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Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival
Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival

Dazzling Debuts

Raven Leilani and Danielle McLaughlin in conversation with Edel Coffey

DateSaturday March 27th
Cost€5 - €10

The Festival Bookseller for this event is Books Upstairs.

Join us for a fascinating discussion of two outstanding debuts from Raven Leilani and Danielle McLaughlin hosted by Edel Coffey.

Danielle McLaughlin’s The Art of Falling is described as a compelling exploration of the ethics and emotional contours of marital affection and sexual infidelity. The protagonist, Nessa McCormack, is a middle-aged curator struggling to forgive her husband for his recently uncovered affair with the mother of one of their teenage daughter’s friends. But as they begin to patch up their marriage, a chance encounter with a college roommate brings Nessa back into contact with a circle of old acquaintances, including an ex-lover for whom she betrayed her closest friend — an act that may or may not have played a part in the friend’s subsequent suicide.

Raven Leilani’s Luster also connected to the art world was one of Barack Obama’s favourite books of 2020. An acclaimed debut has received high praise from a literary Who’s Who that includes Zadie Smith, the author’s teacher at New York University. Five months after Luster became an instant New York Times bestseller, it is described as a feat of narrative voice and supple, rhythmic prose. Luster plunges us into the acerbic psyche of Edie, a millennial New Yorker wading through the early-twenties quagmire: student debt, primitive flatshare, artistic ambitions on hold. At the publishing house that pays her meagre wage, grateful diligence is expected of a ‘token’ black hire, yet Edie’s has worn thin. Instead, she’s ironic, defiant and sexually voracious.

Danielle McLaughlin is the author of the short story collection Dinosaurs on Other Planets. In 2019, she was a Windham-Campbell Prize recipient, and won the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. She lives in County Cork, Ireland with her husband and three children. The Art of Falling is her first novel.

Raven Leilani grew up in New York. In 2017, she began pursuing her MFA at New York University, where she studied under Zadie Smith and with writers Katie Kitamura, and Jonathan Safran Foer. Luster is her debut novel.

Edel Coffey is an arts journalist and broadcaster. She is a regular interviewer at literary festivals around Ireland, including Mountains to Sea, International Literary Festival Dublin and Cúirt. She is a regular contributor to Arena, RTÉ Radio One’s nightly arts show and will publish her first novel next year.

L: Raven Leilani. M: Danielle McLaughlin (©Claire O Rorke). R: Edel Coffey.