city's burgeoning literary scene with publications, exhibitions and readings.

The Twelve by Stuart Neville: Out now in paperback.

For any aliens who've just landed on this planet or ex prisoners who've been banged up in solitary with only a Bible to read for the last year there's a book now out in mass market paperback you just have to read. I can't believe it's nearly a year since the book was first published, nearly a year since I enjoyed reading it. It's a book that I just might read again sometime.The book is entitled The Twelve and is written by Stuart Neville.
I've been reading Stuarts blog for a few years now and it's been great to see how the book started and progressed over the years. We even got to read snippets of the book on the blog. Like every good blogger Stuart found it hard to resist a blogging exercise.

After all is said and done, more is said than done!

Join in, have fun...

Introducing, Northern Irish sci-fi author Owen Quinn.

"I'm a 41 year old kid that at this stage will never grow up. I get excited every time I see a certain police box and in that moment when you actually stand on the threshold you believe that there may be more behind those wood panelled Tardis doors" Yes, that's what Owen's about me section on his Authonomy page reads. Owen's another Northern Irish author on the campaign trail, campaigning for your backing for his book THE TIME WARRIORS  Moving up the ranks  Owen's hoping that he'll make it all the way up to the top 5 so that the book will be read by the publisher, Harper Collins, with the possibility then of a publishing deal.He's 10 days left to achieve his dream. I met Owen last week and interrogated him, not quite Castlereagh style.


Why Authonomy, aren’t there more conventional routes to getting a book published?
Getting a publishing deal is bloody hard and you usually need an agent. Most publishers won't look at you without it. I was offered a deal in February this year by a London publisher (pretty big and well known) except it turned out to be a Vanguard contract where I had to pay £4,600 over 10 months and they would publish it. Not having that sort of money I said no, so they came back and offered to drop it to £4,000 over 15 months but again I said no. I would have been tempted if I had that sort of money but to be honest, if I'm doing all the work, sitting to all hours of the morning to write this, then no way am I paying someone else for my work.So my agent Bill Jeffrey told me to put it on Authonomy and literally, put it to the public vote so here we are, just over 3 months and I'm on the verge of the 100's.

You wrote your first novel when you were just 16, what inspired that? What was the novel about? Any snippets from it you’d want to share?

C. S. Lewis...

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.


According to an article on CultureNI BooksNI.COM is finally  being launched this evening. Back in March I'd blogged @ YeWhat.Biz
I'd been asked to speak at a networking event for book publishers in Northern Ireland,which I didn't do. I'm that shy and retiring and feel comfortable hiding behind a big blog-wall. I'd also noticed more and more press releases and invites to numerous events in my inbox from book publishers. To add to this it seemed to me there was a gap that wasn't being filled, interesting information about books and authors from N.I. that could be shared. So I started http://www.BooksNI.Biz
At the time when I chose the domain name BooksNI.BIZ I noticed that the domain name BooksNI.COM directed me to  The Colourpoint Group's website I then set up BooksNI.BIZ  I've since discovered that the Colourpoint Group also own booksni.org, books-ni.org, books-ni.com and booksni.co.uk.

Where language and heritage, the craic and the ceol...

Specially designed Guildhall Press Culture poster supporting Derry as Candidate City for City of Culture 2013. 

A few books on the Bloody Sunday bookshelf.

As the news today here in Northern Ireland has been dominated by the release of the Bloody Sunday report I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at some of the books about Bloody Sunday. I'm sure after the events of today there'll be many more books published and peoples stories told.
Peter Pringle and Philip Jacobson investigated the shootings on Bloody Sunday  for The Sunday Times within hours of them happening and wrote the book Those Are Real Bullets: Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972

Writer ___ Page/Screen/Stage

The latest author added to the Authors page here at BooksNI is Jamie Guiney. He joins the authors listed, like Paul Charles, Maggie O’Farrell and Colin Bateman who like all successful Northern Irish authors have a web presence. Jamie's site is a pleasure to visit, laid out well, easy to read and with that all important link to his twitter feed. If you've got a few minutes;visit, subscribe and follow Jamie.

Today is...

read the book here
National Bookstart Day and this year it's off to the seaside.A large number of libraries across Northern Ireland will be holding events to mark this occasion,celebrating the fun of sharing books. Libraries will be holding seaside rhyme themed adventures as well as song and story telling sessions. Children attending events that celebrate National Bookstart Day receive a free booklet of a seaside poem by the author Tony Mitton, beautifully illustrated by Alex Ayliffe and free seaside stickers, along with a Bookstart rhymetime leaflet.
Kim Aiken, Learning Development Manager with Libraries NI, explains:
“Libraries NI is keen to support the work of Bookstart in ensuring that all babies in Northern Ireland will get the best start in life, by being introduced to books from a very young age. By celebrating National Bookstart Day in Northern Ireland libraries, we are giving parents the opportunity to come along to these events, especially tailored for babies and pre-school children, to ensure that this love of books and reading will continue throughout childhood and beyond.”
Liz Canning, Booktrust National Development Manager is delighted that this year’s National Bookstart Day will be celebrated in June.
“The seaside theme is in keeping with the new summer date and we hope that the Seaside stories, activities and resources will encourage families to enjoy sharing books and rhymes together right through the summer, indoors and out.  A love of books is one of the most important gifts that can be given to a child and it is never too early to start.”

To find our more about events planned for pre-school children for today, contact your local library or check out the Libraries NI events website at www.librariesni.org.uk
Check out the Bookstart website for more details on Enjoy National Bookstart Day 2010 and on the Bookstart scheme at www.bookstart.org.uk

Help, BooksNI is already getting footie fever.

As Neil Lennon, the new manager of Celtic, calls for his players to go to war every time they go on the pitch I reckon it is a good time to mention a biography of an ex Celtic manager that's just been published. A biography of a man not as violent as the new manager of Celtic a man I'm sure most of the people of Kilrea are proud of.
The man is Martin O'Neill, truly  one of British football's true greats. Plucked from the Northern  Irish club Distillery by Nottingham Forest in 1971, the young Northern Irishman went on an incredible football journey that saw him clash against some of the game's biggest characters.

Blogging about...

It has been said before, that every story has already been told. Maybe so. But if you've got the gift of the gab, you can tell the same tale as often as you like and still give it a life of its own every time. Requiems for the Departed flaunts that gift seventeen times over with top shelf stories from Stuart Neville, Brian McGilloway, Adrian McKinty, Sam Millar and many more.
Adventures in Novel Writing 

17 short stories written by some of the biggest names in Irish crime fiction, and Maxim Jakubowski. The stories are divided into three groups Ulster, Myth, and Fianna. I have only had time to read Queen of the Hill by Stuart Neville and if the standard of the other stories is only half as good this is a collection not to be missed. With Ken Bruen, Brian McGilloway, Adrian, McKinty, Arlene Hunt and others contributing prepare to be frightened.
Crime Scraps

"Finest teacher this school has."

When a teacher gets "5s" on RateMyTeachers.Com for easiness,helpfulness and clarity. When a teacher receives comments  on the same website "Finest teacher this school has." and "Quality teacher. Survived AS level English with his help! He knows his stuff. Listen, Read, Study, You will do well." When a teacher like that writes a book I reckon it'll be worth reading.
The teacher with these top ratings is Francis Hagan who grew up in Belfast and waseducated at the University of Ulster and Queen's University. He has taught Creative Writing for ten yearsand is currently teaching English at Hazelwood College. His first novel is entitled The Auditor.
The blurb for the book reads...

Some Weekend Reading...


Space was ablaze with orgasmic brilliance as the death throes of a billion voices choked in flame.
Orange, blue, red and green danced in a leering kaleidoscope opera as the planet's atmosphere began to evaporate. Time held its breath as the land shivered, cracked and began to dissolve under great waves of vivid green lightning as the air sizzled with energy.The planet was breaking up, black infernos blasting glacial chunks into space in halos of fire, whole continents shimmering into ash beneath the onslaught.

Derry the Irish chick lit capital?

Claire Allan's book Jumping in Puddles has been released in paperback this week.Back in September last year when the book was first released I documented her tweets...
...best selling chick lit author Claire Allan, from Derry, whose third book ‘Jumping in Puddles’ has just been released. On Claire’s twitter page we find out a little about her. A day she won’t forget was the 14th September when she tweeted…
9.37am Taking bets on whether or not the books shall arrive today… anyone care to
1.31pm IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE Oh pretty, pretty book. Perhaps the prettiest of all the books in the world. And my name is on it! In big letters. And the word Bestselling
1.39pm I love the smell of new books - esp those which have my name on them. Oh Happy Day!
9.43pm Well, that was emotional. Gave my book to my granny and made her cry.
9.51pm @Keris LOL! She cried because it’s dedicated to her - it was all a big surprise. *sobby sobby sob*
10.59pm Right. Am off to my bed. With a copy of my NEW BOOK. Did I mention I got it today?

As BooksNI.Biz is backing the Derry City Of Culture bid and as Claire is from Derry I thought I'd ask her a few questions...

Are your novels set in Derry and the surrounding area just because you're familiar with the city or do you believe it is because it adds to the story line?
A bit of both. As a proud Derry wan I'm very familiar with the city and very proud of it so it was nice to set something locally. I do believe it adds to the book - Derry is a brilliant city with a thriving cafe/ restaurant/ pub/ arts scene. It also has stunning tourist attractions and setting books so close to the border with Donegal also allows me to visit the glorious Donegal shoreline.

@ the Guildhall Press 30th Birthday Bash & Book Launch

Last Thursday I made it along to The City of Culture offices in L/Derry to join in Guildhall Press thirtieth birthday celebrations.I took my camera along...


The offices were packed that lunchtime...

We're not Brazil, we're Northern Ireland

Now with just over 9 days left until the World Cup begins is a good time to start reading books about football. Not just any book but a book written by Stephen Rea. Who is Stephen Rea you may ask.
Stephen Rea, from Belfast, is a freelance writer based in New Orleans who has contributed to national and international newspapers, magazines, and Web sites for over twenty years. He has covered a range of news stories, from the Gulf War and terrorist attacks in London to the resignation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Rea attended Campbell College in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland and studied journalism at the United Kingdom's National Council for the Training of Journalists.

Win a trip to Australia

The Daily Mirror competition read...
Win a trip to Australia with Adelaide Insurance Services To celebrate Geoff Hill and Colin O'Carroll's 15,000-mile motorbike ride across Australia, we've teamed up with motorcycle insurance services, Adeleide Insurance Services, to give you the chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Adeleide  Australia.This super prize is a travel voucher to the value of £3,500. For your chance to win, simply answer the question below and telephone or text in your answer, leaving your name, address and daytime telephone number. And it must be won by a reader of the Daily Mirror Northern Ireland edition Q.This prize is brought to you by which motorcycle insurance service provider?
Call 0901 293 0309 Text MIRRORS followed by a space and then your answer to 81108. Terms and conditions Entries cost £1...Lines close at midnight on May 31 2010...

He who laughs last...

Did you know?

The Last Laugh Award  for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2009  sponsored by Goldsboro Books went to top Northern Irish author Colin Bateman  for the book The Day of the Jack Russell

Now you do.

Busier than Cape Canaveral.

It looks like bookshops and cultural centres here in Northern Ireland have and will be busier than usual recently and it's not just because they're selling lots of local books, it's because the books they're selling have and will be launched recently. I am amazed that there are so many book launches by local authors and sadly I can't be at all the launches.

The poet David Agnew has two videos recorded at the launch of "Belfast via Bedlam" the first here and second can be found here. David’s writing is based on his own experience of the journey of recovery, now extending over more than twenty-one years. It is also informed by his long experience of working with the mentally ill, including those suffering from addiction problems.He firmly believes that, in recovery, we all travel a similar road, no matter where we begin.Following on from his previous books - Walking into Eternity and First I Dreamt the Journey - David, in this book, further explores the paths, pitfalls and signposts on the journey.The book is available from his website.

Guildhall Press, one of the mainstays of Derry’s cultural scene, is hosting a literary bash in Derry city centre on Thursday May 27 as part of its thirtieth birthday celebrations. The lunchtime show will take place at the Culture Centre on Waterloo Place, to mark the publishing house’s long-standing support for Derry’s City of Culture 2013 bid.

The debate continues...

As a cross-party group of MLAs take receipt of educators' report aimed at breaking the political impasse over academic selection,here's an opportunity for us to discuss this issue which has been in the news here in Northern Ireland for a while now. To help us get involved in the debate BooksNI.Com are offering a couple of free copies of the book Selection Challenged: The Case Against Selection for 11+.

Guildhall Press; Doing it for #derry2013

This Thursday Derry's City of Culture bid is to be delivered ahead of Friday’s submission deadline.Helping ginormously for this bid is Guildhall Press, who have been promoting Derry as a City of Culture for years now. From publishing novels by Dave Duggan and Felicity McCall and even links to performance poetry and all these stories making an appearance in the blogosphere over the last 5 years, I couldn't help but mention them again.As mentioned in CyberScroll back in November 2007...

...was founded in 1979 as a voluntary educational book-publishing trust by local school teacher, Ms Anne Murray. Its original aims were to research, write and publish all aspects of local history in an objective and factual way and to create a platform for reconciliation through education by publishing material that increased cross-community understanding and acceptance.
Since 1995, the scope of publications produced by Guildhall Press has changed from local history texts, to wider interest books concentrating on the history of the past thirty years in the north of Ireland, giving Guildhall Press the potential to operate in a larger market, whilst retaining its role as an active community organisation.

Hearken ye unto that weak chirping sound

books_ni is on twitter and if you don't like twitter you can keep updated with the books_ni "tweets" on your RSS Reader by subscribing here and if it's the books_ni favourites it's here

Recent tweets...
  • Irish Pages - The Up-and-Coming Reading - Thursday 20 May 2010 7.30 pm - The Black Box,Cathedral Quarter, Belfast. http://ht.ly/1MbLw

King of the Roads

I can't believe it's nearly ten years since the untimely death of Joey Dunlop.Today as the bikes race around the North West I'm sure it's not just bikers will remember Joey Dunlop and also his brother Robert, who also lost his life just two years ago.With the never ending respect and interest of the public it's good to see that the tenth-anniversary edition of the book Joey Dunlop: King of the Roads is packed with new material, including a new introduction by Stephen Davison. There is also a new chapter on the legacy of Joey Dunlop and previously unpublished photographs.
Joey Dunlop was born in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim on 25 February 1952. His ambition was to be a soldier, but all that changed when he purchased his first motorbike at the age of sixteen: he discovered his destiny.

A first for a writer from Northern Ireland.

I'm sure your remember reading last month about Gerry McCullough who was at Number 5 on the 28th April on the HarperCollins (publishers) website: authonomy.com The top 5 books on that list at midnight 2 days later were to be read by HarperCollins, with the possibility of a publishing deal for the authors. I kept checking and kept my fingers crossed hoping  that Gerry would have that opportunity and I'm glad to say she did. I asked her to tell me just what it was like for her...

The Authonomy Experience.
by Gerry McCullough

I got a brand new combine harvester, an' I'll give you the key...

It's that time of year again when the fields are void of farmers and  4x4's in Belfast are driven by farmers and not yummy mummies.Yeah, it's Balmoral Show time again. Coinciding with this is the release of a new book entitled Memories From The Farmyard.The blurb for the book reads...
In this book Paul Callaghan highlights and celebrates the work of notable Ulster livestock breeders who, in the same way as the famous 18th century English farmer Robert Bakewell, were inspired to take up the challenge to ‘breed something better’. Through a fascinating and entertaining series of accounts, that first featured in Farm Week, we explore aspects such as the impact of the Ravenhill herd on the British Friesian breed and the Heyday of the Hereford. We also pay homage to the Large White Ulster breed of pigs and look at some old examples of the ‘veterinary art’.
 image from www.colourpoint.co.uk

Inside Story: A career in publishing [link]

Check out a must read on Creative Choices, the first online service to provide the tools, knowledge and networks to support every individual and business to get in, and get on, in the creative industries and cultural sector.
An article written by  Malachi O'Doherty Susan Feldstein's story and tips about working in publishing. The article includes this tip...

Enjoy what you do - “You have to love this work; it's a tough road if you are just looking for financial reward.  It is a fantastic industry and most of the people are not cut throat and money grabbing. But you need persistence and patience.
Read it in full HERE

Born in Northern Ireland.

Yes we can claim that an author born in Northern Ireland is a Northern Irish author and one who it's been very hard to ignore over the last couple of weeks is Maggie O’Farrell.
Her latest novel opens with...
Listen. The trees in this story are stirring, trembling, readjusting themselves. A breeze is coming in gusts off the sea, and it is almost as if the trees know, in their restlessness, in their head-tossing impatience, that something is about to happen.
The garden is empty, the patio deserted, save for some pots with geraniums and delphiniums shuddering in the wind. A bench stands on the lawn, two chairs facing politely away from it...  
If like me, before buying a book you like to read the opening lines, you'll not want to put this one down. Entitled The Hand That First Held Mine the blurb for the novel reads...

A gorgeously written story of love and motherhood, this is a tour de force from one of our most acclaimed and best loved novelists.

When the bohemian, sophisticated Innes Kent turns up by chance on her doorstep, Lexie Sinclair realises she cannot wait any longer for her life to begin, and leaves for London.  There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, she carves out a new life for herself, with Innes at her side.  In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child.  Elina, a painter, struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood, memories that don't tally with his parents' version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, so an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.

Roe Valley Tales Re-told.

I'm chuffed to see that the long awaited book by Mary Hayward has finally materialised.I'd the privilege of attending a creative writing group she was in during some of the time the stories for the book  were being written, rewritten and polished off. The book which takes its title from the lyrics of the song, Danny Boy is entitled "From Glen To Glen". It consists of a collection of tales from the Roe Valley.which include the Danny Boy stories: Rory Dall, Denis O'Hempsey, George Petrie, Jane Ross & Jimmy McCurry, Bringing It All Back Home (Fred Weatherly).The Drumcete Convention, Finvola, Cushy Glen, Lig Na Péiste, Broighter Gold, Piper McQuillan and Shane Crossagh O' Mullan.

The book will be launched during the Danny Boy Festival on Sun 9th May from 2 to 4 during the afternoon session of traditional music, song & verse in the Green Lane Museum at Roe Valley Country Park, Limavady.

For more details about the book, how to purchase the book or to contact Mary visit www.haybalepublications.co.uk

“Some books are to be tasted”

David Bowen @ Krakow Artists Book Show

I was recently invited to Krakow to take part in an artists book exhibition called “Some books are to be tasted”. There were books from around the world on display. From books that could take pictures to architecture books reconstructed into mini cityscapes.

My contribution was a book based on ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland. ‘Open Book’ is 3,550 blank pages each representing a person who lost their lives in the 35 year conflict. The years are represented by red ribbons and it’s bound in white linen. It was quite poignant to have it shown in a city which has known terrible conflict.

source - www.mccannerickson.ie

and the winner is...

Not just one Northern Irish author, but two winners in the 2010 Spinetingler Awards.

For Best Novel: New Voice The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville

Best Novel: Rising Star Category Fifty Grand by Adrian McKinty

Well done Lads!

Profiles of Eight Remarkable Men from Derry :The Boys of St Columb's.

Today is ‘City of Culture Commitment Day’ in Derry - Londonderry, part of their ongoing campaign  for the UK City of Culture 2013. Showing my support for this bid I'm hoping that the committee who makes the final decision on which city to choose, have either seen the film or read the book entitled The Boys of St Columb's. The Belfast launch of the book takes place on Tuesday in the Bookshop at Queens.

Watching the film version on the BBC I was amazed at the story of how eight men; poets, writers, diplomats, musicians and a socialist campaigner were all at  the same school around the same time and were all so successful. The blurb for the book reads...
The Boys of St Columb's tells the story of the first generation of children to receive free secondary education as a result of the ground-breaking 1947 Education Act in Northern Ireland. This book shows how the political and historical conditions of Northern Ireland altered as a result of the mass education of its population, culminating in the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960s which drew its inspiration from the USA. The book profiles St. Columb's school in Derry, an excellent example of a school that underwent the shift from the dark post-war years into the more liberal 1960s, as a lens to understand the effect of the 1947 legislation. "The Boys of St. Columb's" consists of interviews with Nobel Prize winners, writers, diplomats, musicians and a socialist campaigner. The eight figures who make up this oral history are Bishop Daly, John Hume, Seamus Heaney, Seamus Deane, Phil Coulter, Eamonn McCann, Paul Brady and James Sharkey. These interviewees, as well as being world figures, are also sharply insightful. They form as fine an example as exists of the watershed in Irish history brought about by educational overhaul. These eight remarkable men first learned to survive in the unionist state, and then to thrive. The considerable momentum that gathered from their endeavours, along with those of others, paved the way for future generations. As Seamus Heaney put it, 'they broke some silences' and opened avenues that had been unimaginable to their parents. Their achievement is still being felt today.
Author's  website - MauriceFitzpatrick.Org 
Publishers website -TheLiffeyPress.Com
The book can be purchased from Amazon

Deadline - midnight on Friday.

Gerry McCullough has written five novels and had around 30 short stories and several poems and articles published in a number of magazines, books, online publications and broadcast on BBC radio.

In 2005 she received the Cuirt Award for New Writing from Galway Arts Centre, (judged by Helon Habila, Nigeria), for her story, 'Primroses', which was published in their Annual. In 2008 she was shortlisted for the Brian Moore Award in Belfast. Her story, 'The Greatest Gift of All', was one of 24 included in the 'People's Friend 2008 Annual'.

In Sept 2009 her story, 'Giving Up', was commended in the Seán O’Faolain Short Story Competition, Cork - (Munster Literature Centre). Now, this same story is to be included in an anthology to be published next year by The Stinging Fly Press, Dublin.

The first part (24,000 words) of Gerry's book, 'Belfast Girls', is available to read on http://authonomy.com which you can join read the book, back it, comment, and watch it move up the ratings!

When a book reaches the highest level it is guaranteed to be read by the publisher, Harper Collins, with the possibility then of a publishing deal! It works like an online 'slush-pile', with YOU as the reader.

'Belfast Girls' is  Number five tonight on the HarperCollins (publishers) website: authonomy.com

Help it stay in the top 5  for two more days by registering on the site and 'Backing' the book. The top 5 books at midnight on 30th April will be read by HarperCollins, with the possibility of a publishing deal resulting.

If you have not already done so, please
  1. Register (simple) on http://www.authonomy.com,
  2. Search for 'Belfast Girls' and click on it -
  3. Then click on 'Back the book'

UPDATE Sat 1st May - The book was selected for review by HarperCollins" - Authonomy Editors Desk - http://ht.ly/1FBJ5

Crime writers interrogated on the Beeb tonight.

Two of Northern Irelands favourite radio dj's present  what is called an eclectic mash-up of all things art in Northern Ireland, in a programme entitled Art Space. Tonight's programme, on BBC 1 @ 11:00pm includes...
Donna Legge investigating  the murky world of crime fiction in Northern Ireland.
To help her with her enquires she met Dr Andrew Pepper, a lecturer in English and crime fiction at Queens University.
Donna also interrogated local author Stuart Neville, whose debut novel The Twelve has been optioned for a movie deal and was shortlisted for the LA Times book prize 2010.
Joining her too in the interview room was Brian McGilloway the writer responsible for the critically acclaimed Inspector Devlin series who was shortlisted in 2007 for the CWA New Gold Dagger award and whose books have been optioned for TV.

Check out Verbal this week!

For all you Norn Iron folk, Verbal Magazine is in the Derry Journal on Tuesday 27th April, Belfast News on Thursday 29th April and Newsletter on Friday 30th April 2010.
This month Verbal speaks to Edna O’Brien on the 50th anniversary of Country Girls – her debut novel which, despite being banned in Ireland on its release, cemented her reputation as one of the most important writers of her generation.
As if one literary luminary wasn’t enough, they also chat to poet and novelist, Ciaran Carson on the links between his writing and traditional music. An interview with the award winning Nigerian-born writer Petina Gappah and a feature by Canadian-born Chris Nikkel looks at how
immigrant writers are changing the face of Irish (and British) society and literature. Plus Marcus Sedgwick, the master of historical fiction for children, took time out from his appearance at the Children’s Books Ireland conference to speak to us about his award winning fiction.
Their opinion piece this month comes from Mike Faulkner, author of two books documenting his life on an uninhabited Island on Stangford Lough. Recently shortlisted for the inaugural Author Blog Awards - Mike explains the difficulties of online marketing when you’re reliant on a generator for electricity…

Ausubo Press Responds to Death Threats Against Anthony McIntyre

If tweets were more than 240 characters I'd have tweeted...
Ausubo Press  the publishing company that compiled the best essays and articles of Northern Irish author Dr. Anthony McIntyre in the book Good Friday: The Death of Irish Republicanism responds to death threats against him http://ow.ly/1C6HB

A deal has been signed.

Bookseller.Com report that
Award-winning Northern Irish playwright and novelist  Lucy Caldwell has been signed up by Faber in a two-book deal for her first novels. Angus Cargill bought world rights from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Caldwell is already published on the Faber drama list. Cargill described it as a "hugely impressive piece of narrative fiction, which becomes a devastating and compelling look at this woman's loss of faith". Faber will publish early spring 2011.

For a good cause...

Camille’s Appeal is the children’s brain tumour charity specifically focused on the support and welfare of children under the age of five.

Under current treatments, children are likely to undergo three treatments in an attempt to cure them of this horrific illness, all of which have a devastating effect on the bodies of these small children. Chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy will in many cases leave the child with disabilities making an independent life very difficult.

Camille’s Appeal wants to help these wonderful children and their families get as close to a normal life as possible. The focus of the charity is to work closely with the NHS to ensure that each and every child is given the maximum amount of care to lower the risk of disability and to create and improve rehabilitation care across the United Kingdom.
Claire Allan the 'chick lit' author from L/Derry is trying to raise some support for CAMILLE'S APPEAL.On her blog she's posted that she's...
decided to give one lucky reader the chance to make a cameo appearance in my new book 'It's Got to Be Perfect' for a donation to the appeal.
This is how it is going to work. 
The highest bidder by the end of this month will win the prize.

They can feature in the book themselves, or nominate a family member or friend to appear in the book.

Their name will appear in the book which will be published by Poolbeg Press at the end of September 2010.

The winner will receive a mention in the acknowledgements of the book along with a plug for Camille's Appeal. They will also received a signed copy of the book for them and/or their chosen special guest star.

This is a very worthwhile cause - and this is a great present for people who perhaps struggle to find that perfect present for the person who has everything.

To enter: Please contact me at claire.allan@gmail.com

PLEASE NOTE: It's Got to be Perfect is a romatic comedy novel for adults - and does contain some strong language and scenes of a sexual nature - please bear this is mind when you are thinking of who you would like to nominate - as perhaps your great Auntie Mable wouldn't be so keen!
There'a also the opportunity to read Chapter One of It's Got to Be Perfect due for release in October 2010 - just click on this LINK.

Growing up in Belfast.

It's strange having two books just published about boys growing up in Belfast, one growing up in the Upper Shankill and another  in Falls Road area of Belfast. Both books about what it was like growing up in Belfast in the 70's & 80's.
A book which opens with...I was born on Tuesday 10 May 1966. I died the same day. Relatives hugged and cried... would certainly be a temptation book lovers would find hard to resist, a book they'd just have to read.The book  Where Are You Really From? tells the story of Tim Brannigan...

Born into a devoutly Catholic Belfast family, Peggy Brannigan was devastated when she became pregnant as a result of an extra-marital affair with a black junior doctor. Unwilling to have an abortion or to have the baby adopted, Peggy came up with an audacious plan to keep her child.
When Tim was born hospital staff smuggled him into St Joseph’s Baby Home and told the rest of the Brannigan family that the baby had been stillborn. One year later, Peggy adopted Tim and brought him to live with her family in the Falls Road area of Belfast. It was 1967.
Told here for the first time, this is Tim’s extraordinary story, describing in vivid detail what it was like growing up black in Belfast during the turbulent 1970s and 80s, his five-year stint as a republican prisoner, his coming to terms with the true circumstances surrounding his birth, and his desperate attempts to trace the father who abandoned him.
Where Are You Really From? is a fascinating and powerful memoir about oneman’s struggle to establish his own identity and a moving tribute to the woman who risked everything to keep her son. Source - Blackstaff Press
It's fasciniating to read articles and listen to podcasts about this book. There's also an opportunity to hear Tim Brannigan @ the 11th Cathedral Quarter  Arts Festival  [Friday 7 May 1.00pm - The Black Box] Tickets available here.

An event/programme with Tony Macaulay and Tim Brannigan talking about their childhood would be interesting to see sometime, hint hint folks.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Launched last night,  Paperboy’- a memoir of a Belfast childhood, is another book to add to [yours and] my reading list.This book is written by Tony Macaulay,a broadcaster and community development and conflict resolution consultant from Northern Ireland.The blurb for the book reads...

It’s Belfast, 1975, and a 12-year-old boy wearing Brut aftershave has just been appointed paperboy to the Upper Shankill by Oul’ Mac.

The smell of Tayto cheese and onion crisps is on his breath, and the aroma of fresh fish suppers and burning double-decker busses is in the air. It is the era of platform shoes and parallel trousers, and Paperboy is taking guitar lessons with Mr Rowing so he can play along to the Bay City Rollers.

Belfast in the seventies is like the newspapers he delivers: everything is black and white, albeit Orange and Green. There are bombings and killings on the evening news, but Paperboy is more interested in Doctor Who and Top of the Pops, bonfires and outer space, and of course, Sharon Burgess.

It is a time of hate and conflict, but Paperboy’s only battles are with acne, dentistry and the wee hoods out to rob his paper money. The streets are ruled by the IRA and the UDA, but Paperboy is under the spell of a less threatening acronym: ABBA.

There are secrets at school and dangers on the streets, but Paperboy is happy, so he is. He is a good paperboy. He delivers.
Tony's been busy the last day or two. The launch, videod by Mr Ulster...

On the Nolan Show [podcasts]

And, Tony's just announced the news that...
The film rights for 'Paperboy' have been snapped up by Titian Red Pictures. They plan to make the book into an international feature film!
I'm looking forward to reading the book as my wee Ma was born on the 'Road' and because of that I seem to have an affinity with the Shankill and want to keep updated on all that's gone on there.