The Book Show Saturday 8 February 2014

The Book Show

The Book Show

Presented by Sinead Gleeson The Book Show celebrates books and the world of writing with readings, discussion, author interviews and special features

JP Donleavy

JP Donleavy

Almost 60 years ago, James Patrick Donleavy published what is now regarded as both a cult and classic Irish novel, in The Ginger Man.

It was the beginning of a long life as a writer, and his work includes Fairy Tales of New York, The Onion Eaters, The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B and The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms. The Book Show went to visit him at Levington - his house just outside Mullingar - where he discussed his love of boxing, friendship with Brendan Behan and his long career as a writer.

Want to read more Donleavy:

The Ginger Man (Novel) Olympia Press, Paris 1955
Fairy Tales of New York (Play),  Penguin, UK 1961 | Random House, New York 1961
A Singular Man (Novel) Atlantic-Little, Brown, Boston 1963
Meet My Maker the Mad Molecule (Stories & Sketches) Atlantic-Little, Brown, Boston 1964
A Singular Man (Play) The Bodley Head, UK 1965
The Saddest Summer of Samuel S (Novella) Delacorte Press, New York 1966
The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (Novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1968
The Onion Eaters (Novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1971
The Plays of JP Donleavy Delacorte Press, New York 1972
A Fairy Tale of New York (Novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1973
J.P. Donleavy: The Plays Penguin, UK 1974
The Unexpurgated Code... (Nonfiction) Delacorte Press, New York 1975
The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman (Novel) Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA 1977
Schultz (Novel) Delacorte Press, New York 1979
Leila (Novel) Franklin Library, Franklin Center, Pennsylvania 1983
De Alfonce Tennis... (a Legend) Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1984
J.P. Donleavy's Ireland... (Nonfiction) Viking, NY, 1986 | Michael Joseph, London 1986
Are You Listening Rabbi Löw (Novel) Viking, London 1987
A Singular Country (Nonfiction) Peterborough - Ryan, UK 1989
That Darcy, That Dancer, That Gentleman (Novel) Viking, London 1990
The History of the Ginger Man (Nonfiction) Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1994 | Viking, London 1994
The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms (Novella) Thornwillow Press, US 1995
An Author and His Image (Collected Short Pieces-Nonfiction) Viking, London 1997
Wrong Information is Being Given Out at Princeton (Novel) Thomas Dunn-St. Martins Press, New York| Viking, London 1998

All of the above list comes from the excellent website on Donleavy and his work:


Can reading literary fiction make you smarter?

Can reading literary fiction make you smarter?

Danielle Steele or Chekov? We talk to the authors of a new book which claims that reading literary over commercial fiction can actually make you smarter and improve our sense of empathy. Writer and broadcaster and avid reader Manchan Magan and Dan Hurley the author of Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power join Sinead to discuss the benefits of reading.

Readers: Elva Trill and Zbyszek Zalinski

Guest: Emanuele Castanos – You can find out more about his scientific study into reading here:


And Regan Hutchins finds out about Virginia Andrews' Ghost Writer in this week’s footnote.

The Book Show

We visit JP Donleavy at his home where he discusses his love of boxing, friendship with Brendan Behan and his long career as a writer. We also talk to the authors of a new book which claims that reading literary over commercial fiction can actually make you smarter and improve our sense of empathy.

'Dear Character' Competition Update

Thanks to everyone who has sent a letter to a character as part of our Dear Character competition. We have been delighted by the response and have drawn up a shortlist of letters which we have sent to our judge, the Laureate for Irish Fiction, Anne Enright.

She will choose a winning letter and this will be read at our special episode which will be recorded in Smock Alley theatre in Dublin on October 21st 2017.

The winning entry will also win a €250 book token.

At our Smock Alley show we will be reading excerpts from some of the letters. The winning letter will be published online on our RTÉ web page after the broadcast.

Sinéad Gleeson will be in conversation with Lisa McInerney, Anne Enright and Paul Howard. We’ll have music by singer Lisa O’Neill and readings from some of our letters to characters by actors Derbhle Crotty and Dermot Magennis.

The show is now sold out but it will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday October 28th, 7-8pm.

A full list of those writers whose letters have been shortlisted is below - congratulations to all:

Character: Anna Livia Plurabelle 
Writer: Holly Furey
From: Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Character: Auggie Pullman
Writer: Keeva Holloway
From: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Character: Anna Arkadyevna Karenina
Writer: Lev Nikolayevich (Eoin Shaughnessy)
From: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Character: Bobby Mahon
Writer: Rebecca Ivory
From: The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

Character: Captain Ahab
Writer: Stephen Phelan
From: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Character: George Smiley
Writer: Karen McCormack
From: Various George Smiley novels by John LeCarré

Character: Gregor Samsa 
Writer: Bernard Mahon 
From: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Character: Holden Caulfield
Writer: Aoife Kavanagh
From: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Character: June
Writer: Anita Fennelly
From: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Character:  Mr. Toad 
Writer: Liam Cahill; 
From: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Character: Nora Webster, 
Writer: Shelley Tracey, 
From: Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

Character: Raskolnikov
Writer: Sylvia (AKA- Mark Dennehy)
From: Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Character: Robinson Crusoe
Writer: Klara Golez
From: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Character: Rosaleen Madigan 
Writer: Marion O’Donnell (Miriam Hurley)
From: The Green Road by Anne Enright

Character: ‘She’
Writer: Papa (Stephen Wade)
From: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Character: Voldemort
Writer: Claudia Rose-Mohan
From: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

The Book Show

Presented by Sinead Gleeson, The Book Show is where we get to know a bit more about the books you love and talk about what you could be reading over the next few months.

Writers and publishers will talk stories, books and the world of writing and we’ll have readings, reports and regular items. The Book Show will bring you the best in international and Irish authors, with weekly discussions, interviews, features and literary trivia.

If there’s anything you’d like to hear covered on the show or have any comments to make, why not get in touch and you’ll find us on twitter @bookshowrte and on Facebook.

Sinead Gleeson Photo credit: Annie Atkins



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Presenter: Sinead Gleeson


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