Seeing the world in Waterford
LOOSE LEAVES:It may not be quite time for a summer holiday, but next week a trip to Lismore, in Co Waterford, will at least enable visitors to travel the world vicariously. From Thursday until tomorrow week, Immrama, the annual festival of travel writing, will be celebrating its 10th birthday with a mix of talks, panel discussions, workshops, walks, children’s events and the launch of an anthology of essays by travel writers who have participated in the first decade of the festival.
Among the guest speakers will be Colin Thubron, who will talk about his experiences in China; Tony Wheeler, a founder of the Lonely Planet guidebook series; and Mary Russell, who has travelled extensively in Syria and hopes to provide some insights into the crisis there. The main event on Friday, at 8pm in the Courthouse Theatre, will be a panel discussion on the legacy and influence of the travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, with a line-up consisting of Thubron, Wheeler, Jan Morris and Artemis Cooper, who is writing a biography of Leigh Fermor.
On Sunday, at Lismore Heritage Centre, the writer Paul Clements will give a day-long workshop, costing €60, on how to write creatively about the outdoors.
You’ll find details of these and other events, many of them free, at lismoreimmrama.com.
Listowel celebrates with award winners
On the other side of the country, in Co Kerry, it is not too late to catch a few events at Listowel Writers’ Week, where the weekend’s guest speakers and readers include Julian Gough, Anne Enright, Maureen Gaffney, Germaine Greer and Mary Kenny.
Among the highlights of the week so far was the opening of the festival on Wednesday by President Michael D Higgins, and the subsequent announcement of the winner of the €15,000 Kerry Group Irish Novel Award. This went to Christine Dwyer Hickey for her novel The Cold Eye of Heaven, ahead of a strong shortlist of works by Kevin Barry, Anne Enright, Carlo Gébler and Belinda McKeon. “The shortlist included five exceptionally talented Irish writers whose work will continue to enhance Ireland’s literary reputation internationally,” said Frank Hayes, of Kerry Group, who presented the award.
On the same evening, the President presented the inaugural John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with Mercier Press, to the poet Anthony Cronin.
For details of the remaining events at Listowel, see writersweek.ie.
Yeats readings at the National Gallery
If you can’t take the heat, step into the gallery. In conjunction with Yeats Day, which takes place in Sligo town on the poet’s birthday, June 13th, the National Gallery of Ireland, in Dublin, will be holding three free lunchtime readings of his work, given by Prof Maurice Harmon and Kathleen Watkins. The readings, in association with Poetry Ireland, are at 1pm on successive Wednesdays (June 6th, 13th and 20th) and are open to the public, with no need to book. See nationalgallery.ie.
Fighting Words launching books
Fighting Words, Dublin’s exceptionally productive creative-writing centre, published two books this week, and its cofounder Seán Love seems especially pleased with the results, describing the quality as extraordinary. One of the publications, Yet to Be Told, is an anthology of 24 stories by transition-year girls from Mount Carmel Girls’ Secondary School, in Dublin 1, which was launched by Maeve Binchy on Monday; the other, Jam, is a collection of “stunning-looking” graphic stories by 10 teenagers from Newpark Comprehensive School, in Blackrock in south Dublin, which was launched by the writer Paul Howard on Thursday.
The books, which cost €9.99 and €14.99 respectively, are available in bookshops or, with free postage, from fightingwords.ie.