Today with Sean O'Rourke

Today with Sean O'Rourke

Monday - Friday at 10am

todaysor@rte.ie

Books

Wednesday 28th October

1916 Centenary: The Handbook of the Irish Revival

With our eye on the centenary of 1916 next year, it's a good time to look at the state of Ireland before the Rising, and if we look at those decades, one of the key ideas to emerge was that the Irish had lost the ability to be cultural innovators and instead had become slavish imitators of all things British - the 'West Briton' syndrome diagnosed by Douglas Hyde. In many ways the Irish Cultural Revival was an attempt to address this and to promote new modes of thinking in Ireland. 

In this moment new options presented themselves: either to turn to France with its radical republican politics and experimental art or to reconnect with the buried energies of the Irish language. 

These are some of the themes explored in The Handbook of the Irish Revival, recently published by the Abbey Theatre Press and in the months leading up to the centenary we will talk to its authors Declan Kiberd and PJ Matthews about the changing political temperature in Ireland leading up to 1916...

Today, PJ Matthews one of the authors was joined by Barry Barnes and Cathy Belton to look at Ireland in the early phases of the Literary Revival.

Tuesday 27th October

Book: The Scrap

As Easter 1916 neared thousands of Irish people were looking forward to what many called 'The Scrap' - the day when the military action replace marches, meetings and drills. 

Survivors of the rising later gave researchers vivid accounts of what they had done and seen and heard during a week of fighting that left 450 people dead, thousands injured and the centre of Dublin in ruins.

Writer Gene Kerrigan has woven these accounts into a book called 'The Scrap' and he joined Sean this morning. 

Book Club: The Kind Worth Killing

Two strangers meet on a flight; after a few drinks, one reveals that his wife is having an affair and he would like to kill her. The woman says she will help him do it and so begins a rollercoaster story of twists and coincidences that lead to revenge and murder, ..that’s the premise of The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, our book club choice for this month.

To review our book choice this month we had Paul Williams, Best seller author and Crime journalist, Irish Independent, broadcaster Maxi, Natasha Fennell of Stillwater Communications and John O’Keeffe, Criminologist and Forensic Psychologist in studio.

And to coincide with the release of the movie, Brooklyn, we’ve decided to go back to the book that inspired the film, our book club choice for the month of November will be Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.

Eilis Lacey has grown up in a small town in Ireland, but when she gets the chance to go and live in a Brooklyn neighbourhood, she goes, leaving behind her mother and sister. But as she settles in to her new life, she receives devastating news from home that threatens her future in America.

So, If you’ve never read Brooklyn, now is your chance, we will be discussing the book at the end of November and we would love to hear from you then.

Thursday 22nd October

Book: 1916 – The Mornings After

Almost 50 years since his pioneering book Ireland Since The Rising, historian and journalist Tim Pat Coogan casts his eye over our past century of nation-building against the backdrop of the forthcoming centenary in his new book 1916: The Mornings After - From the Courts Martial to the Tribunals. In it he tells the story of the traumatic aftermath of the Rising, and of the emergence of two Irish states from the embers of conflict. Taking a strongly personal perspective he charts the subsequent decades marked as much by complacency, corruption and institutional abuse, as they are by the sacrifices and achievements of the Republic's founding fathers.

Tim Pat Coogan’s book is called 1916 – The Mornings After: From the Courts Martial to the Tribunals. It is published by Head of Zeus and priced at €22.50.

Thursday 15th October

Book: The Whistle Blower

The Irish rugby squad is, as we speak, doing everything they can to make it to a World Cup final, but one Irish man has already been there and done that.I

In studio this morning was Alain Rolland, one of the most successful rugby referees of all time, who went from 40 Leinster appearances and 3 Ireland caps to a career holding the whistle, culminating in taking charge of the 2007 World Cup final in France.

His new book The Whistleblower, covering this fascinating career, and published by Hero Books, is out now.

Wednesday 14th October

Book: In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom

Yeonmi is twenty three years old and in 2007, she escaped from North Korea with her mother and sister. 

As we know, North Korea is a poor isolated country where people struggle to survive under a regime that feeds propaganda to its citizens instead of food.

Yeonmi has just published her autobiography entitled  In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom.

While her English is a little hard to understand initially, hers is an extraordinary story of courage.

Friday 9th October

Snapshots - Michael O'Higgins

One of the country’s leading barristers, he has represented a diverse range of clients from gangland criminals like John Gilligan to politicians like Ivor Callely and top bankers like Sean Fitzpatrick. 

And Senior Counsel, Michael O’Higgins has another side to him, he is an award-winning short story writer who has just published his first novel, Snapshots. Michael joined Sean in studio this morning.

Wednesday 7th October

Book: Tennison

Detective Chief Inspector - Jane Tennison was immortalised on the small screen by Helen Mirren in the awarding winning TV series, Prime Suspect.

But it was author Lynda La Plante who created the character of Tennison many years ago and while the TV character has disappeared from our screens battling alcoholism, ageism and faces retirement, La Plante has brought Tennison back in her new novel, simply called ‘Tennison’.

Lynda La Plante joined Sean this morning.

Read More on Lynda here.

Friday 2nd October

Packie Bonner - The Last Line

Nobody has shaped or been closer to the big moments in Irish football over the past 30 years more than my next guest.

With 80 caps for the Republic of Ireland, not to mention the pivotal role he played in our World Cup glory days, Packie Bonner is a true soccer hero.

In his new autobiography, The Last Line: My Autobiography, Packie shares stories from his time on and off the pitch.

And it’s hard to believe but it’s twenty five years since Packie Bonner entered the Irish sporting history books.

Packie Bonner joined Sean this morning.

Packie Bonner’s book ‘The Last Line: My Autobiography’ is written with Gerard McDade and published by Ebury Press. 

And Packie will be signing copies of his book in Easons O’Connell Street, Dublin at 12 noon Saturday Oct 3rd.

Tuesday 29th September

Book Club: Purity

Time again for our book club and this month’s book is the latest novel by Jonathan Franzen, Purity.

In 2010, Time Magazine anointed him The Great American Novelist and Franzen’s previous novels, Corrections and Freedom have topped best sellers lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Joining Sean to discuss Purity and whether Franzen lives up to expectation was author John Connolly, broadcaster Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, Mary McEvoy and Artistic Director of The Gate, Michael Colgan.

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