Word for Word: Autumn festivals fall upon us

 Anna Carey: will speak at the Smock Alley Theature on Saturday, November 16th, as part of Dublin Book Festival. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Anna Carey: will speak at the Smock Alley Theature on Saturday, November 16th, as part of Dublin Book Festival. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien


The last autumn leaves are drifting down, and in Co Laois they’re marking the fall with the Leaves Literary Festival, next Friday and Saturday. Events include an evening of readings (Friday), featuring Donal Ryan, Michael Harding and Rita Kelly, with music from the violinist Lily Kettle (Arthouse, Library Building, Stradbally, 8pm, €12/€10). On Saturday, Paul Durcan will read from his new book and selected poems. Music from the harpist Claire O’Donnell (Preston House, Abbeyleix, 8pm, €12/€10). Rita Kelly will give a creative-writing workshop, Dr Arthur Broomfield will talk about his new book on Beckett (both Dumamaise arts centre, Portlaoise, on Saturday). dunamaise.ie.

November is also the month of the marvellous, mainly free, Dublin Book Festival (14th- 17th). A huge variety of events includes poetry readings, author discussions, cookery demonstrations and writing workshops. Here’s just a taster: the playwright Frank McGuinness will be in conversation with Sean Rocks of RTÉ at Smock Alley Theatre (Thursday, 7.45pm, €10/€8). At the same venue, editors and contributors to the former Irish women’s blog The Anti Room, including the journalists Sinéad Gleeson, Anna Carey and Jennifer Ridyard and the authors Christine Dwyer Hickey and Nuala Ní Chonchúir, will be exploring the role of gender in writing (Saturday 16th, 4.30-5.30pm). The Day of the Imprisoned Writer (Friday 15th, Black Box, Smock Alley, 6pm) celebrates writers who resist repression. Theo Dorgan and Shona Murray will read from the work of some such writers. Dublin Writers present a reading by Leanne O’Sullivan, Sinéad Morrissey and Sarah Clancy (Saturday 16th, 3pm, Boys’ School, Smock Alley). Schools and children’s programmes include workshops on diary writing, vampires, superheroes and book binding. Guests include Lauren Kate; Kevin Stevens, author of The Powers; Erika McGann, author of Demon NoteBook; Debbie Thomas; and Colm Keegan. See dublinbookfestival.com.

Finally, in Cork, the folks who run the excellent Ó Bhéal Monday poetry sessions at the Long Valley bar on Winthrop Street have organised the first Winter Warmer Festival, a weekend of poetry featuring 21 poets, four of whom will be performing to music. Oikos will present a live installation influenced by butoh and body-weather practices, and there’s a preview of Seamus Murphy’s new poetry film, Snake: Poetry of Afghanistan’s Women, as well as a closed-mic for 10 local poets. November 15th-16th at the Sample Studios Amphitheatre, on Sullivan’s Quay. Poets include Marie Coveney, Seamus Barra Ó Súilleabháin and Cal Doyle. Free; obheal.ie.

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