Happy World Book Night

World Book nightNot content with a World Book Day, World Book Night is now in it’s 5th year and takes place on the 23rd of April. While the day version is primarily aimed at children and teenagers, World Book Night is targeted at adults who don’t currently read for pleasure.

At the moment, it takes place only in the UK and sees special editions of 20 books from well known authors including Roddy Doyle, Lynda La Plante, Rachel Joyce & even Karl Pilkington being released and distributed by enthusiastic volunteers within their community.

The organisers expect 250,000 books to be distributed. As well as this, they are asking people to go out and buy a book and give it to someone in their community.

David Almond, the author of Skelling said of the event

“What a wonderful way to celebrate one of humankind’s greatest creations.                                                                               What a truly creative way to encourage people to read one book, then                                                                                        another, then another, to encourage people to become life long readers.”

Hopefully we will get to see this amazing and worthwhile event take off on this side of the Irish sea at some stage.



Ulysses @ Midland Books

Around 30 people packed into Midland Books on Wednesday the 25th of March for a performance of Strolling Through Ulysses by Robert Gogan.

Ulysses 2Robert has performed his play in bookshops around Ireland and in landmarks associated with Ulysses such as Martelo Tower and Sweny’s Chemist in Dublin

It was the first such event for us but the layout of the shop lent itself to the performance. Robert’s idea is to introduce James Joyce’s most famous work to a larger audience. Many people (myself included) have been put off reading the book due to it’s perceived difficulty.

Over the course of 70 minutes, Robert goes runs through the book acting out certain important scenes. It therefore means that after seeing the play, the reader will then be able to relate to what is happening even if if the text is not very accesssible.

Robert takes on the roll of the main characters such as Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus & Molly Bloom. Robert brings out the often dark humour as well as the great characters and situations which Leopold Bloom encounters on the 16th of June 1904.

It was a hugely enjoyable evening especially due to the intimate nature of the venue. You couldn’t help but be Ulysses 6impressed with Robert’s passion for the book and the genius of Joyce for creating such a work based on the small little details which happen to us on any given day.

The 16th of June 1904 wasn’t much out of the ordinary for Leopold but with the voice he has been give by Joyce, the events of that day are still gripping people over 100 years later.

Robert is continuing to tour the show throughout Ireland and I would strongly recommend that you catch it if at all possible,

Strolling Through Ulysses coming to Midland Books

When Robert Gogan completed his one-man show about James Joyce’s Ulysses entitled Strolling Through Ulysses he decided that there was no better way to perform it than on a nationwide tour of the bookshops and bookclubs of Ireland.

The tour started with two special performances in the famous Swenys Chemist on Lincoln Place in Dublin, one of the many places visited by Leopold Bloom on Bloomsday – June 16th 1904. He has also performed it recently for a bookclub in South Dublin and also in the Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar, and in the iconic Joyce Tower in Sandycove on February 2nd, the anniversary of Joyce’s birth and the publication of Ulysses.

His next performance is on March 25th in The Midland Bookshop in Tullamore.
Robert Gogan moved to Westmeath from Achill Island about three years ago and has taken up residence with his wife, Anne Tyrrell, in Kilbeggan.

“It’s a lighthearted mischievous crash course on Ulysses” says Gogan, “and it’s a little bit bawdy, certainly irreverent, but also great fun! I have a passionate interest in Joyce’s work, particularly Ulysses and I want to bring it to the general public in a non-academic environment – the way, I think, that Joyce would have wanted.

It has always been a source of frustration to me when the vast majority of my friends tell me that they haven’t read Ulysses or have tried and failed. So I decided to write a one-man show to take the myth and mysticism out of Ulysses and to highlight the fun and playfulness of the great novel. The reaction from audiences to date has been amazing and very positive”

Gogan has also edited a new edition of Ulysses in which he has added some punctuation and formatting help people to read the novel and get the maximum satisfaction from it. Ulysses Remastered was published in 2012 and is available through all bookshops and is also available in the Midland Bookshop.

“I love performing the show in bookshops” says Gogan. “It seem totally appropriate, seeing as the subject matter is one of the greatest novel ever written. And all of the thousands of books on the shelves which surround me act as a perfect stage set!”

Strolling Through Ulysses will be performed in the Midland Bookshop on March 25th at 7.30pm. Admission: €10. It is advisable to book tickets in advance as places are very limited – phone 057 9321797.