The idea of turning a vast landscape of people into a massive book club will be familiar to some of you. Dublin City Council have been running it for a few years now and aptly chose ”Strumpet City” by Joseph Plunkett for 2013 April ‘bookclub’ for the city.
The initiative is an idea that travelled over the Atlantic from The U.S. where libraries and Universities have also been running the One Campus One Book for quite some time.
You might have expected Trinity College Dublin or perhaps University College Dublin to have seized on the idea.
But no, it was the ever-forward thinking University of Limerick (UL) who beat the rest of the Irish third level institutions by choosing the 2013/2014 academic year to promote one book to the entire campus.
They decided on the stunning debut novel “The Spinning Heart” by Donal Ryan. Ryan is a graduate of UL and a native of the county.
The initiative came from UL’s Regional Writing Centre which aids the students and staff of the University with the overall aim of enhancing their writing skills.
What I find particularly special about One campus One Book is that I will be able to visit the University throughout this year and already have something in common with anyone I happen to meet. Whether it be a student, lecturer, or anyone who works on campus. They may not have read it yet but most of them will have heard of Donal Ryan.
The most recent last event took place on the 17th December when the author Donal Ryan spoke to an intimate group of about twenty people. The all were given a chance to ask him questions about his book. There was a great divide between questions about the story and questions about writing.
In March of 2014 UL will be conducting a public interview with Donal where a larger audience will have a chance to ask him questions about his own writing and writing in general.
The theme of “The Spinning Heart”, the effect that the recession on not just the country but on an individual level, is relevant to everybody living in Ireland today especially as his characters are representative the landscape of our country’s population from student, to single Mum, from labourer to professional, from the withdrawn to the local gossip and more.