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BOOK : "The Truth Commissioner" By David Park

DAVID Park's impressive new novel, "The Truth Commissioner" (Bloomsbury Press) is set in post-ceasefire Northern Ireland and asks a simple, terrifying question - how are we going to forgive?

In the aftermath of a bitter war, communities and individuals are still reeling from decades of senseless bloodshed. How can they come to terms with the suffering of the past?

Park imagines one solution by inventing a fictional truth commission, modeled after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in post-apartheid South Africa, to give voice to festering wounds.

Beginning with that simple premise, Park's beautifully written new book vividly reminds us that the war on the streets may have ended, but it endures in hearts and minds, and we'd be foolish to ignore the fact.

CONFERENCE : Cosmopolitical Ireland

GRIAN, the Irish studies group based at NYU's Ireland House, will present their 10th annual conference this Friday, March 14 and Saturday the 15th, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on both days.

The conference asks - in a society with a historical experience that produced a specific and static ideal of national identity for much of the 20th century, how does increasing contact through globalization and net migration challenge such conceptions of identity?

How did such a small country transform itself into a significant participant in the global domain, and what are the challenges and opportunities for the future?

See the Grian conference web page for a full list of panels, participants, and talks. Registration required at the door or on the Grian website at irelandhouse.fas.nyu.edu/object/grian2008.html

READING : David McWilliams

PARTICIPATING in an almost presidential style media blitz that will see him appear on Brian Lehrer's on NPR, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and more, celebrated economist (and gifted mimic) David McWilliams will give his new book The Pope's Children: The Irish Economic Triumph and the Rise of Ireland's New Elite the kind of send off that publishers dream of.

Catch him at New York University's Glucksman Ireland House on Thursday, March 13 at 7 p.m.. In person Williams is as charming as is he is erudite, so expect stiff competition for seats - arrive early!

The talk and book launch is free and open to the public. For details call 212-998-3950.

PUB : The Banshee Pub

NAMED after the frightening "fairy-woman" of Irish folklore, there's nothing scary about the Banshee Pub.

A welcoming Irish pub, with friendly Irish bartenders who will make you feel like a regular from your first visit, the Banshee features intimate, comfortable seating areas and traditional back parlor and it attracts a professional, hip, crowd. Featuring a state-of-the-art sound system playing all the popular tunes and guest bartenders every Thursday night, it's a terrific place to unwind on the Upper East Side.

The Banshee is located at 1373 First Avenue at East 74th Street. Call 212-717-8177.

PLAY : "In Good King Charles's Days"

NEW York's Project Shaw continues its four-year program of staging every play George Bernard Shaw ever wrote. This month, "In Good King Charles's Days" will be performed on St. Patrick's night at 7 p.m. at the Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South.

It's 1680 and you're in Isaac Newton's house. In walks King Charles II in hot pursuit by all of his mistresses, including the notorious Nell Gwyn.

What follows is a tremendous send-up of philosophy, playwriting, acting and an iconic argument bracing science against the arts. As usual, Shaw has a field day by challenging everything (and everyone) we hold near and dear.

For tickets, which are $20, call 212-352-3101 or log onto www.projectshaw.com

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