Chairperson: Niall MacMonagle
How do writers face the challenge of the ‘tricky’ second novel? Are the jitters that inevitably accompany the literary debut now relegated to history? Or does the weight of expectation hang heavy on the successfully published writer? To discuss the highs and lows of the ‘follow-up’ are Irish writers John Lynch and Paul Murray.
John Lynch made his name as an actor in a series of hard-hitting films – from Cal (1984) to Some Mother's Son (1996 ). He also starred in Sliding Doors (1998) with Gwyneth Paltrow and recently played Gerry Adams in the BBC’s Mo (The Mo Mowlam Story). Yet Lynch is also an accomplished writer. Five years after his acclaimed debut Torn Water – ‘a tale of great delicacy and originality’ (Independent on Sunday) – comes Falling Out Of Heaven, a courageous story of betrayal and addiction in which one man must untangle his dark past to reclaim his future.
Paul Murray’s 'criminally underrated' (Guardian) debut, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2003. Seven long years later and the wait is finally over in the form of his brand new tragic-comic epic Skippy Dies. Set in the grand old Dublin institution of Seabrook College for Boys, this 'gigantic, marvellous, witty, heartbreaking’ (Daily Telegraph) novel wrings every drop of pathos, humour and hopelessness out of life, love, mermaids and ‘M-theory’…