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Book cover for "Northern Spy" by Flynn Berry
Viking

Flynn Berry, the Edgar Award-winning author of "Under the Harrow," has established herself as one of the best new voices in suspense. Her latest, "Northern Spy," is a thriller about the contemporary IRA, and two sisters who find themselves caught in the middle of the re-escalating sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

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Written by author and musician Larry Kirwan, Rockaway Blue, is a new novel which tells the story of a family struggling to pull itself together after an unthinkable trauma.

Larry Kirwan was the leader of New York-based Irish political rock band Black 47 for 25 years. He is author of five previous books, including, Liverpool Fantasy, A History of Irish Music, and Green Suede Shoes, and sixteen plays and musicals, including Hard Times and Rebel in the Soul.

Kirwan also hosts Celtic Crush a popular radio show on Sirius/XM.

Irish American Heritage Museuem Executive Director Elizabeth Stack from County Kerry (right) and volunteer Caroline Stark from County Derry (left)
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

Today we have a special Irish Foods edition of the show! We welcome the Executive Director of Albany’s Irish American Heritage Museum – Elizabeth Stack from Ireland’s County Kerry and Caroline Stark, a volunteer at the museum, from County Derry. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts. 

Book cover for "Love" by Roddy Doyle
Viking Publishing / Viking Publishing

In Roddy Doyle's latest novel, "Love," Joe and Davy are two old friends who meet at a Dublin pub for a night of reconnecting and hard drinking. Joe has a burning secret; Davy has a concealed sorrow. Doyle is the Booker Prize-winning author of "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" and "The Commitments."

Book cover and artwork for "The Searcher" by Tana French
Penguin/Random House / Penguin/Random House

Tana French’s first novel to feature an American protagonist and to be told in the third person, "The Searcher," brings all of French’s atmospherics and characterization to a story that plays with the traditions of suspense fiction and does not fail to keep readers guessing. The New York Times has proclaimed, “she is in a class by herself.”

Joe Donahue: Emma Donoghue's new novel "The Pull of the Stars", brings us to Dublin 1918, in a maternity ward at the height of the great flu. With the country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center where expecting mothers who have come down with influenza are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world steps two outsiders: Dr. Kathleen Lin, a rumored Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney. Over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected and profound ways. Emma Donoghue is the author of several novels including "Akin", "Landing", "The Wonder", and the international best-seller "Room", in which her screen adaptation was nominated for four Academy Awards. 

Patrick Radden Keefe, a staff writer for the New Yorker, is the author the best-selling: “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.” In it, Keefe looks at the disappearance of Jean McConville, a widowed young mother of ten children and explores the broader context of the terrorism and counterterrorism campaigns in Northern Ireland over the course of the Troubles, and what happened to the perpetrators and the victims of this crime.

Farming has been in John Connell's family for generations, but he never intended to follow in his father's footsteps. Until, one winter, after more than a decade away, he finds himself back on the farm.

Connell records the hypnotic rhythm of the farming day—cleaning the barns, caring for the herd, tending to sickly lambs, helping the cows give birth. Alongside the routine events, there are the unforeseen moments when things go wrong: when a calf fails to thrive, when a sheep goes missing, when illness breaks out, when an argument between father and son erupts and things are said that cannot be unsaid.

"The Farmer’s Son" is the story of a calving season, and the story of a man who emerges from depression to find hope in the place he least expected to find it.

Photo from The Ferryman
Joan Marcus

Fionnula Flanagan was nominated for her second Tony Award, 45 years after her first nomination, for playing “Aunt Maggie Far Away” in "The Ferryman." The play is written by Jez Butterworth and directed by Sam Mendes.

Flanagan was born and raised in Dublin and made her Broadway debut 51 years ago in a play called "Lovers." Her previous Tony nomination was for her 1974 performance in "Ulysses in Nighttown" (which was her last appearance on Broadway before "The Ferryman").

The play itself has continued to garner acclaim – it received 9 Tony nominations, tied for the most of any play this season, and overall it has received more awards nominations than any other play of the year.

Kevin Toolis is a writer and BAFTA-winning filmmaker. The author of a celebrated chronicle of Ireland's Troubles, "Rebel Hearts: Journeys within the IRA's Soul," he has written for the New York Times Magazine and The Guardian and reported on conflicts around the world. His family has lived in the same village on an island off the coast of County Mayo for the last two hundred years.

In his new book, "My Father's Wake," he describes his own father's wake and explores the wider history and significance of this ancient and eternal Irish ritual.

Jez Butterworth’s, “The Ferryman” is currently running on Broadway at The Jacobs Theatre. The New York Times review of the production called the show “... an endlessly vibrant work, directed with sweeping passion and meticulous care by Sam Mendes.” The review went on to say: “This is theater as charged and expansive as life itself.” The West End production won three Obie Awards - including Best New Play and Best Director.

Set in rural Northern Ireland in 1981, The Carney farmhouse is a hive of activity with preparations for the annual harvest. Three generations of Carney’s live in the house - a family tree with a jumble of branches connecting on this special annual event to cousins, strays, and - unwanted by most in the house - a cause with dire consequences.

Mark Lambert plays Uncle Patrick Carney - or “Uncle Pat” - a jovial storyteller and keeper of household tradition. Lambert, who has an illustrious career on the stage primarily in London and Dublin, makes his Broadway debut in "The Ferryman."

Set over the course of one week in June of 1939, the new novel The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews is a story about siblings, the joys of music, love (mutual and unrequited), and the meaning of home.

It is a New York novel, but also one of the world, of big dreams and big love and what it means to be willing to pay any price for your family. 

This episode was recorded at The Mount in Lenox, Massachusettes. 

After adopting an Irish sight hound, Laura Schenone discovers a remarkable and little-known fight to gain justice for dogs and for all animals. "The Dogs of Avalon" introduces us to the strong-willed Marion Fitzgibbon, born in rural Ireland, where animals are valued only for their utility. But Fitzgibbon believes that suffering is felt by all creatures, and she champions the cause of strays, baffling those around her - including her family - as she and a group of local women rescue any animal in need and taking on increasingly risky missions.

Laura Schenone is an award-winning author who has written "A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove" ​and "The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken." Her newest book is "The Dogs of Avalon: The Race to Save Animals in Peril."

Congressman Richard Neal
public domain / Public Domain

One the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process died recently.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, a Democrat from the first district, wraps up his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock. 

After opening to rave reviews in Dublin, Ireland, Find Your Way Home (An Irish Musical) is making its’ American debut at The Palace Theatre in Albany on July 17th. The show was written by Jeff Strange and Jimmy Kelly two musicians from Albany NY, both who are well known on the Irish music scene in the US and they have been developing the musical over the past eight years. 

Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Find Your Way Home follows an Irish family as they encounter unexpected tragedies and joys in the face of economic hardship. It's set in 1910 in the West of Ireland, post-famine and pre-uprising.

It is a pleasure to welcome James Kelly and Jeff Strange to The Roundtable.

Caitriona Lally studied English Literature in Trinity College Dublin.  She has had a colorful employment history, working as an abstract writer and a copywriter alongside working as a home helper in New York and an English teacher in Japan.

She was shortlisted for 'Newcomer of the Year' in the Irish Book Awards in 2015 for her novel, Eggshells.

Ruth Gilligan At NYSWI

Apr 13, 2017

Ruth Gilligan is an Irish novelist and journalist. With her literary fiction debut, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, she tells the story of Jewish immigrants in Ireland. The narrative gradually weaves together three main characters whose stories are set in 1901, 1958, and 2013 to reveal the unknown history of Ireland’s Jewish community. The three stories revolve around Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who accidentally arrive in Ireland, mistaking “Cork” for “New York;” a teenager who is sent to an asylum in 1950s Ireland because he hasn’t spoken since his bar mitzvah; and a contemporary Irish woman who has emigrated to London and must decide whether or not to convert to Judaism to marry her Jewish boyfriend. 

Gilligan will read from and discuss her novel at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 (tonight) in the Huxley Theatre, New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and cosponsored by the Friends of the New York State Library.

The coat of arms of Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
wikipedia.org

Pittsfield, Massachusetts is celebrating the 19th anniversary of its sister city relationship with Ballina, Ireland in County Mayo. As part of the celebration, town councillor Michael Loftus, who was recently elected mayor, is visiting the western Massachusetts city. 

The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz presents Belfast Blues, a one-woman play written and performed by Geraldine Hughes and directed by Carol Kane, with performances on Oct. 14th and 15th at 8:00 p.m. in McKenna Theatre on the New Paltz campus.

Belfast Blues is a tapestry of stories told from Hughes’ perspective as a little girl coming of age in the war-torn Belfast of the 1980s. Passionate, riveting, often humorous, these stories bear insightful witness to the many faces of “trying to live a normal life” amidst the violence born of the longstanding grudge between Catholics and Protestants.

Outside Mullingar, a play by John Patrick Shanley - the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Doubt – brings us on a journey to the farmlands of Ireland. It is now playing through October 16th at Capital Rep in Albany.

Outside Mullingar is the story of an unlikely romance between two rural, middle-aged neighbors: Anthony, an introverted farmer and Rosemary, the woman who vows to have him – at all costs.

This morning we meet two of the cast-members - Kenneth Kimmins has a major Broadway/West End resume, with stints in The Music Man and the New York and London companies of Company. On television, Ken spent nine years as series regular Howard Burleigh, on Coach. He was also being a semi-regular on Lois And Clark.

Laurie O’Brien has extensive television and film resume includes work on CSI, CSI: Miami, Detroit 1-8-7, ER, and NYPD Blue

  Colm Tóibín is one of Ireland’s foremost living novelists and journalists. His most recent novel is Nora Webster, which the Los Angeles Times said “may actually be a perfect work of fiction.”

He also wrote the novel, Brooklyn, which was made into a successful film nominated this year for an Oscar for Best Picture. 

  It’s an important anniversary in Irish history.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about the Easter Rising. 

  Growing up in the rough outskirts of northern Dublin at a time when joining the guards, the army, or the civil service was the height of most parents’ ambitions for their children, Luke Waters knew he was destined for a career in some sort of law enforcement. Dreaming of becoming a police officer, Waters immigrated to the United States in search of better employment opportunities and joined the NYPD.

In NYPD Green Waters offers a gripping and fascinating account filled with details from real criminal cases involving murder, theft, gang violence, and more, and takes you into the thick of the danger and scandal of life as a New York cop—both on and off the beat.

  It’s an important anniversary this year in Irish history.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about it. 

  On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard's only daughter--one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island--has gone missing. Tending the warden's greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl's whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search's outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

These two stories are woven together by Kristina McMorris in her book, The Edge of Lost.

  They came from the poorest parts of Ireland and Italy, and met as rivals on the sidewalks of New York. In the nineteenth century and for long after, the Irish and Italians fought in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets.

Then they made peace through romance, marrying each other on a large scale in the years after World War II. An Unlikely Union by Paul Moses unfolds the dramatic story of how two of America’s largest ethnic groups learned to love and laugh with each other in the wake of decades of animosity.

  It’s a classic story of the American Dream. George Mitchell grew up in a working class family in Maine, experiencing firsthand the demoralizing effects of unemployment when his father was laid off from a lifelong job. But education was always a household priority, and Mitchell embraced every opportunity that came his way, eventually becoming the ranking Democrat in the Senate during the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Mitchell looks back at his adventures in law and politics in his memoir, The Negotiator.

Listener Essay - My Lucky Shamrock

Mar 17, 2015

  "My Lucky Shamrock" can be found in Kevin O'Hara's book, A Lucky Irish Lad. He is also the author of Last of the Donkey Pilgrims: A Man's Journey Through Ireland.

    More than 20 years after his debut as a fiction writer, Booker Prize winning author, Roddy Doyle, returns to the man who started it all: Jimmy Rabbit.

His new novel, The Guts, is a follow up to his first novel, The Commitments – which opened this past October as a musical on London’s West End. 

Sara Krulwich/New York Times

    Outside Mullingar - a new play by John Patrick Shanley - the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of Doubt and directed by Tony-winning director Doug Hughes, is currently running at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street in New York City.

Tony winner, Brían F. O’Byrne, and Emmy winner, Debra Messing, play Anthony and Rosemary, two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that - due to his painful shyness - suits him well. Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away.

Outside Mullingar is a very Irish story with a surprising depth of poetic passion, these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way towards solid ground and hope to find some kindness and happiness.

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