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Irrgrønn: Celebration of Contemporary Irish Literature in Oslo

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From The Front Row

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Irrgrønn is a celebration of contemporary Irish literature taking place in the Litteraturhuset, Oslo March 14th -15th 2014 (www.litteraturhuset.no ).

‘Irrgrønn’ is the greenish shade that copper turns over time. The name was chosen as a reference to the recent convulsive period in Irish history.  The country has moved through a period of Celtic Tiger extravagance and ostentation, on to an economic crisis, and is now emerging as a more reflective society,  just as  copper begins as a superficially alluring substance, decays with time, and finally emerges with a more complex and interesting colour: Irrgrønn

Eight of the leading voices in Irish Literature will read from their work and discuss how the recent changes in Irish society are being reflected in its literature.  They will also be joined by Norwegian authors, including Kjersti Skomsvold, to discuss the relationship between Irish and Norwegian culture and literary traditions.

The Festival programme is an array of workshops, book launches, readings , book signings , literary suppers, poetry and music.  Also programmed is a superb family element, including a screening of the much loved “Lost & Found” animation by Northern Irish Artist Oliver Jeffers and a “beastly drawing”  workshop with Irish illustrator and author Chris Judge.

The Programme:

The festival opens on Friday the 14th of March with Belinda McKeon and Donal Ryan reading from their work followed by Paul Lynch and Aifric Campell.  All authors will discuss their work in conversation with John Kelly, Irelands best known television and radio arts broadcaster and a novelist in his own right.

On Saturday the 15th of March John Kelly´s latest novel, From Out of the City, will be launched by Kjersti Skomsvold. He and Kjersti will be in conversation with Belinda Mc Keon, discussing their new work and delving into the festival theme of the cultural and literary cross-overs between Norway and Ireland.

Irrgrønn closes on Saturday evening with Booker Prize winner Anne Enright and Eimear McBride in conversation with John Kelly.

Throughout the weekend there will be workshops for adults and children, informal side discussions and performances.

Check www.irrgrønn.com for a detailed programme

 The Writers:

Anne Enright won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Gathering (2007)

Her other works  include: The Forgotten Waltz; Yesterday’s Weather; Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood and The Portable Virgin.

Her other awards include 2010 Irish  Book of the Decade, Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards for  The Gathering and  The Whitbread Novel Award for `What Are You Like?`

Belinda Mc Keon´s  debut novel Solace won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was named Irish Book of the Year 2011. She teaches at Barnard College, New York and works as an arts journalist, publishing in the New York Times, the Guardian and the Paris Review.  Her second novel is due out in 2015

Donal Ryan’s debut novel, `The Spinning Heart` was first rejected 48 times before finding a publisher. It subsequently won overall Book of the Year at the 2012 Irish Book Awards. Donal’s second novel, The Thing About December, became a bestseller on its release in October 2013 and was shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year Awards. His two books currently occupy first and seventh place in the Irish bestseller list.

Paul Lynch is the author of the critically acclaimed novel `Red Sky in Morning` and has been hailed as a major new talent by authors such as Sebastian Barry, Colum McCann and Daniel Woodrell.  His debut novel sparked a bidding war between six of the largest U.K publishing houses.

Aifric Campell  spent thirteen years as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. Her third novel, `On the Floor`, is set in the financial markets and was long listed for the International Orange Prize 2012. She holds a PhD in Critical & Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and teaches at Imperial College, London.

John Kelly is a novelist and Ireland´s best loved arts broadcaster. His published works include The Little Hammer and Sophisticated Boom Boom (both Jonathan Cape). His short stories have appeared in The Stinging Fly and various anthologies. A radio play The Pipes was broadcast in 2013 by RTE and his novel From Out of the City is published by Dalkey Archive in March 2014.

Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold made her literary debut in 2009 with the novel `Jo fortere jeg går, jo mindre er jeg` (The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am). The book was nominated for the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize, the P2-listeners’ Novel Prize and won the Tarjei Vesaas’ Debutant Prize  It was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013. A dramatised version is now showing  at the National Theatre, Oslo. In 2012 Skomsvold published her second novel, Monstermenneske (Monsterhumans). It was shortlisted for the P2-listeners’ Novel Prize and Natt & Dag’s Best Book of 2012. She has recently released a collection of poetry, `Litt trist matematikk`. Kjersti was writer in residence at the Irish Writers centre, Dublin in 2012.

Eimear McBride grew up in the west of Ireland. Her first novel ‘A Girl is a Half-formed Thing‘ has been met with much acclaim and was the recipient of the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize. “The authors use of language is so unique, so instantly inimitable that `McBridean` deserves to be an adjective.” Toby Lichtig, New Humanist.

The Organisers:

Festival directors Dr. Sam McManus and Claire McAree are both from Ireland and currently live in Oslo.  They care passionately about the arts in Ireland and in Norway and are on a mission to promote the exchange of ideas between the two countries.

Irrgrønn is generously funded by Culture Ireland , Fritt Ord and the DFA Ireland.

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