Dublin Book Festival launched


Over 148 authors will take part in this year’s Dublin Book Festival, the fifth such celebration of Irish writing and publishing.

Running from next Tuesday, November 13th, to Sunday, November 18th, the programme features over 60 events including readings, interviews, political and current affairs discussions, poetry, book-binding workshops and children’s entertainment.

Julianne Mooney, who organised the festival programme, says its central aim is "to create a community atmosphere in which to show the diversity, vitality and talent of Irish publishers and writers".

The opening event on Tuesday, entitled Inspiring Lives, Inspiring Stories features writers Dervla Murphy and Alice Taylor in conversation with arts broadcaster Sean Rocks.

“A lot of the theme of the whole festival is inspiration so I’m trying to draw the authors into telling us where they have drawn their inspiration from over the years,” Ms Mooney says.

The main festival venue is the newly restored Smock Alley Theatre, an inspirational space in itself.

The nearby Gutter Bookshop will also host a number of events, including a talk on Thomas Leland’s Longsword and its place in Irish Gothic literature.

Publishers Eoin Purcell, Aoife Walsh and Antony Farrell will take part in a discussion on ebooks versus old-school books in the main theatre on Friday November 16th.

On Saturday November 17th, the Leviathan political cabaret hosts a discussion entitled We are where we are, but how did we get here? The politics of boom and bust. Chaired by Andrea Pappin, the panel features former Fianna Fáil minister Mary O’Rourke, RTÉ’s political correspondent David McCullagh, former Green Party chairman Dan Boyle and columnist Carol Hunt.

In the main theatre, also on Saturday November 17th, Broadcaster John Bowman will discuss the research and writing of his book Window and Mirror, RTÉ television 1961-2011, in conversation with historian Diarmaid Ferriter.

Publisher Michael O’Brien, who chairs the festival’s voluntary committee, recalls that the Smock Alley Theatre was in a sorry state not much more than a year ago.

With the help of a grant from the Department of Arts, as well as philanthropic donations, the theatre’s director Patrick Sutton brought the building in Temple Bar back to life.

He notes that the festival will take place in an area historically associated with the publishing industry in Dublin. His own father started his business in adjacent Parliament Street and the Dollard printing house was also located in the area.

“It’s the only festival in the country that’s about Irish publishing and we feel that’s culturally very important. I think people are very curious also to look at this place [the theatre],” Mr O’Brien said.

While entry to many of the events is free, there will be a charge for the ticketed evening events and panel discussions. Ms Mooney recommends booking online but some tickets may be available at the door.

Authors John Bowman, Sinead Moriarty, Niamh O’Connor, Dermot Bolger, Jimmy Magee, Sheila O’Flanagan and Senator Feargal Quinn were present for the launch of the festival at the Smock Alley Theatre today.

The festival will be opened by Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan on Tuesday evening. The Irish Times is a sponsor of the event.

The full programme is available at dublinbookfestival.com

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