Page 2 - Audio Books January - March 2016
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Jenny Downham
Writers for Readers Benjamin Black
© The Guardian
Having trained as an actress, Jenny Downham worked in community theatre for many years before turning her hand to writing. Her first novel, Before I Die, was completed in 2007 – gaining a pre-emptive offer from the publisher only a week after it was completed. It was widely acclaimed, shortlisted for a number of awards and winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2008. It has since been made into a film, Now is Good.
Benjamin Black is the pen name of Booker Prize winning novelist John Banville. Born in Wexford, Ireland, he has now written nine novels under the Black name. His Quirke series, set in 1950s Dublin and featuring a troubled pathologist, were adapted into a major TV series starring Gabriel Byrne. He has been awarded the Franz Kafka Prize, the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature, and the Prince of Asturias Award, Spain’s most
important literary prize. He lives in Dublin.
It is doubtful that anyone can write as well as Benjamin Black when it comes to a psychological mystery
Washington Times
Quirke is an endearing hero and the Dublin of the 1950s – wet, cold, foggy, sinister – is evoked with harsh realism and nostalgia The Times
Addiction, morbid sexual obsession, blackmail and murder, as well as prose as crisp as a winter’s morning by the Liffey . . . Quirke is human enough to swell the hardest of hearts GQ
On settings: When I decided to try my hand at noir fiction, I realised at once that Dublin in the 1950s would be the ideal setting. All that dinginess, that fog and coal-smoke, those misty mornings and rain-washed twilights, those heartbreakingly lovely silver grey evenings along the canal bank between the humped, granite bridges; all that furtiveness, that covert sinning; all that despair, all that guilt – what more could a crime writer ask for?
Downham gets right to the bottom of painful questions . . .
Jill Murphy
In luminous prose that rings completely true, Downham earns every tear she wrings from her readers
Entertainment Weekly
This is a beautifully drawn portrait of three generations of women, hugely ambitious in its interwoven examination of sexual identity, family secrets, torn loyalties and the life- affirming power of breaking away from suffocating conventions Daily Mail
On writing: I don’t really think in terms of themes or topics when I begin a project; I’m more interested in characters and the stories they have to tell. I seem to have a tendency to be drawn to the extraordinary in the everyday and vice versa.
What we’re listening to . . .
We loved Ian McMillan’s take on his Yorkshire roots in Neither Nowt Nor Summat. In an effort to understand what makes “Yorkshire”, he embarks on a journey around the county, discovering the places and people that make it what it is. Superbly read by the author himself.
The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson had us gripped. 1946, and when young lawyer Regina Robichard heads to Mississippi to investigate the case of a young black soldier whose body has been found, she has no idea what she is heading into. Read by Regina Reagan, and perfect for fans of The Help.
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