Tyrone crime fiction author and journalist Anthony J Quinn picked as Northern Ireland Libraries Writer in Residence

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Tyrone crime fiction author and journalist Anthony J Quinn has been chosen as Libraries Northern Ireland writer-in-residence for 2016.

Quinn, whose debut novel Disappeared was selected by the Times and the Daily Mail as one of the best books of the year, will take up the top literary post as part of the libraries’ Creativity Month celebrations.

One of his first engagements will be a reading from his latest work in Cookstown Library at 1pm this Friday (March 4).

In addition, the award winning Dungannon author will be facilitating writing workshops, seminars, manuscript clinics and readings in a host of libraries across Northern Ireland. He will also be providing regular updates in a blog about the craft of writing.

Quinn said he was delighted to have been picked for the residency.

“I remember going to the old Dungannon library in Scotch Street when I was 7, and picking three new books every month. I wasn’t old enough to join, but my mother let me use her card, sacrificing her own quota. My parents always encouraged me to read, and this is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child. I remember the joy of seeing a book in a series that I had not yet read, especially the Enid Blyton adventures.

Libraries not only touch our minds but also our lives in very fundamental ways

“Those books defined my childhood. Libraries not only touch our minds but also our lives in very fundamental ways. Getting the writer-in-residence post is a wonderful honour. I’m looking forward to visiting as many libraries as possible and sharing what I know about the world of writing and hopefully inspiring local readers to some literary success. Libraries are the hubs of our creative communities and should be celebrated as such.”

Quinn’s latest novel, Silence, the third in the best-selling Celcius Daly detective series was described by the Sunday Times as ‘a magnificent meditation on the corrosive legacy of the Troubles’ and the Sunday Express as one of the best crime novels of the season. The Independent praised it as ‘hypnotically expressive...an irresistible crime drama’, and the Irish News picked it as their book of the week.

“Although Silence excavates the murky details of those very troubled times, it also functions as an entertaining detective thriller”, said Anthony.

“In a way that is the most generous thing you can do as a writer, to entertain your readers, and somehow encourage them to examine the sort of thing they would normally turn away from in their normal lives.

“The subject matter of Silence is so compelling, yet also so disturbing that I wanted to run away from it many times. However, I’m glad I stuck with it.”

Quinn said landscape was the key to his books, especially that of Tyrone, with its geography of moods and interweave of light and darkness.

“I take a guilty pleasure in drawing the reader’s attention to the strangeness of the local landscape, making them shudder at a gruesome-looking blackthorn tree, a rotting cottage, or a treacherous bog. I want readers to feel the dark gravity of the border countryside, its mesh of twisting roads, the sense that out there amid the blackthorn thickets and swirling mists, loose bits of the past are still wriggling their way through the shadows.” Quinn’s five novels have received international acclaim, with the book critics of the Washington Post, the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle shortlisting his work for a Strand Literary Award. In 2014, he was awarded an Artists Career Enhancement Bursary by the NI Arts Council. For more information visit www.anthonyjquinnwriter.com