Craic open a book with Ahlam, Andrea and Annabelle as they take you on a journey through the best of Irish banter, murder, ghosts, fairies, criminal masterminds, 70s nostalgia and more, in honour of St. Patrick's Day (but worth reading every day).
Sheila Maher also drops in from Dublin to recommend her top tip for a book by a fellow Irish author.
Books and authors mentioned in this episode:
Himself by Jess Kidd
Tall dark handsome stranger who has a way with the ladies and for seeing the dead, rolls into rural Irish town looking for answers about his mother, while tough old bird Mrs Cauley stages a play to help him reveal the inhabitants' secrets. If you're looking for another beautifully written tale with wit and a touch of endearing strangeness, Jess Kidd's second book Mr. Flood's Last Resort/The Hoarder is also highly recommended.
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Ireland. 1859. Science and faith clash in this story of a young girl who becomes a money-making attraction in a small town for reportedly surviving without food for months, and the nurse suspicious of the claims who forms a bond with her. Top tip - much like Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, Ahlam suggests this book is best listened to as an audiobook.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Artemis is a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind. Is he a match for Holly Short, who is part of a fairy special forces unit? Andrea is of course recommending Artemis Fowl, the criminally good children's classic suitable for all ages with good taste. She awards it top marks for both tugging at the heartstrings of adults and offering children a rollicking adventure full of Irish wit.
Six at the Table: Take the 70s, Add Family and Mix Well by Sheila Maher
Sheila Maher is a regular contributor to RTÉ Sunday Miscellany, and joins us to talk about her favourite Irish writers. Her own book is a memoir that takes a trip through 70s nostalgia - the story of a childhood told through meals shared and family trips.
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Sheila Maher's recommendation is set in a rural Irish village and details the impact of an economic crash on 21 characters, masterfully told through 21 different chapters in the space of 170 moving pages.
More reading tips: https://blog.elfdubai.org/blogs/post/irish-authors-to-read-all-year
Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers - https://www.silvermansound.com
Ahlam Bolooki is the Festival Director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World. Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as The Little Prince and The Giving Tree, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?
Andrea Gissdal is the Head of Communications and Marketing for the Emirates Literature Foundation. From a voracious and indiscriminate reader as a child, to a part time bookseller as a student, as an adult she has become a literary omnivore but with a preference for fiction. She also dabbles in creative writing, and has a penchant for Scrabble.
Annabelle Corton is part of the team that puts together the programme of events for the EmiratesLitFest each year. She runs the Festival Book Club and has a background in guesting and presenting on talk radio shows about various literary topics. She likes words like ‘equinox’ and ‘vespa’, and loves a good pun. She’ll read anything in reach, but has a fondness for witty tussles of good vs. evil on page and screen, especially vampire fiction where a great deal is at stake. Get it? Stake? ….She’s not sorry.