Novelist Mike McCormack is one of several contemporary writers who have been named in a recent group of Irish writers making waves internationally. At the Hay Festival Kells on Sunday, I asked him if he thought there really was a resurgence in Irish literature and whether he felt part of it, or if it was simply an easy way for journalists to lump writers together. "These things come in periodic waves," he told me. "I remember the last time happened, and I was named in that one as well. I debuted in the nineties. Now it seems like I'm debuting again with my fifth book!"
However, McCormack is enthusiastic about the state of Irish publishing. "An awful lot of what's good is coming through Irish publishers and Irish editors, as opposed to British editors. There's a very gifted generation of Irish editors." We both glance over at his publisher, Lisa Coen. McCormack is also thrilled that "there seems to be a return to the experimental tradition in Irish writing. People like Clare-Louise Bennett. There's something very visceral and energetic about what Lisa McInerney is doing. And people like Rob Doyle (author of Here Are The Young Men); we're not flush with writers like him, sadly. But there's a welcome return of the experimental mode. I don't know if there's a causal link between the resurgence of Irish editors and the resurgence in experimental writing. I'm not sure if there's a link there, or if it's just a coincidence. You're the journalist, you figure it out!"
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