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Flat Lake Festival

On June 4th-5th in 2011 John Murray will be performing at The Flat Lake Festival, Clones, Co Monaghan, Ireland. The brainchild of novelist Patrick McCabe and Kevin Allen, it has live music and all sorts of performance events including literary ones. 2010 featured Shane Macgowan of The Pogues and novelist Anne Enright. 2011 so far has John Banville, Joe Queenan… and John Murray lined up.

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Society of Authors event

John Murray has been invited to be a guest speaker at the Society of Authors ‘Authors North’ summer meeting on Tuesday 20th July. The event takes place at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle, 11.30am-4.00pm and John will be the morning speaker, with Penrith-based novelist Clare Sambrook giving a talk in the afternoon. The two Cumbrian authors are free to talk about whatever they like, but it has been suggested that John’s years as founder-editor of the legendary Panurge fiction magazine, which he co-edited with David Almond from 1984-1996, might be of particular interest.

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John Murray at Words by the Water 2010

On the 12th of March, in the Cumberland News, Paul Crute wrote a very positive review of John Murray’s 8th March talk about fiction and Cumbrian dialect at Words by the Water. Entitled ‘A Reet Riveting Read’ it says:

‘One bit of genius that Murray possesses is his ability is to make puns from the dialect when he introduces it into his books. The way he reeled off a list of East European countries in Cumbrian dialect kept the audience amused and the subtle differences introduced included the poor country Albania changing to Albany (a wealthy American city) when pronounced in Cumbrian’.

As a relevant footnote, John has to confess he has only ever been interviewed on two television channels: the late Border TV based in Carlisle, UK, and… Albanian television. He was present at the Legion d’Honneur ceremony held in Paris in December 1997 for Albanian author Ismail Kadare, and was interviewed by Albanian TV as the lone representative of a country neither French nor Albanian. His immortal words were ‘it’s a great day for France and a great day for Albania!’

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More to Kurkov than penguins…

John has just reviewed cult Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov in the November issue of Literary Review. Best known for his surreal satirical penguin novels Death and the Penguin and Penguin Lost, Kurkov, says John, has wrongly been pigeonholed as a new Bulgakov, or even a new Gogol or Dostoievsky. Instead he is an extremely original satirical writer whose great strength is his innocent, seemingly artless tone which he uses to great effect when sending up corruption and wrongdoing in post-Soviet Ukraine. The Good Angel of Death (Harvill Secker £12.99) is, John adds, ‘hugely enjoyable’.

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After a busy series of readings in Lancaster, Cockermouth and Lancaster again, John has been invited to appear at next spring’s Words by the Water festival in Keswick, Cumbria. The full programme will be available sometime next month, but if you’re planning ahead, why not start thinking about a literary weekend break in the Lake District? John will be there on Monday 8th March.

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More reading dates added

John has added two new dates to his reading schedule for the autumn. He’ll be appearing with DJ Taylor at Litfest in Lancaster on 20th October, and reading and discussing his work at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal on 7th November. See the Readings page for full details.

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Listen to Liz and Joe

Writer Rachel Cochrane has recorded John Murray reading from The Legend of Liz and Joe over on her website Listen Up North. You can also hear an interview with John about his writing, and the new book in particular. And why not check out Rachel’s blog while you’re there?

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