Fantastic post today from Irish History Podcast on a little known explosion that ripped apart a large portion of Dublin city in the 16th Century:
It didn’t take a genius to figure out what caused the explosion itself. That week a shipment of gunpowder had arrived in the city and was being off loaded onto the quays. The gunpowder was for the English army waging the Nine years war (1594-1603) against the O Neills amongst others. Normally this powder would be transported the short distance from the quays up to the castle (see map below). However that week conflict arose between the porters in the city and castle officials and a large supply of gun powder built up on the quays. At lunchtime on Friday it exploded with devastating consequences demolishing twenty houses around the Woodquay area of the city.
In Londonderry, as in many other parts of the country, economic necessity as much as a sense of loyalty may well have been a factor in so many men from both the Protestant and Catholic traditions heading for the various battlefields of Europe. In recent years it has been revealed that almost 50 per cent of the names recorded on the City’s Diamond War Memorial hailed from the Catholic/nationalist community. But, with the advent of the Easter Rising in 1916 and again at onset of the Troubles in 1969 it is true that those from the Catholic tradition felt uncomfortable recognising or remembering the involvement of their ancestors in service to the Crown.
Always nice to see one of my commissions getting a review, however late after release. Patrick Kavanagh & The Leader is the third book by the very talented Pat Walsh. His previous two were also published by companies I worked with (Nonsuch & Mercier). He has an ability to spot a great story and bring it to life and he does that again with this book.
Kavanagh was perennially poor, thoroughly abrasive and ready to bite all hands that tried to feed him. With no carapace to ease the world’s buffets he used an anonymous profile in a Dublin magazine as a chance to ease his hurt and make a bit of money. The resulting trial in 1954 became the finest piece of theatre ‘the blind and ignorant town’ had experienced for years.
Great article that starts as a fighting critique of Bill Clegg’s Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man then progresses toaddress some of the ills of the book publishing industry.
The book industry’s latest-is-best attitude seems out-of-kilter with our literary aesthetics. In 1939 Ezra Pound wrote that “literature is news that STAYS new.” To this day, it’s as good a definition as we have. It seems self-evident that a great book from 1973 is preferable to a so-so book from 2010. It seems obvious that an author’s best book should be bought before his latest. (For example, Ian McEwan’s first novel, the wicked, brilliant and little-known The Cement Garden deserves as much attention as his grandiose new satire Solar.) Novels of value should not be judged by their publication date. We should not read novels as historical artifacts or purely as commentary on our socio-political moment. Truly great fiction somehow manages to remain forever radical.
Well done to Ryan Chapman and FSG! This is a lovely idea and exactly what publishers should be doing!
Work in Progress is, then, a long-term bet: create interesting pieces, delivered monthly, around only the best work curated by our editors. Give it a year. Connect readers with the editors and their lists which they’ve been reading for years without knowing it. Build up that trust, then tap them on the shoulder and say, Oh, by the way, here’s a novel you just might like.
Author’s Will Drive Change as I’ve said before, especially those with an existing following or those with nothing to lose. How publishers can respond to this is worth thinking about and I suspect that means create ebook exclusive deals with authors that agree the lions share going to authors in exchange for exclusive hardback or paperback rights.
Let the nightmare begin. Novelist Ryu Murakami plans to release his latest novel exclusively for digital bookworms through Apple Inc.’s iPad ahead of the print version. Mr. Murakami, the acclaimed author of over 15 novels including “Coin Locker Babies” and “In the Miso Soup”, replaced the publishers with a software company to help develop the e-book titled “A Singing Whale,” or “Utau Kujira” in Japanese. The digital package will include video content and set to music composed by Academy Award winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, according to the Japanese business daily Nikkei. The newspaper reports the e-book will cost 1,500 yen ($17) and will be ready to download pending Apple’s approval. Apple Japan and Mr. Murakami did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.