The Book Show Saturday 7 October 2017

The Book Show

The Book Show

This week on The Book Show, Sinéad Gleeson speaks to the UK poet Hollie McNish about her new collection Plum.

The Book Show, Saturday 7th October

The week on The Book Show Sinéad Gleeson speaks to the UK poet Hollie McNish who recently published her latest collection of poetry, Plum.

The collection received a lot of attention because McNish included some verse which she wrote when she was a child and a teenager. She says that in some cases the earlier poems don’t differ from what she’s writing about today in terms of metre and theme but that also her decision to include them came about because many of her adult poems explore the nature of shame and self-consciousness.

McNish’s poetry deals honestly about everyday issues such as menstruation, STDs and sexuality but she says that these are often banished from open discussion.

She speaks about how forming her collection was influenced by having a daughter of her own and she reads two poems from the new collection.

Hollie McNish, Plum

Liam Geraghty speaks to three ghostwriters about their job and their relationship with the people whose book they are writing. The role of the ghostwriter is to be invisible, not to inject their own opinions and to be sensitive to the stories they are putting into print - which can often include difficult subject matter. Through this they develop a sometimes intense relationship with their subjects and the role is often a very rewarding one.

Sinéad speaks to the former UK Home Secretary Alan Johnson who, after leaving politics, realized a long held ambition of becoming a writer. He has recently published his 3rd memoir, The Long and Winding Road. It chronicles his time in the Trade Union and his entry into Westminster with Tony Blair’s landslide in 1997.

His first memoir, That Boy, detailed a poverty-stricken childhood, how alan’s father walked out on the family, his mother’s death when he was still a young boy and how his older sister successfully lobbied Social Services to provide her and her young brother with a council flat, rather than separating them both.

It won him enormous praise and awards and has encouraged him to continue writing. He reads a passage from his latest book where he is introduced to ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and, unusually for a politician, he remains utterly tongue-tied.

Sinéad with Alan Johnson

'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

Music Played on the Show

Paper Planes

Paper Planes





Alexander Desplat


Mood Alabama




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Presenter: Sinead Gleeson


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