A chairde, welcome to the August 24th, 2018 meeting of the Committee. The Rúnaí can’t be here tonight, he’s asked me to deputise on his behalf.
First item on the agenda. The PRO wants to pass on the following information, though the chair:
Tadhg Coakley’s novel in stories, The First Sunday in September, was shortlisted for the Mercier Press Fiction Prize, 2017 and was published by Mercier Press in August 2018. It tells the story of a fictional All-Ireland Hurling Final Sunday, from the points of view of several recurring characters, exploring recurring themes.
From the book blurb:
‘It’s the day of the All-Ireland Hurling Final. A hungover Clareman goes to Dublin, having remortgaged his house and bet the last of the money on his county to win. An Englishwoman attends the final with her partner, wondering when to tell him that she’s pregnant. A long-retired player watches the match from the stands, his gaze repeatedly falling on the Cork captain, whom he and his wife gave up for adoption years earlier. Clare’s star forward struggles under the weight of expectation. Cork’s talisman waits for the sliotar to fall from the sky, aware that his destiny is already set.
These are just some of the many characters we meet in the book.’
The First Sunday in September has been highly praised:
‘The First Sunday in September really is quite an achievement. It has hurling at its heart but the game stands as a fulcrum around which the stories act and the stories are vibrant and authentic, brimming with the intensity and the desire and the triumphs and failures that make sporting occasions such a sublime allegory for our human condition. I enjoyed it immensely.’
‘Imagine Raymond Carver meets Donal Ryan and you have Tadhg Coakley’s novel. His writing is taut and vivid, his voice compelling and compassionate. From the ordinary experiences of a single day, he evokes an entire complex world. A stirring new voice in Irish fiction.’
‘Inventive, polyphonic, compelling: Coakley’s Irish chorus lifts off the page to cry out its fears and desires. A visceral sports novel, and yet so tender.’
‘Tadhg Coakley deftly captures those moments when a life, like a sliotar, appears to hang suspended, mid-air, and nobody can be sure what will happen when it drops.’
‘The First Sunday in September takes us through the turnstiles of a sporting event but also into the hearts and minds of a medley of characters who sometimes win but often lose, and whose experiences of life ring true.’
‘Just like his county’s hurlers currently play, Coakley’s book is fast-moving, highly skilled and a pleasure to behold.’
The Irish Independent (full review here)
‘Coakley writes with supreme confidence and with authentic darkness.’ The Sunday Independent (full review here)
‘A brave, memorable read.’ The Irish Times (picture of short review here)
‘Coakley has created a novel that uses sport as a portal into the lives of characters whose emotional struggles are explored and examined with a raw realism and a searing lack of sentimentality.’ The Irish Times (full article here)
‘The First Sunday in September is a masterclass in structure and characterisation – where each individual has his or her unique contribution to make to a narrative which highlights the frailty of human existence.’
‘… you should head to your nearest bookshop and pre-order a copy. You will absolutely not be disappointed and we would be very surprised if the book didn’t win some prizes.’
The Evening Echo
‘Clever and assured. Packs an emotional punch.’
‘With such a wide range of characters and emotions, there is something for everyone and it sits high in the … oeuvre of Irish sporting fiction.’
The Irish Examiner
‘Coakley has a real grasp of his subject… his own GAA pedigree is so strong he doesn’t hit false notes … poetry in motion.’ The Irish Daily Star
‘Tadhg Coakley weaves a complex tale around a fictional All-Ireland final… it has hurling close to its centre, but it is certainly not a book that excludes non-GAA fans.’ The Clare Champion
That concludes the message from the PRO.
The second item on the agenda concerns financial matters…