The month the season hits its stride


WORD FOR WORD:The spring season is already underway in the book world. This week, and on the last Saturday of every month, Word for Word will bring you the word on word-related events – readings, slams, festivals and more – around the country over the next four weeks.

In the west, February’s Over the Edge open reading takes place at Galway City Library next Thursday, from 6.30pm to 8pm, with featured readers Mia Gallagher, Dawn Wisniewski and Ruth Quinlan. As usual, there will be an open mic, and new readers are always welcome. The details of this year’s Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition will also be announced (

Ennis Book Club Festival is always one to circle on the calendar, and this year it’s on the first weekend in March (1st to 3rd ). It’s a unique festival in that the emphasis is firmly on the readers, and it’s an opportunity for book clubs, and individuals, from around the country to meet in this lovely place, discuss and recommend books to one another. As well, of course, as listening to readings by writers, who this year include Marina Lewycka, John Banville, Joseph O’Connor, Fergal Keane (of the BBC) and Michael Harding.

The festival is doing its bit for the Gathering initiative by hosting a Giant Book Club Gathering event, where Joseph O’Connor and participants will discuss his novel Star of the Sea on Friday. On Saturday afternoon poets and readers will gather in the Old Ground Hotel to remember and read from the work of the poet Dennis O’Driscoll, who died recently. There will be theatre, lectures and much more besides. Tickets for all events at all venues are available from Glór Theatre box office (065-6843103;

In Dublin, Poetry Ireland, in association with the Irish Writers’ Centre (01-8721302;, has organised a short season of prose and poetry readings on alternate Fridays, with Rosmarie Rowley (Friday, March 1st, 1.05pm), Selina Guinness (8th), Kathy Darcy (15th) and David Park (22nd). And also at the centre, as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge, there will be an Evening of Poetry and Music, at 7pm on Tuesday, March 5th, featuring the poets Gabriel Rosenstock and Aifric Mac Aodha and Irish-speaking musicians (and light refreshments). All the events are free.

The poets Michael Schmidt and Iggy McGovern will be reading in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin on Monday, March 11th, at 7pm (01-6789815,, and, as part of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Festival, the poet and broadcaster Pat Boran and the poet and Irish Times poetry editor, Gerard Smyth, will present Dublin Made Me: Poems of the City, with musical accompaniment, in the Reading Room of the

National Library, on Thursday, March 14th, at 6.30pm


In Cork, the Ó Bhéal crew continue their Monday-night open mics with, this month, guests Cahal Dallat (March 4th), Joe Steve Ó Neachtain (11th), Maurice Devitt and Orla Fay (18th) and Ann Joyce (25th). All are upstairs at the Long Valley bar, on Winthrop Street, and start at 9pm. Entrance is free (

And finally, in the North, Armagh Library has free workshops and readings designed to empower women poets, with Denise Blake, Deirdre Cartmill and Moyra Donaldson on Saturday, March 9th, from 11am to 4pm (

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