Four of the winners (L to R): Miguel Barrero, Sofía Rhei, José María Espinar and David Llorente. Photo: Adela MacSwiney. One of the best attended annual gatherings of Spanish-language writers anywhere is held in Gijón, in northern Spain, and every year they unveil their pick of newly published books by their peers. The Semana Negra (“Noir Week”) prizes have no major sponsors or money attached, just the enormous prestige they have gathered in 30 editions of the festival, to which one million people flock every summer. In keeping with the festival’s tradition of eliminating what it sees as false boundaries between high- and low-brow literature, the prizes cover a number of categories which are entertaining yet thought-provoking, original and informative. Here are the five prize-winners from the 2017 festival whose books would make great holiday reading this summer: David Llorente The jewel in the crown is the Hammett Prize for best crime … [Read more...] about Five Spanish authors you should read this summer
I PICKED up The Scottish Sun on Friday and I was sure someone had made a glaring mistake, unlikely as that may seem.But on the back page was a picture of a bloke I didn’t recognise next to a story about my old mate Bobby Williamson.Although I read his name, I struggled to put two and two together because surely there was no way this was the same guy who had become such a well-known face in Scottish football over more than two decades.When the penny finally dropped, my heart sank and I held my head in my hands.The former Kilmarnock and Hibs boss, who now lives in Kenya after spells managing champions Gor Mahia and the national team, was diagnosed with cancerous cells in his nasal cavity in the summer.He’s lost almost two stones in weight after gruelling radiotherapy and chemotherapy — and is also suffering from diabetes.But then I remembered something that will stand this terrific bloke in good stead.Bobby is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met and, if anyone … [Read more...] about Bobby Williamson is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met – if you’re reading this I’m behind you mate
ENOUGH is enough! The nonsense has gone too far, they’ve taken away our chocolate bar.We were talking on the radio this week about the humble selection box.And judging by the reaction we got, Irish people hold them in the same Christmas tradition esteem they hold meeting their old friends in their ‘growing up’ local on Christmas Eve.I might as well bring you the shocking news straight away . . .The Curly Wurly is gone from that slab of sugary goodness that you have come to expect in your Christmas stocking. Not only that, Cadbury has replaced it and a few other regulars with some imposters such as a Dairy Milk Oreo — Oreo being part of Kraft Foods’ overall company portfolio.Stick a Flake in me, I’m done? Yeah, they’ve done away with the Flake in the box too. I am aware of the retro-style box Cadbury is offering. But it’s just a few large bars of chocolate — if there isn’t a Fudge inside, well Fudge … [Read more...] about Cadbury, if you’re reading this column, give us back the proper selection box as you found it, please?
IF YOU'VE booked a Christmas holiday to Florida, Mexico or the Caribbean then you may be worried about travelling to the area.Hurricanes have wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and Florida, while Mexico has been hit by a devastating earthquake, so you may be looking to cancel your plans to search for the winter sun.If you've booked your holiday through a travel operator then it's worth contacting them to see what their policy is."If you decide not to travel to the destination, call your operator directly who may be able to help you make alternative arrangements," said Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which represents insurance firms."Where alternative travel arrangements are made, you can usually transfer your travel insurance to cover new dates."It's still early days, but some travel firms have already provided guidance to customers if you can't stay at your hotel because it's been hit.Virgin Holidays is assuring customers that they will provide … [Read more...] about Have you booked a Caribbean Christmas getaway? Then you NEED to read this
Back to the retro-future: Kevin Barry's "City of Bohane" This book is set in 2053, in the wild retro-future city of Bohane, somewhere beyond the big no man's land along a river in the western part of Ireland. Clan chief Logan Hartnett witnesses its decline when his old enemy Gant Broderick returns to the city. It's an antirealist novel, writes Kevin Barry in the epilogue. The inspirations he also quotes transpire throughout his work: Authors like Anthony Burgess, Cormac McCarthy, and James Joyce, Limerick and Cork accents, HBO television series, films and comics. If you are not into this kind of pop culture, this book is probably not for you. I found Barry's linguistic creativity incredibly entertaining. Recommended by Sabine Peschel: Kevin Barry, "City of Bohane," Graywolf Press. New York's underworld in the 1950's: Sara Gran's "Dope" Sara Gran's "Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead" made me addicted to Claire DeWitt's adventures - modestly described by the author as one of … [Read more...] about 4 books to read this summer