Robert Newman @ Róisín Dubh

COMEDIAN AND author Robert Newman hits town this Saturday at the Róisín Dubh, as part of the Cúirt festival, for two shows - one a reading from his new novel, the other his latest stand -up show.

Robert will be reading from his novel The Trade Secret in the Róisín’s upstairs bar at 4pm and at 8.30pm he will be on the main stage to perform his latest stand-up show Robert Newman’s New Theory of Evolution.

Robert Newman first came to prominence as one half of comedy partnership Newman and Baddiel. In 1993 the duo became the first comedians to play and sell out the 12,000-seat Wembley Arena in London.

They split up not long afterwards and Newman turned to novel-writing. His first book, Dependence Day, won the 1995 Betty Trask Award and he has followed it with Manners (1998 ) and The Fountain at the Centre of the World (2003 ), hailed by The Guardian as ‘wonderful, big-hearted, textured, funny’.

The Trade Secret is set in Iran, Venice, and London and is based on the true story of the first Elizabethans to discover coffee, oil, and messenger pigeons. Seventeen-year-old Nat Bramble, a servant of English mercenary Sir Anthony Sherley, befriends Iranian poet Darius Nouredini. Together they embezzle Sir Anthony’s silver and, hoping to make fortunes as oil merchants, set off for the secret oil wells said to lie under an ancient temple.

However the oil lights a trail of fire which follows Nat all the way back to the London, where he is caught up in the power-struggle between King James and the Levant Company. A rollicking story of espionage, love, and adventure, this novel will delight readers as they follow Nat Bramble to the ends of the earth and back again.

Robert Newman's New Theory of Evolution will see the comic argue that evolution is driven by co-operation as much as competition. From ideas like ‘survival of the fittest’ to the ‘selfish gene’, Darwin’s theory of evolution has been hijacked by a reductive, individualist, ideology that has suggests a narrow, pessimistic, view of human nature.

However, new discoveries in genetics, science, and behaviour are postulating a more complex, generous idea of human conduct.

Newman’s show takes us from altruistic vampire bats and sentinel crabs to social amoebas, and from well-dressed Neanderthals to recently discovered mirror neurones in the brain which suggest that empathy is hardwired into the very core of our being.

Tickets are available at www.roisindubh.net, from the Ticket Desk at OMG, Shop Street (formerly Zhivago ), and The Róisín Dubh.

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