Immrama Festival of Travel Writing

An exploration of tales of travel will be told at the sixteenth annual Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing this June 13th to 17th in county Waterford under the theme ‘A Celebration of Global Exploration’.

Best-selling author Michael Smith, explorer and author Jacki Hill-Murphy, award-winning author Rosemary Mahoney and explorer and foreign correspondent Isambard Wilkinson are some of the world-renowned writers who are about to set their compass for Lismore this summer.

Author John Devoy opens the festival talks with a free event on the evening of Wednesday, June 13th with an introduction from his book Quondam.  Following this will be a screening of a documentary on the Irish aid effort in 1968 titled Biafra – Forgotten Mission.

On Thursday June 14th author and journalist Isambard Wilkinson will discuss his book “Travels in a Dervish Cloak” based on his time spent working in Pakistan as a foreign correspondent during the war on terror. Seeking the land behind the headlines Bard sets out to discover the essence of a country convulsed by Islamist violence. Isambard is presently based in Hong Kong as a correspondent.

On Friday evening author Rosemary Mahoney will discuss her travels down the Nile. She has been awarded numerous awards for her writing, including a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Whiting Writers Award, a nomination for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, a Transatlantic Review Award for Fiction and Harvard’s Charles E. Horman Prize for writing. She is the author of Down the Nile; Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff, a New York Times Notable Book, A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman, The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground, Whoredom in Kimmage: The World of Irish Women, a National Book Critics Award Finalist and New York Times Notable Book, and The Early Arrival of Dreams; A Year in China, a New York Times Notable Book

One of the keynote speakers, best-selling author Michael Smith will take to the stage in the heritage town of Lismore on Saturday June 16th. His talk will look at the history of Ireland’s Antarctic explorers as he will discuss his books on Tom Crean, Ernest Shackleton and other Irish explorers speaking about the highs and lows of uncovering the stories, challenging old myths, breaking new ground.

Joining Michael as a keynote speaker on June 16th is explorer and author Jacki Hill-Murphy as she plans to discuss ‘Women adventuring off the beaten track’. Jacki has travelled to some of the most inhospitable places on earth to re-create the journeys of daring women adventurers. She has followed in the footsteps of Victorian explorers Isabella Bird who travelled by yak across the Digar-La in Ladakh, India; Mary Kingsley, who pioneered the route to the 13,255 foot summit of Mount Cameroon and Kate Marsden who trudged from Moscow to Siberia in search of a cure for leprosy. Hill-Murphy also braved piranha-infested waters in a dugout canoe to replicate the 1769 expedition of Isabel Godin, the only survivor of a 42-person 4000-mile expedition along the Amazon River.

Also taking place on Saturday, June 16th is a travel-writing workshop with Dr Robyn Rowland. Historian Donald Brady will host a talk on Sir Richard Musgrave of Tourin 1746-1818. Adventurer and mountaineer Michael Whelan will host a talk on his journey by bicycle from Islamabad to the world’s highest border crossing on the Karakoram Highway and onto Shipton’s Lost Arch in Western China.

Bob Jackson will host the famous literary breakfast at Immrama at 8.30am on June 17th. He will discuss the story of the incredible life of Dr. Aidan MacCarthy, the only person to have survived the two events that mark the beginning and end of World War II; being evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk after three days of relentless attacks in May 1940, and trembling in a makeshift bomb shelter in the centre of Nagasaki when the atomic bomb destroyed the city in August 1945.

On the final day of the festival Family Fun Sunday will take place at the Millennium Park and the Lismore Farmers Market will be on the castle avenue.




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