Featuring more than fifty events and around one hundred authors and contributors, the annual Dublin Book Festival kicks-off this Thursday evening at Hodges Figgis in Dawson Street with the launch of John McAllister’s ‘Barlow by the Book’ and an evening at Smock Alley celebrating the first edition of ‘Winter Pages,’ Ireland’s new annual arts anthology.
The Sergeant Barlow series is based on McAllister’s memories of a real policeman of that name – an awkward, cussed and cantankerous anti-hero – who strode his hometown like a Goliath during the 1950s and 60s. For the ‘Winter Pages’ event, Seán Rocks of national Irish radio’s ‘Arena’ programme will be in conversation with Kevin Barry, the journal’s founder, and contributors Peter Murphy and Claire Kilroy.
“It was an honor putting together this year’s programme,” said Julianne Mooney festival programme director. “It is always a difficult task as there are so many new books and authors emerging within Ireland every week, that it’s hard to feature them all. The festival is here to showcase Ireland’s talent and to bring readers and writers together, a community of book lovers.”
The four-day festival sees a diverse range of events from author readings to a focus on business to lectures on different aspects of writing thrillers, crime fiction and book reviews. There are also various guided Dublin walks including a literary and an architectural tour.
With Ireland commemorating the 1916 revolution next year, not only does the festival host a special walk focusing on it but also a seminar with experts discussing aspects of the historic event, from famous personalities involved to the women and children of the rising to how seven rebels from the Abbey Theatre experienced the week-long event and its aftermath.
On Friday morning at The Learning Studio, Digital Depot, The Digital Hub, will host ‘The Business Clinic,’ an interactive session with business experts including Pamela Newenham, journalist with The Irish Times and editor of Silicon Docks: The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub (Liberties Press); Hugh Henry, director of Innovation and R&D at Bord na Móna and author of Everyday Innovation (Oak Tree Press) and Frank McCarthy, entrepreneur and author of It’s Never About the Money(Oak Tree Press). Chaired by Billy Linehan, a LEO Dublin City business mentor and also MD of Celtar business consultants, speakers will offer expert their advice to SMEs and entrepreneurs.
New writers should note the ‘Meet the Editors’ event later that day at Boys’ School, Smock Alley, at which publishing leaders will offer key advice on how best to submit manuscripts. The panel is led by Declan Meade, publishing manager and founder of The Stinging Fly who will be in conversation with Gráinne Clear, publishing manager at Little Island Books; Dan Bolger, commissioning editor at New Island Books; Helen Carr, senior editor with The O’Brien Press and Patsy Horton, managing editor of Blackstaff Press.
Also on Friday, the Irish book association, Publishing Ireland, will hold its annual trade event at which delegates consider the challenges and opportunities in the industry. Subjects include ‘Winners v Losers’ – what separates the bestseller from the flop, with Michael O’Brien (publisher with O’Brien Press), Fergal Tobin (consultant with Irish Times Books) and Michael McLoughlin (MD, Penguin Ireland) discussing how to predict the pitfalls of publishing.
‘Lunchtime Readings’ includes authors Kelly Creighton reading from her debut novel, The Bones of It (Liberties Press); Gerard Lee from his first novel, Forsaken (New Island Books), a dark, chilling yet witty tale of the life of a young boy; Jane Talbot from her first book, The Faerie Thorn and Other Stories (Blackstaff Press) which follows the tradition of the Brothers Grimm and draws on ancient Celtic folklore; Alan Walsh from his book Sour (Pillar International Publishing), a modern version of Deirdre of the Sorrows.
Tramp Press launches the second title in their Recovered Voices series. ‘The Uninvited’ is a bone-chilling Gothic ghost story from novelist, playwright and political activist Dorothy Macardle (1889–1958). The Recovered Voices series is committed to rescuing forgotten literature and to re-engaging with writers whose work is still valuable and relevant.
On Saturday, in an event entitled ‘Unlock the Psyche and Set the Scene’ in association with the Irish Writers Centre, Louise Phillips and Ian Sansom, Guardian critic and author of the Mobile Library Mystery series and The County Guides series, will delve into the complex nature of writing crime writing and offer tips on dealing with the challenges of writing in this particular genre of fiction.
‘The Poet’s Chair’ presents a rare opportunity to see the current, and the two most recent, Ireland Chairs of Poetry reading and discussing their work. Guests include Harry Clifton, whose awards include the Patrick Kavanagh Award and the Irish Times Poetry Now Award; Michael Longley, whose collections have won many prestigious prizes, including the 2015 Griffin Award for Poetry; and Paula Meehan, current Ireland Chair of Poetry. Correspondent for The Irish Times, Arminta Wallace, will chair the event which will be followed by a reception to launch Harry Clifton’s new book in The Poet’s Chair series, ‘Ireland and its Elsewheres’ (UCD Press).
‘Songbook,’ in association with the Homebeat and Irish Writers Centre, brings together wordsmiths and music lovers, with Valerie Francis and Conor Deasy discussing the challenges of honing their craft.