Book Now for Limerick Literary Festival
Limerick Literary Festival will celebrate its 35th edition this year from February 22 – 24.
Formerly known as the Kate O’Brien Weekend, the event honours the life and works of the Limerick author, while attracting prominent participants from all over the world. The festival also seeks to promote Limerick nationally as a place of literary excellence and to provide a platform where readers can meet their favourite authors and other fans.
2019’s packed programme includes talks, interviews, panel discussions, poetry, an award-winning play, a debut book award, and a music recital. One particular highlight is the guest appearance of internationally renowned American author Richard Ford, who will take part in a discussion with Irish writer Niall Mac Monagle on February 24 at The Lime Tree Theatre.
In a career spanning five decades, Ford has published seven novels, as well as several short story collections. His 1990 book Wildlife about a 16-year-old who watches as his parents’ marriage dissolves in front of him was adapted for the big screen last year. Directed by Paul Dano, it starred Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Another special international guest is French poet, author and director Philippe Claudel who, in partnership with Alliance Francaise, audiences can see at The Hunt Museum on February 23. Best known for directing the 2008 Kristin Scott Thomas starring BAFTA winner I’ve Loved You So Long, his latest novel The Tree of The Toraja was released last year.
Also, US journalist and author Lara Marlowe will open the festival in The Hunt Museum on February 22, while British-based literary biographer Lyndall Gordon (Outsiders), can be seen the next day in the same venue.
This year, the festival is also hosting some of the biggest names in Irish literature. Celebrated essayist Emilie Pine (Notes to Self) and critically acclaimed novelists Louise O’Neill (Asking for It), David Park (The Truth Commissioner) and Liz Nugent (Skin Deep) will all be in attendance. The latter will be in conversation with Riverdance composer Bill Whelan in The Lime Tree Theatre on the festival’s final day.
Flying the flag for poetry is Limerick’s Jo Slade and Ciaran O’Driscoll who will read in the Granary Library on the festival’s Friday morning, while writer Adam Wyeth will discuss the legacy of Limerick poet Desmond O’Grady early in the afternoon at the Culture House.
The National Library of Ireland in partnership with Limerick Literary Festival will also be presenting The Blank Page. Featuring Martin Dyar, Clodagh Beresford Dunne and Niall Mac Monagle, the special event on February 23 will explore the making of a poem through conversations with the writers.
Another special event the festival run is Desert Island Books in which writers talk about their five favourite novels. This year it will be presented by David Park and the late literary critic Eileen Battersby’s daughter Nadia Whiston Battersby on February 24.
The festival is dedicated to Limerick native and writer Kate O’Brien, best known for her radical explorations of female sexuality and agency – which found her novels Mary Lavelle (1936) and The Land of Spices (1941) banned in the Emerald Isle upon publication. To pay tribute to O’Brien is Irish novelist and academic Éilis Ní Dhuibhne who will discuss her work on Sunday morning in The Lime Tree Theatre.
The Limerick legend will also be honoured by the Irish National Opera on the festival’s opening night. In the Hunt Museum, they will present a musical recital, incorporating sections of O’Brien’s novel As Music and Splendour (1958).
The festival will wrap up with the presentation of the 2019 Kate O’Brien award, for a debut novel from an Irish female author. The nominees are Teethmarks on my Tongue by Eileen Battersby, He is Mine and I Have No Other by Rebecca O’Connor, Promising Young Women by Caroline O’Donoghue, The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan and Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford.
Commenting on the high standard of all the submissions, shortlist judge Vivienne McKechnie said in a statement: “It has been a wonderful year of debut novels for Irish female writers”.
Meanwhile, live venue Dolans Warehouse is where edgy entertainment meets irreverent comedy at 8pm on Saturday, February 23 in the shape of international award-winning play The Morning After the Life Before. Fresh from runs in Montreal, London and New York. The show will be followed by a panel discussion with playwright and performer Ann Blake, RTÉ producer Paula Shields, Emilie Pine and Niall Mac Monagle
For more details on the Limerick Literary Festival and how to get tickets, visit the event’s site.