Saturday, June 22, 2013

Akashic to publish Belfast Noir

Photos by your humble blogkeeper
In the best news out of Belfast since the Titanic Van Morrison, Akashic Books is adding Belfast Noir to its "City Noir" crime-fiction series.

Confirmed contributors include Glenn Patterson, Eoin McNamee, Garbhan Downey, Lee Child, Alex Barclay, Brian McGilloway, Ian McDonald, Colin Bateman, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Claire McGowan, Tammy Moore, Lucy Caldwell, Sam Millar and Gerard Brennan, with Adrian McKinty and Stuart Neville as editors who I hope will contribute stories as well.

It's the world's best crime writing in one place, and you can read it in 2014. Learn more at McKinty's place.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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17 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I like those photos. Samson and Goliath have to be on the cover I reckon. The City Hall is nice but boring, whereas the cranes really say something about the city. I once heard a tour guide say that they were used in the contruction of the Titanic which would be a good trick since they only went up in the early 70's.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Using a cover photo shot in the Entries offers the opportunity for an enigmatically silhouetted figure, de rigeur with many crime publishers. Belfast offers so many tempting visuals. So let's go with Samson and Goliath.

Shooting almost any building at night will add to its interest, especially with the sinister presence of the ferris wheel.

Maybe the tour guide meant Samson and Goliath were used in the construction of James Cameron's Titanic.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Speaking of buildings that say something about the city, Stuart Neville does well to set a number of ominous scenes in those nice red-brick houses in South Belfast. I stay in B&Bs in those houses, and I wonder now what really goes on next door.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Your talk of silhouettes reminded me of something I meant to blog about but never did. If you'll bear with me old chap...

Earlier this year I was doing the Arts Extra show on BBC Radio Ulster. As I was waiting to go in another guest in the Green Room (a film reviewer) grabbed my book (I think it was I Hear The Sirens In The Street) and mocked the silhouette on the cover. He said that he had written a piece over a decade before on how boring it was to have silhouettes on every book cover these days.

It took me about 10 seconds to recover from his rudeness and bad manners but then I asked him where he'd written this piece on silhouettes.

He said he'd done it in The Belfast Telegraph.

Dripping with sarcasm I said: And yet after receiving this message from your column on Mt Sinai - sorry, the Bel Tel - the publishing world still kept churning covers with silhouettes?

He did not reply. I then hit him with a dodgily remembered quote from Second Chronicles which had been hammered into me in BB Bible Study class, something to the effect of "Oh how they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against them and there was no remedy..."

I then explained to him the provenance of the silhouette trope in classic detective fiction and expressed surprise that his editor at the Belfast Telegraph had let him publish so uninformed an article.

He could see then that I was quite angry and went in to do his film review. I then went in to talk about my book but the little drama in the Green Room was far more interesting than any of the stuff that made it onto the air.

I told my mum and sisters about the incident when I got back to Carrick and they told me that the guy had a reputation for withering sarcasm, something I didn't see any evidence of, but I guess its easier to be sarcastic in print than when the punchy, unshaven, jet lagged object of your sarcasm is sitting opposite.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Just for that, when I get home I'll post my shot to two women silhouetted in one of the Belfast Entries.

I quite like the idea of you beating the crap out of the ill mannered fellow guest: Two creative types go into a green room, one celebrated for his cutting wit, the other pissed-off, unshaven, and jet lagged. Which of the two comes out alive?

I scrolled down the first page of my blog looking for silhouettes. I found two, in addition to the sort-of-silhouette on the U.S. edition of I Hear the Sirens in the Street. But probably the most memorable silhouette of the past sixty years is not from a book cover, but rather John Wayne framed in a doorway in The Searchers. Can you think of a better one?

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My shot "of" two women, that is.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, I misremembered the picture. The women's faces are visible, so no silhouette. Sorry.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

Okay, here is a bizarre question. Do Irish writers feel uncomfortable about writing in English? When I consider the 800 years of English domination of an indigenous people, I wonder if there remains pressure to avoid English and return to Gaelic. (I just finished reading again about Elizabethan policies extermination in the 16th century, and I am again appalled at English behaviors toward the Irish.) In this era of post-colonial literary criticism, this question is perhaps not as weird as it first seems. BTW, Indian authors, African authors, and others have similarly struggled with this dilemma.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My guess is that English is so engrained in those writers as to have become transparent to them. English is their language as much as any language can be anybody's. I know a number of Irish authors, and I've only ever heard one of them speak Irish. Others know no more than elementary phrases and expressions, as far as I know.

Flann O'Brien wrote in English as well as Irish. Oscar Wilde wrote English. James Joyce wrote English, or something like it. When Samuel Beckett wanted to quit English, he wrote in French.

Elizabeth II visits Ireland. The English rugby team plays at Croke Park in Dublin. David Cameron comes to Derry and apologizes for the 1972 Bloody Sunday. So no, I'm guessing language is an issue to few Irish writers these days.

As for using the language of the oppressor, I have quoted the Algerian writer Kateb Yacine, who said he wrote in French to let the French know he was not French.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

I was being a bit provocative in my question. Just a bit of fun. Thank you though for the history lesson. Cheers!

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You were doing what our Irish friends call taking the piss!

I'd had language matters on my mind, having just returned from Brittany. I asked one of the locals about the state of competence in the Breton language. She said she knew of one person who spoke it. Yet public signs are bilingual, Breton and French.

In Ireland, of course, there are Irish-speaking areas ("gaeltachts"). One of the writers with whom I raised a glass had just visited his daughter at the Gaelic summer camp she attended. And I spent a few hours touring Croke Park and visiting the Gaelic Athletic Association museum, ample evidence that the Irish have ways other than language to express cultural pride and nationalism.

Even the folks who had attacked road signs outside Derry when I was there a few years ago were content to spray paint out the London in Londonderry. They did not alter the remainder to Doire.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

The guy had a friend with him and I think the purpose of the encounter was to show his friend what a fine witty fellow he was. And in fairness he couldnt have predicted that the person he was practicing upon was a jet lagged, pissed off, Bible quoting maniac spoiling for trouble after a series of travel and professional mishaps.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

RT

No Hiberno-English or Ulster-English is the effective demotic, Irish is very much a minority tongue.

In Wales its a different story. Up to 1/4 of the population speak Welsh as a first language. In Ireland its about 1/20. In Scotland its about 1/100 who speak Gaelic as a first language.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I'm not sure the guy deserves fairness, whatever his intent. I've always believed that if I am going to insult someone, I should have the decency to do it behind his back, especially if the person is a stranger. He ought to have picked another target for his wit. If your skin took on a strange sheen and you started muttering about a tooth for a tooth, the bastard would have deserved what he got.

June 22, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In re Hiberno-English, I have noticed and enjoyed the touches of Kiltartanese in Lady Gregory's versions of the Irish myths. Now I have to read Joyce taking the piss out of Yeats for writing in the introduction to Lady Gregory's collection of Cuchulain stories that "I think this book is the best that has come out of Ireland in my time."

June 22, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

I believe I listened to that BBC Ulster program so I'm pretty sure I heard the film critic, but probably fortunately don't remember anything about him.

The digs people seem to take at Adrian about crime writing or other things that have nothing to do with his own writing reminds me a bit of certain friends of mine who people always seem to have unsolicited advice for. I'm always astonished at the audacity, as it's just not my experience that people come up and do that to me.

June 23, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Poor Adrian is just a schmuck magnet.

A good friend of mine who has one child used to be astonished at the audacity of relative strangers who would ask her if she planned to have another.

June 23, 2013  

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