Word for Word: Festivals for the festive season

Literary events can be a bit thin on the ground around Christmas. So here’s where to look

At Winter Tales, in  Dalkey: Frank McGuinness. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

At Winter Tales, in Dalkey: Frank McGuinness. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons


nChristmas is the busiest time of the year for booksellers – and readers – so it’s a bit surprising that book festivals, so abundant at other times, are a bit thin on the ground in deep winter. To remedy this the people at Dalkey Book Festival are running Winter Tales, a sort of pop-up festival, on Saturday, December 7th.

There’s lots to enjoy: Ross O’Carroll-Kelly reading from his latest book, Downturn Abbey; Pat McCabe talking about his work with Miriam O’Callaghan; Frank McGuinness (below) doing the same with Joanne Hayden; Pat Leahy, Lucinda Creighton, Dearbhail McDonald and Stephen Donnelly in a discussion entitled New Party, New Politics?; Eamon Dunphy on The Rocky Road with Sam Smyth; and Anne Enright, Declan Hughes, Alison Jameson, Conor Brady, Elske Rahill and David McWilliams giving the lowdown on their favourite books. Oh, and Colm O’Regan talking about mammies.

It’s all at the town hall in Dalkey, and all events cost €7. Tickets from 086-0542531; dalkeybookfestival.org.


In Galway, the final Over The Edge open reading of 2013 is at Galway City Library on Thursday, December 19th
(6.30-8pm). The readers are Eileen Sheehan, Karl Parkinson, June Caldwell and Deborah Watkins. Before that, the All Ireland Poetry Grand Slam is at The Crane Bar on Monday, December 9th, from 7pm, with poets from all four provinces competing. overtheedgeliteraryevents.blogspot.com


Luka Bloom headlines a fundraiser for the Western Writers’ Centre (Ionad Scríobhneoirí­ Chaitlín Maude) on Saturday, December 14th, at Johnston’s Hall, Kinvara, Co Galway (doors 9pm, €12/€10 concessions). He will be joined by the poet Ciaran O’Driscoll, singer Elsa Jean McTaggart, John Faulkner, and TG4 musician of the year Dermot Byrne, among others.

nIn Belfast, the poet Vona Groarke, whose most recent collection, Spindrift, was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award and was a Poetry Book Society recommendation, will be giving a free reading at Crescent Arts Centre next Thursday at 8pm.

nLimerick Writers’ Centre is holding its monthly On the Nail gathering with guests Joe Sweeney and Gene Barry and an open mic at the Loft,

Locke Bar, Georges Quay, next Tuesday at 8pm; 087-2996409; onthenailreadings.blogspot.ie.

nFinally, in Cork, the bilingual Kerry poet Dairena Ní­ Chinéide is the guest at the free weekly Ó Bhéal session on Monday, at the Long Valley, on Winthrop Street, from 9pm; Joseph Horgan and musician Adrian Boyle will be there on December 9th. obheal.ie.

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