A feast of Joyce, Poetry Day Ireland, Little Island’s birthday and Leabhar Notaí

Literary listings: highbrow high teas; poems to make men cry; children's publisher turns five; and historical fiction as Gaeilge

A Feast of Epiphanies

One to watch out for over the summer months is A Feast of Epiphanies, a new series of “literary-salon” events based around the works of James Joyce. Organised by independent publisher Tramp and the James Joyce Centre, the first event on Thursday, April 30th is sold out but tickets are still available for the salons in June and July. All events take place at the James Joyce Centre on North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1. This week’s event focuses on writers engaging with contemporary Ireland, with Oona Frawley, Roddy Doyle, Kevin Power and Peter Sheridan participating. The second event on June 11th looks at Joyce in the run-up to Bloomsday and will feature Paul Murray, Belinda McKeon and Dermot Bolger. The third night on July 23rd aims to showcase Ireland’s most exciting new writers.

High tea is on the menu at each of the salons, with audience members served a series of delicious-sounding small courses (Teeling Whiskey glazed ham, Skellig white chocolate scones) while getting the chance to sit amongst authors and discuss the topics of the evening. "The salon-styled evenings are designed to be informal," says Sarah-Davis Goff of Tramp Press. "We want to join writers and other arts and literary folk with readers and consumers of culture to break down perceived walls between the groups." More information here.

Poetry Day Ireland

Poetry Day Ireland takes place on Thursday, May 7th with a variety of countrywide events celebrating the importance of poetry in Irish culture. Over 50 readings, workshops and initiatives will be held across the island. Highlights include Paul Durcan in conversation with Tipperary hurling manager Eamon O'Shea at the Source Arts Centre in Thurles, poets and crime writers Sophie Hannah and Paul Perry reading in Green Street Courthouse in Dublin 7, a Poetry Wave across 16 branches of Cork County Libraries, poets in schools on three of Ireland's populated islands, and an interactive map of Dublin-themed Twitter poetry for mobile phones. Books Upstairs on D'Olier Street, Dublin 2 will present lunchtime readings from the Poems that make Grown Men Cry anthology with authors Paul Lynch (The Black Snow) and Paul Murray (Skippy Dies), crime novelist Declan Hughes (All the Things You Are) and literary publicist Cormac Kinsella reading selected poems from the anthology. Poetry Ireland will also distribute 40,000 poetry cards across the country, including 10,000 poetry menus to patients in hospitals, and a series of coffee and chocolate-themed poems in Butlers Chocolate Cafés. For a full list of events see www.poetryday.ie.

Little Island turns five

Independent Irish children’s publisher Little Island celebrates its fifth birthday with the publication of its 50th novel, The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde, on Thursday, May 14th in the National Library of Ireland. The publishing house, whose editor Siobhán Parkinson was the first Laureate na nÓg, has made a name for itself by bringing international children’s titles into Ireland and doing translations from other languages into English for the Irish market. Elaina Ryan of Children’s Books Ireland will preside over the birthday party, with Dr Amanda Piesse of Trinity College launching The Wordsmith, which is described as a work of speculative fiction about the power of language. The launch will be followed by a reading from Forde, a book signing and a slice of birthday cake for all.

Leabhar Notaí

Irish language literature gets a boost this summer with Imram promising a programme of “eclectic events that blend poetry, prose, film, drama and music in lively, upbeat venues.” First up is a “meet the author” event at the Irish Writers Centre at 7pm on Tuesday, May 5th. Buail leis an Údar is an evening with Liam Mac Cóil, whose first novel, An Dochtúir Áthas, won acclaim for its fusion of detective fiction and Freudian psychoanalysis. Mac Cóil’s historical novels include Fontenoy and An Litir and he is also the author of An Chláirseach agus an Choróin, a biographical study of the composer Charles Villiers Standford. After reading from his work, the author will join MC Cathal Poirtéir in conversation, with the audience invited to join in.

As part of the International Literature Festival Dublin (ilfdublin.com), Imram will host a historical fiction evening at An Siopa Leabhair, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 on Monday, May 18th. The panel, chaired by Cathal Póirtéir, will discuss everything from the Battle of Fontenoy to historically inspired detective novels. Panelists include Liam Mac Cóil; Darach Ó Scolaí, author of An Cléireach; and Seán Ó Dúrois (Rí na gCearrbhach and Crann Smola).

Smock Alley in Temple Bar is the venue for an evening of war literature on Tuesday, May 19th. Exploring themes of war and violence, Cogaí is a multimedia show of dance, music, prose and screen projections, based on the short story collection of the same title by Dáithí Ó Muirí. It features acclaimed dancer and choreographer Fearghus Ó Conchúir, guitarist and composer Enda Reilly and screen projections created by Margaret Lonergan. Two other events to watch out for at Smock Alley include The Poems and Bass Project on Thursday, May 21st at 8pm, with poets Marcus Mac Conghail, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Liam Ó Muirthile and Séamus Barra Ó Súilleabháin joining bass players Martin Brunsden, Neville Lloyd and Eoin O'Brien, and on Friday, Mary 22nd at 8pm, The Dirty Dust: The Ó Cadhain Project, which promises a multimedia bi-lingual show centred on Máirtín Ó Cadhain's seminal text Cré na Cille. More information and booking details at www.imram.ie.

Contact sarah.gilmartin@gmail.com with your literary listings

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