Hard to believe it’s November in a couple of days, always one of the busiest times in the Irish literary calendar. Thursday sees the launch of the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards shortlists which we’ll publish on these pages next Sunday. The awards continue to grow: last year a poetry prize was added and the 2017 lists, recognising the enduring importance of literature for young people, have expanded the children’s section to embrace junior, senior and young adult. The gala dinner takes place on Tuesday November 28 and will be broadcast in a fab new prime time slot at 9.30 the following night on RTE 1.
This Thursday is also opening day of the Dublin Book Festival. Now in its eleventh year, the DBF is a week-long celebration of Irish writers and publishing, running the gamut of genres from literary fiction, politics and business through poetry, children’s books and illustration. Most events take place in Smock Alley Theatre with ancillary happenings in the Botanic Gardens, The Gutter Bookshop and the National Library. Check out their really vibrant, ambitious programme featuring a stellar list of attendees at dublinbookfestival.com
Finally, a brace of new documentaries for book lovers. Ex Libris: New York Public Library is a riveting look within the walls of this venerable institution. Directed by Frederick Wiseman, it has been collecting laurels on the international film festival circuit. And last Tuesday Netflix released Joan Didion: The Centre Will Not Hold, an absorbing portrait of the creator of The Year of Magical Thinking, made by her nephew actor Griffin Dunne, son of that other great chronicler of American life, Dominick.