Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction: Podcasts on Malarky

I make no apology for admitting that when I listened to the Debut-Litzer Prize Judges Podcast and heard Fiction judge Leslie Jamison and Patrick McGinty discussing Malarky, I felt weepy. I think I was weepy with delight or disbelief that such an intelligent, close reading of a book I struggled so long and hard with was possible. (This probably sounds strange since I have been blessed with many excellent considerings, but there’s something unique about it being an extended audio discussion sailing out of your computer and also, it’s because I have felt this passionate about other people’s books.) I wished this for every writer, who was driven as demented as I was trying to write my novel.

Then, ever the cynic I felt like weeping all day long for the fact it would be unlikely to happen again in this lifetime and I might never write another book and how could I find company again like Our Woman. (she was pretty dandy, kept me en pointe) Completely and reliably irrational, but there’s a degree of exhaustion as I continue to struggle or interrogate a footnote novel to Malarky called Martin John, that may or may not see the light of day. Whatever the reason I lay in bed stunned and internally emoting before I carried the computer to my son’s room and said I can’t believe this podcast that includes my book to which he replied “look at this app” and showed me his phone. We deflected to teenage business instead, quite rightly and I got a grip.

Anyway here is the podcast you will be guaranteed not to weep at, but can hear discussions of all three books as there were three prize categories that included one for poetry won by Natalie Diaz When My Brother Was An Aztec and non-fiction Benjamin Busch’s Dust to Dust.

Here also is the podcast interview that Late Night Library did with each of us.    Thank you to Patrick McGuity for the ace natter and for telling me about those writers he mentions. I love the ethos behind Late Night Library, an organization well worth supporting.

I think my heightened emotion was also due in part to the formidable news my mother won BEEKEEPER OF THE YEAR in her beekeeping group in Westport, Co Mayo. Here are some fantastic photographs that capture the moment.   She is very passionate about bees and has been studying them and keeping them. It was especially great to hear this news because I recently did an event in Ottawa with Diana Beresford-Kroeger which included remarks on colony collapse and bee and tree calamity. Thus I could imagine Diana beaming at such. We need the bees!

RTE Radio One the Sean O’Rourke show had a feature on Christmas Book Picks and Malarky was one of Sinead Gleeson’s picks. Thank you to Sinead for this. The segment was on a show that included a weather story. The show also starts at 10am. Sean O’Rourke is a voice I associate with 1pm because 15 years ago he used to read the news at one I am nearly sure. I like this collusion of 10am and 1pm, of weather and literature.

Click here to listen

On the road with Malarky: Malarky roadie

I have been away on the road with Malarky, so apologies for the interrupted weather forecasts and meanderings. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Bolen Books in Victoria, Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle and Village Books in Bellingham.

The highlight for me was at the Seattle launch when 10-yr-old Willie Bays, on his flute, played traditional Irish music (trad) with his mother Susan on fiddle. A mighty player and together they played a mighty set. Go raibh mile to them both.

Also, am enormously grateful for the enthusiasm and warmth of booksellers Robert, Casey and Claire (in store order respectively). Most impressed with the woodwork in many of these shops and the array of jigsaw puzzles that surrounded the reading area at Bolen Books. (including one of a teapot)


What about the weather event at Union Station in Toronto yesterday? A bathtub rainfall event! We were grim on this coast around the same time, but I had to shift my overcast sulking when I saw what had been dealt to the floor at Union. A spot I stood but two weeks ago and imagined doing a cozy waltz around (if I could manage such a thing).


In gardening news I am a disgrace. Officially flagged a green one. Some mysterious objecter has plunged a bamboo pole into my plot with green masking tape on it to alert … I am not sure whom. Not the Mason Bees who were happily mining in my strawberry patch today. Thank you to the gardeners who offered help for my beleagured plot and added soil to it in my absence.

The Flowerman has the most magnificent Pink Poppies. They have to be capitalized they are such stunners. He also generously added some manure to my plot and consequently the purple geranium has gone nuclear in size and I think has made for happy bees.


Profuse thanks to all who have read/are reading Malarky and have tweeted or written about it. Lovely to hear of this happening. A book is nothing without readers. I have great faith in readers and it grows deeper by the day.