Delaney delights at Kent Memorial Library talk
KENT — Frank Delaney, Irish-born novelist, broadcaster, journalist and screenwriter, now a Kent resident, spoke at the Kent Memorial Library (KML) on Feb. 11. He was there to read from and sign copies of his latest book, released last month, “The Last Storyteller.” More than 50 people turned out to hear and meet him.This book is the last in a trilogy that also includes “Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show” and “The Matchmaker of Kenmare.”In an interview with The Lakeville Journal before his library appearance, Delaney said, “Very often titles don’t express the book, but I try as much as I can to use a title that gives people a sense of what the book is about.” Both in the preappearance interview and in his talk at the library, Delaney talked about storytelling in general, Irish storytelling in particular and how it became part of his own life.Storytelling has been going on for all of human history, Delaney said. The easiest way to get someone’s attention is to say to them, “Let me tell you a story.” And that is exactly what he did at the library.When asked how long it had taken him to write this book, Delaney said, “I could tell you it took me the sort of routine year. But I could also tell you, and be equally truthful, that I have notes for it going back about 15 years. “People will always tell you a trilogy is not the way to begin. But I knew when I started it was going to be a very big story. I also knew that modern publishers will not publish a 350,000-word novel. I had a contract to write three books, so it made complete sense to write the story as a trilogy.”Delaney lived in England for 25 years where, in addition to his writing, he was a broadcaster on the BBC. He said the book’s concept of a man telling his own story came from “talking to novelists and interviewing writers [on the radio] and finding out that what they were all doing, one way or another, was in every novel telling the story of their own lives. “So I thought, how interesting it would be to have a character who was telling himself the story of his own life. And that is what happened here.”Though the book had been on Delaney’s mind a long time, the actual writing took about one year.He said that County Tipperary, where he grew up, is very much like Litchfield County: green and colorful. Describing the place of his youth, Delaney said, “The word ‘riding’ means one third, it is a land division of a county. Tipperary has north and south ridings, so I have always said one third of our county is missing and we don’t know where it is. I grew up in western Tipperary, which should have been the west riding, but was, in fact, the south riding. “I grew up in rich, beautiful countryside, with slow rivers, old limestone abbeys built in the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries. Gorgeous old ruins, Disneyland-type ruins. Absolutely beautiful. That area is full of stories and full of the inspirations for stories.”The author said he lived in Ireland for 35 years before spending 25 in England and before moving to the United States. “The English don’t like stories,” Delaney said. “They talk slightly contemptuously of narratives. “Having left Ireland to go there [England] and finding it barren of story, and then coming to this place [the U.S.], which is enormously rich in story, I find all my faith in the one thing I started out with, the one belief I had in life has been vindicated. The one belief is that there is nothing in the world so fascinating as a story.”His next novel, due out in early 2013, is set partly in the a monastery in the 6th century.