Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Art for Alexandra Auction

I'm just popping in quickly to mention the post below from fellow author Celine Kiernan. It speaks (quite eloquently) for itself so if anyone is interested...

In 2009, Alexandra Trotsenko, a Russian artist living in Ireland, had her fingers cut off. This happened during the course of a vicious knife attack in her own home. The attacker has since been jailed for 16 years, but without expensive surgery, Alexandra will not draw again. Many artists in the Irish community have come together to donate our work to a special charity auction, hoping to pay for the prosthesis which may help Alexandra resume her career. This Art for Alexandra auction is on the 27th of November (this Sunday coming)

With the permission of my UK/US publishers Orbit, I will be donating my personal copy of the signed limited edition Moorehawke print that Orbit commissioned last year.

As part of the same lot I am also donating a signed copy of the 2008 special limited print run of the Irish first edition of The Poison Throne.

This is the very first printing of The Poison Throne and the one that has the lovely gold embossed covers that fold out into a map.

The artwork will be signed and framed and both it and the book are up for bids as LOT 158 with all the other donated art at Adams Auction house in Blackrock on November 27th 2011. Remember there is no lower limit to any of the bids, the idea is to raise as much money as possible so bid whatever you can because all of it will go towards getting Alexandra back to work. Even if you cannot bid, please support this great cause by tweeting or facebooking it – spread the word.

You can contact Adams Auction house for details of the auction or you can donate directly to

ACCOUNT NO. 70546818
SORT CODE 90 13 51


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I'm Sorry But...

every time I see this poster on a streetlamp

this is what I actually see

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Third Pig on Tour

October is Children's Book Month in Ireland and that can only mean one thing...Bookfest. Writers, storytellers, musicians, artists and all other manner of amazing folk will descend on libraries during the month to be all writerly, artistic and musical.

I got involved last year and had a blast. Seemingly I didn't embarrass myself too much either because they've asked me to come back and do some more visits this October.

So then, where shall I be?

I start off in Dublin for a day, courtesy of South Dublin County Libraries. Check out their programme here:

Monday 10th October

10am Castletymon Library

Mid-day Clondalkin Library
Monastery Road

I'm then back in my home county of Clare again for two days. Their programme for the month is here.

Thursday 13th October:

11:00 am Kilrush Library
O'Gorman Street

1:00pm Kildysart Library

Friday 14th October

11:00am Tulla Library
The Market House

1:00pm Scariff Library
Mountshannon Road

I wrap up my tour in Kildare with a whopping six visits over two days:

Wednesday 19th October

9.30am Athy Library
Emily Square

11.15am Newbridge Library
Athgarvan Road

2pm Naas Town Library
Basin Street

Thursday 20th October

9.45am Maynooth Library
Main St,

11.15am Leixlip Library
Captain's Hill
Co. Kildare

1.15pm Celbridge Library
St. Patrick's Park

Do pop in and say hello if you're around. And if you're not, do check out what events are running in your own local library and visit them instead. They're awfully nice people.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Want to Win a Book? Course you do!

The rather excellent Celine Kiernan has a new YA book coming out in September. If anyone fancies snaffling a free signed copy of Into the Grey, along with a signed flat of the Australian cover then do go here and give it a lash...

You know you want to (and it'll be worth it, trust me)

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Some Bits and Pieces

So, where are we then?

Well, I've just finished the latest round of edits on The Curds and Whey Mystery (the third Third Pig Detective Novel). They've gone back to the publisher for excising and dismembering so we'll see how that goes. The editing process is an interesting one, Frequently the editor comes up with great ideas that most definitely make the story better and this was no exception. Once the story was tweaked to incorporate the changes - especially in the closing stages of the book - I could see a marked improvement. Hopefully His Lordship Mr Editor will concur!

I'm also looking forward to seeing what they'll do with the cover.

I've also done some reviews and interviews for Inis Magazine, which is a CBI publication. Here are some of the links and one-line summaries for those of you who may be interested:

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon not as good as it should have been

The Great Space Race by Joshua Mowll - a fun read

The Dead by Charlie Higson - and I loved this one!!

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman a disappointing entry in the Fantasy genre

Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis - a cracking horror story.

The Magnificent 12: The Call by Michael Grant - a good laugh

Regular readers (all two of you) will know I'm a huge Darren Shan fan so I was thrilled to get an opportunity to interview him. The results can be seen here.

I have some more reviews that haven't been published yet and have just finished another interview with two more of my literary heroes: Jo Nesbo and John Connolly. This one should hopefully feature in the next issue of Inis and I'll post the link as soon as it's out.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bisto Book Awards 2011 - The Winners

And here they are...

The Bisto Book of the Year Award – Chris Haughton’s A Bit Lost

The Eilís Dillon award for a first children’s book – Chris Haughton’s A Bit Lost (as far as I know this is the first time two awards have gone to the same author)

The Honour Award for Fiction – Sheena Wilkinson’s Taking Flight

The Honour Award for Illustration – Caitríona Hastings and Andrew Whitson’s Mac Rí Éireann

The Special Judges Award – Oliver Jeffers’ Heart and the Bottle

The Children’s Choice Award (voted for by children's juries all around the country) - Sheena Wilkinson for Taking Flight!

Congrats to all the winners.

More details can be found on the CBI site here and analysis of the awards (and some books and authors that missed out on a nomination) can be found here on the new-look Inis magazine's web site

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Poly Styrene

A little tribute to Poly who died yesterday.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Bisto Awards 2010 Redux

Now that the 2011 Awards are imminent (see post below), I have to return the very nice indeed Eilis Dillon Award glass sculpture I won last year. It has taken pride of place in the Burke living room over the past twelve months. I'll miss it but I know it will be passed on to a more than worthy recipient this year.

All is not wailing and gnashing of teeth however as I do get to keep this rather magnificent piece of crystal which I also got to commemorate the award.

Photo probably doesn't do it justice and, yes I know, I made the rookie mistake of capturing the reflection of the photographer when I took it!!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

2011 Bisto Book of the Year Shortlist Announced

This years Bisto Award nominees have been announced. The Bistos are Ireland's biggest and most prestigious book award and celebrate excellence in children's literature and illustration.

The full shortlist is:

A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton
Dancing in the Dark by Peter Prendergast
Mac Rí Éireann le Caitríona Hasting agus Andrew Whiton
Prim Improper by Deirdre Sullivan
Taking Flight by Sheena Wilkinson
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
The Lunatics Curse by F.E. Higgins
The Owl and the Pussycat illustrated by Kevin Waldron
Tiny Little Fly illustrated by Kevin Waldron
Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers

There are some very strong contenders in there and it will be interesting to see who nabs the prizes when the results are announced in May.

One sad note is that I'll have to return the splendid trophy I was presented with last year (sniff, sniff) but on the basis of the list above, I suspect it will be going to a very deserving winner for the next year.

Full details can be found on the CBI site.

Congrats to all the nominees.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

School Visit - Milford NS

Last Tuesday I spent the day in Milford National School in Castletroy.

I did readings for 5th and 6th classes and we discussed where ideas came from and writing in general. Both sessions were followed by an excellent Q&A session with lots of good questions.

In the afternoon, I spoke with the school's book club who were reading The Third Pig and I Am David.

To round off the day, I visited 3rd Class where we spoke about book covers, and how they were designed. I tried to convince them that Chelsea were the best Premiership team and why everyone should support them. I don't think they bought it though!!

Overall it was an excellent visit and the school looked after me superbly and kept me filled with coffee. Thanks to Siobhan Fenton for organising the day and Colm Ryan who did an awesome job as my minder (bouncer, security etc.)

The Good News for Modern Man/Woman

Various writing friends/acquaintances/colleagues (delete as appropriate) have been receiving some good news over the past few weeks and, being the good-natured soul that I am, I thought I'd share it with you.

Declan (no relation) Burke, he of the excellent Crime Always Pays blog, has just been given a deal for his latest book, currently titled The Baby Killers.
'So what?' I hear you say.
Well, not only is Dec a might fine writer (check out 'The Big O' if you don't believe me) but he has decided that any profits from the new book will be donated to charity - more than likely the children's wing of a local hospital. A mighty fine proposal, yes?
Congrats to Dec on both the deal and his altruism - and of course you'll all go out and buy it when it comes out, won't you?

I've banged on in the past about the online critique site YouWriteOn, where The Third Pig received its first serious critical airings. Eventually it was placed third in the 2007 Children's Book of the Year competition on the site.
Yet another 'so what?', I hear you say.
The winner of the competition that year, Justine Windsor, has just landed herself an agent so great things will happen. Watch out for her.
Congrats Justine, it was only a matter of time.

Vanessa O'Loughlin of Inkwell Writers' Workshops has just launched, an online resource for Irish writers. It's chock-full of articles, interviews, news, links, events, blogs and more information than you could comfortably shake a stick at. If you're starting out in the writing game, it's well worth a look - and, if you're not, it's still well worth a look!!

Finally, another YWO winner that I've parped on about before, Guy Saville, has finally seen his first novel The Afrika Reich, hit the bookshelves - and it's picking up boffo reviews. My own copy is being clutched in my grubby little fist as I speak (actually it's not, it's difficult to type and hold a book at the same time, but you know what I mean) and I'll post a review as soon as I'm done with it.

So then, much good news to report.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Aaaand he's back

Wow, what a busy few months it's been. IT work sort of took over for a while, Christmas came in the middle and writing was relegated to the back seat until things settled down (as was blogging).

So, what's been happening?

The Ho Ho Ho Mystery was finally published on 28th October and I'm led to believe that sales have been good...which is nice. The week of publication Hughes & Hughes in my home town of Ennis asked me to do a signing, which went off pretty well. Credit to them for putting a bit of imagination into the event and setting up the desk like that of a PI (including a trilby, some crime scene tape and a themed mug). They also managed to lay their hands on pig-shaped sweets (don't ask me how) which the kids loved but most adults seemed to be less enthused by!

As part of Children's Book Month I did a series of library visits in both Limerick and Clare. Again, I was back in Ennis and was delighted that the visiting group was from my old school (now co-ed and requiring a uniform!). All visits, in a variety of different types of library, were a blast and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves - or did a very good job of pretending they did anyway. Kudos to the staff at each event who looked after me, made sure I had lots of coffee and water and were an all round pleasure to deal with.

As part of a Book Club visit in the Granary Library in Limerick last month I previewed a chapter of The Curds and Whey Mystery and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive - which did my ego no harm at all.

Now I'm back to writing again. The first round of edits for The Curds and Whey Mystery have come in from the publisher so I'm working on those at the moment. I'm also starting work on an urban horror story that people seem to think has potential so that'll be interesting.

Hopefully I'll be able to blog a bit more regularly too.

Oh and Chelsea signed Fernando Torres, which is nice.