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The Trib: Highlights from The Sunday Tribune

Writing.ie | Magazine | General Interest | Interviews | Non-Fiction

By Vanessa O'Loughlin

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Compiled and conceived by journalist Dave Kenny, and with a forward bySunday Tribune editor Nóirín Hegarty The Trib is a landmark book published by Y Books, the cutting edge Irish publishing house led by dynamic team Chenile Keogh and Robert Doran.

The Trib is one of those books that every Irish household should have, a combination of the best articles from one of Ireland’s most popular Irish Sunday newspapers, written by many of the shining stars of Irish journalism and literature. There is something for everyone in this collection as the paper’s former journalists choose an eclectic mix of their favourite pieces from Hegarty’s six years as Editor. They draw on the Tribune’s celebrated news, analysis, arts and sports pages – and for the first time in book form you can read John Boyne’s beautifully crafted short fiction columns – to give a truly entertaining and thought-provoking picture of twenty-first century Ireland.

The Sunday Tribune was a powerful and challenging voice until its closure in February 2011. Over its thirty years at the heart of Irish life, The Trib built a reputation for fearless, entertaining and stylish journalism. It set political agendas and was home to some of the country’s top opinion formers. Frequently stimulating national debate, it was the thinking person’s Sunday newspaper.

For writers, The Sunday Tribune’s New Irish Writing section, edited by Ciaran Carty, was more than a landmark, it was a launch pad. Since its establishment in 1971, the Hennessy Literary Award – the shortlist formed by Carty’s monthly selection – has been a platform for an exciting new generation of first-time and emerging writers, including some of Ireland’s greatest literary names: Dermot Bolger,Joseph O’ConnorPatrick McCabeColum McCannFrank McGuinness, Anne Enright, Hugo Hamilton and Neil Jordan. Shortlisted too, was Writing.ie’s guest blogger at Random Acts of Optimism Alison Wells (watch this space!)

At a recent Irish PEN evening (covered by the writing.ie From The Front Row blog), Joseph O’Connor told a packed room how important Ciaran Carty and The Sunday Tribune had been to his career: “I moved to London and gave myself three years to make it as a writer… I sent four short stories to Ciaran Carty’s New Irish Writing, and a month before those three years were up, I got a letter from him saying that three were rubbish, but one of them he liked…well I can tell you, there wasn’t a happier man in London that night…”

The Trib has been compiled by Dave Kenny, who has been a journalist for over 25 years. Dave has worked for the Irish Press Group, the Evening News, Evening Herald, RTE and the Sunday Tribune, and he’s written three bestselling books to date: The Little Buke of Dublin (Or How To Be A Real Dub), Erindipity The Irish Miscellany and Erindipity Rides Again. He’s also author and co-originator of the Trad book/CD series, The Brilliant Irish Flute/The Inish Turk Beg Sessions (Warner Music).

A dabbler in poetry and music, he says “In March 2011 I floated the idea for this book with Y Books. How about a compilation of best bits from Noirin Hegarty’s tenure as editor? The timeframe would be 2005 to 2011, six of the most eventful years in recent history. We would ask the writers to choose four of their favourite articles. ‘I’ll whittle them down into a book,’ I said. It sounded so straightfoward at the time.

‘Soon my desktop was groaning under the weight of several hundred thousand words. Having such a wealth of top quality material made the read-through one of the most enjoyable tasks imaginable. Having finite space made the editing process one of the most painful. Inclusion was eventually based on striking the right balance between human interest, anaylsis and humour….”

In the editor’s note in The Trib, Kenny tells readers ‘An ink veined editor once told me: ‘Great journalism is no guarantee of success – or survival in the newspaper business’. He then claimed it was my round, told me I was fired (although I didn’t work for him) and ordered me to phone him a cab home. Whatever about the round, he was right about journalism…”

Kenny describes The Trib as “a kind of emotional bookmark – something that will prompt you to say: ‘Oh I’d forgotten about that,’ and remind you of a moment or a buried feeling. Hopefully it will engross you enough to make you miss your bus stop.

‘The Trib is dedicated to the only person who matters in the production of a newspaper: you, the reader, without whom we wouldn’t exist. Or get paid. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.”

All at writing.ie have thoroughly enjoyed it – and we’ll be giving you snippets and excerpts from this superb collection over the coming weeks….if you are stuck for a gift, this book is your answer.Featuring prize-winning photography from Mark Condren, The Trib revisits some of the most insightful and provocative journalism from a turbulent and fascinating period in Irish life.

About the author

© Vanessa O’Loughlin Aug 2011

For more information, and to get your own copy of The Trib, check out YBooks website, or hop over to our competitions page!

Follow Dave Kenny on Twitter @davekenny and check out #thetrib.

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