Word for Word: a Swift start to July events
Satirical homage in Trim, Co Meath: Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), as depicted in an oil painting by Charles Jervas. Photograph: DeAgostini/Getty Images
Jonathan Swift was appointed vicar of Laracor, near Trim, Co Meath, in 1700, and each year Trim pays homage (and boosts local tourism) with the Swift Satire Festival, which this year runs from next Thursday until tomorrow week. Aside from the usual acerbic performances from comedians, there are the Gulliver Gathering, at which all of Gulliver’s Travels will be read by 302 people (one page per reader) in the biggest simultaneous reading undertaken in Ireland, and The Great Goat Bubble, a rehearsed reading of Julian Gough’s satirical play. Call 087-9855072 or see
The Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif is among the international writers who will be in Bantry for West Cork Literary Festival, which runs from tomorrow week until July 13th. The Somalian writer Nuruddin Farah will also be there, and Ruth Padel will be reading a poem at the opening and holding a workshop. Other contributors include Mary Robinson (discussing her autobiography), Philip Hensher, Deborah Levy and Jane Murray-Flutter (speaking about the life and work of her mother, Rumer Godden), as well as the Irish writers Pat Boran, Anne Enright, Julie O’Callaghan and Darren Shan. See westcorkliteraryfestival.ie.
Elsewhere in Co Cork, the spoken-word strand of Kinsale Arts Festival, which runs from next Saturday until July 14th, will include an evening with Cal Doyle, Leontia Flynn, Matthew Geden and Paul Ó Colmáin, hosted by Adam Wyeth, at the Lord Kingsdale on July 9th at 8.30pm (tickets cost €7 or €5). The Impac prize winner Kevin Barry will be at the same venue two nights later, July 11th, at 8pm (tickets €12). There will also be a chance to see all the videos and poems from the wonderful Poetry Project, commissioned by the festival to coincide with Ireland’s presidency of the EU council. For details, see kinsaleartsfestival.com.
Colum McCann will read from his novel TransAtlantic at Hotel Meyrick in Galway on July 16th (tickets €10) as part of Galway Arts Festival (galwayartsfestival.com). Carlo Gébler will be in conversation with the writers David Park (July 18th) and Glenn Patterson (19th) at the Central Library in Letterkenny,
Co Donegal, as part of Earagail Arts Festival (eaf.ie).
The Gerard Manley Hopkins Festival, dedicated to the Victorian poet and Jesuit priest, is 26 years old this summer, when it runs from July 19th to 26th at Newbridge College, in Co Kildare. The festival, which reflects the poet’s wide interests, includes not just readings and workshops but also art exhibitions, classical and traditional music concerts, and field trips. See gerardmanleyhopkins.org.
John Hewitt Summer School has an impressive line-up, including the British poet Simon Armitage, who’ll be reading with Medbh McGuckian; Gavin Corbett; James Byrne, who’ll read with Órfhlaith Foyle; and Deirdre Madden. The festival runs from July 22nd to 26th at the Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre in Armagh. See marketplacearmagh.com and johnhewittsociety.org; the box office is at 048-37521821.
Co Sligo’s Season of Yeats enables the county to stretch its Yeats connection through the summer. It began on June 13th (the poet’s birthday and now Yeats Day) and continues with the Tread Softly festival and Yeats Summer School. Tread Softly, from July 25th to August 9th, includes music, exhibitions, theatre
and the spoken word, with contributions from Seamus Heaney, John Banville and Paula Meehan. See seasonofyeats.com.
Cathy Dillon is an Irish Times journalist.