Literary Programme 2017

Jan Carson, Mia Gallagher & Mike McCormack

Jan Carson, Mia Gallagher & Mike McCormack

Mia Gallagher
Jan Carson
Mike McCormack

Maritime Hotel

Tue 18 July 2017



Join us for an evening with three of Ireland’s most exciting writers, Jan Carson, Mia Gallagher and Mike McCormack

In Jan Carson’s collection of short stories Children’s Children, each of the characters in Jan’s debut story collection are all falling apart in their own peculiar way: two children watching their parents argue inside a greenhouse, an armoured boy and his troubled sister, a human statue who’s lost the ability to move and a floating six year old tethered to the backyard fence.

Absurdist, allegorical and disturbingly convincing these characters are both wrongdoers and victims of another’s wrongdoing. They are people marked by life yet struggling to forge some kind of future. Mixing Jan’s distinctive magic realist voice with a more traditional brand of Irish literary fiction, Children’s Children explores the concept of legacy and the influence of one generation upon the next. These are darkly humorous stories which are both heartbreaking and hopeful and gently critical of post-conflict Northern Ireland.

‘Sharply written and inventive.  Her stories move effortlessly from reality to dystopia to surreal vignettes. Irish Times

‘Heartbreaking in places, hilarious in others, always utterly enchanting and unforgettable. There's something so compelling about reading stories by a writer so perfectly attuned to the rhythms of life and loss and love, so alive to the depth and and richness of our seams. Jan's prose shimmers and her stories are luminous.’ —Donal Ryan

Jan Carson is a writer based in Belfast. Her first novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears was published by Liberties Press in 2014, followed by a short story collection, Children’s Children in 2016. Her flash fiction anthology, Postcard Stories is forthcoming from the Emma Press in 2017. Her stories have appeared in journals such as Storm Cellar, Banshee, Harper’s Bazaar and The Honest Ulsterman. In 2014 she was a recipient of the Arts Council NI Artist’s Career Enhancement Bursary. She was longlisted for the Sean O’Faolain short story prize in 2015 and shortlisted in 2016, won the Harper’s Bazaar short story competition in 2016 and was shortlisted for a Sabotage Award for best short story collection 2015/16.

Jan is also teaching our five-day Introduction to the Short Story writing workshop from Monday 17 to Friday 21 July.

In Mia Gallagher’s latest novel Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland, a bomb blast in the London Underground rips through space and time, unearthing four stories that whirl, collide and pass each other by. Sometime around now, Georgia Madden (who used to be Georgie) flees her Dublin home, embarking on a road trip spiked with the hidden dangers of her past and her present. In the 1970s, as the Madden family begins to disintegrate, a disruptive stranger arrived who will bind them, briefly. While the underground bomb ticks down, an elderly German woman, Anna Bauer, recounts her own war story to a film crew. And all along, fizzing and popping in a parallel reality, we, the ‘visitors’, are led through an unsettling and volatile Museum of Curiosities.

The past crosses and weaves with the present; generations are bound together and cleaved apart; future selves remember and forget who they once were. Forgiveness is sought, offered and withheld – and as they unspool, the fragmented lives of four people become a haunting whole, where time is unknowable.

‘I adored this thrillingly ambitious novel, which is intriguing, strange, yet seductive, too, in such clever and nuanced ways. A sheer pleasure to read.’ Joseph O’Connor

‘There is so much to say about this novel. Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland is challenging, it is brave, it is original, it is flawed, it is moving, it is fascinating. It is art.’ The Guardian

‘Nothing came near Mia Gallagher’s Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland for bravery and ambition this year. A skillful and fearless exploration of place, time and identity – it grapples the big themes to its heart. This is the Irish novel whose reputation will grow in the coming years.  A new generation of Irish writers may well take their lead from it.’ – Sunday Independent

Mia Gallagher was born in Dublin, where she lives and works. Her debut novel, HellFire, was widely acclaimed and received the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Literature Award in 2007, while her award-winning short fiction has been widely published and anthologised. Mia has received several Literature Bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland and has been writer-in-residence in many different environments, both at home and abroad. In a parallel universe, Mia works as a professional actor, performing in theatre, radio and occasionally film. Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland is her second novel.

Once a year, on All Souls’ Day, it is said in Ireland that the dead may return. Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones is the story of one such visit. Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer, turns up one afternoon at his kitchen table and considers the events that took him away and then brought him home again. Funny and strange, Mike’s ambitious and other-worldly novel plays with form and defies convention. This profound work by one of Ireland’s most important contemporary novelists is a beautiful and haunting elegy, a story of order and chaos, love and loss that captures how minor decisions ripple into waves and test our integrity every day.

Winner of the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize

Winner of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year 2016.

‘McCormack is one of our bravest and most innovative writers – he shoots for the stars with this one and does not fall short.’ – Kevin Barry

‘Excellence is always rare and often unexpected: we don’t necessarily expect masterpieces even from the great. Solar Bones is exceptional indeed: an extraordinary novel by a writer… surely destined to be acclaimed by anyone who believes that the novel is not dead.’ – The Guardian

‘One of the most original and important voices in contemporary Irish fiction.’ – Irish Times

Mike McCormack is an award-winning novelist and short story writer from Mayo. His previous work includes Getting it in the Head (1995), Crowe’s Requiem (1998), Notes from a Coma (2005), which was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award, and Forensic Songs (2012). In 1996 he was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and in 2007 he was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. In 2016 he won the Goldsmiths Prize and the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award for best novel for Solar Bones. It has also been shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award in association with Listowel Writers’ Week. He lives in Galway.

Jan’s photo is by Jonathan Ryder, Mia’s photo is by Robbie Fry and Mike’s photo is by Sarah Davis-Goff