Loose Leaves


Dawkins to spread the word in Dublin

An appearance by the controversial author, evolutionary biologist and humanist Richard Dawkins is to be one of the highlights of the 2012 Dublin Writers Festival, which will run from Monday, June 4th, to Sunday, June 10th. Dawkins, a high priest of atheism, will be in conversation at the National Concert Hall on Tuesday, June 5th, in association with the year-long Dublin City of Science festival, and tickets, priced at €18 and €20, are on sale from today at nch.ie.

From his first book, The Selfish Gene(1976), to what is probably his most famous work, the bestselling The God Delusion(2006), Dawkins has seen his task as one of helping nonscientists to understand difficult scientific concepts.

The Dublin Writers Festival is now in its 14th year, and programme director Liam Browne is putting the finishing touches to a schedule featuring dozens of writers from around the world in readings and conversations. There will also be free public events, film screenings and music. Full details will be announced at the end of April.

Buzz about ‘Stinging Fly’ continues 14 years on

Also celebrating its 14th birthday this year is the Stinging Flymagazine, whose first issue was published in March 1998, just as the Celtic Tiger was beginning to roar. It had 28 pages and contained the work of a handful of poets and storywriters.

Now the thrice-yearly journal, with its smaller format and its own book-publishing operation, looks likely to outlive the bust as well as the boom. However, as its editor, Declan Meade, points out in an interview on writing.ie, the challenges change but the struggle continues. “Our accomplishment,” he says, “is really just to have managed to stick around and to have picked out a lot of good work by a whole range of writers.”

The 128-page spring 2012 issue features new poems, fiction, essays and reviews, including a story by Mary Costello, whose collection, The China Factory, will be published by the Stinging Fly Press in May. See stingingfly.org.

On the bill at Waterford Writers’ Weekend

The investigative journalist Donal McIntyre, the former Beirut hostage Brian Keenan and the explorer Tim Severin are among the authors who will feature at Waterford Writers’ Weekend later this month, from Friday, March 23rd, to Sunday, March 25th. The programme promises a feast of workshops, author discussions and events for children, plus the announcement of the winners of the Seán Dunne Young Writers’ Awards.

“We are delighted to be able to bring such fantastic events to Waterford, featuring some of Ireland’s best-known authors, who will be discussing their life experiences,” says organiser Katherine Collins. “Children and families will get a great opportunity to meet and learn from their favourite award-winning writers, including Judi Curtin, Sarah Webb and Oisín McGann.”

For full details of the festival, with its many free events, see waterfordwritersweekend.ie; bookings can be made at garterlane.ieor 051-855038.

Last words on the many shades of love

Jason O’Donnell, a student at the National Learning Network in Limerick, is looking for submissions for a book of poems called The Colour of Love, his end-of-course project. The poems may be in any style on the theme of love. The book will be published in Limerick later this year. March 31st is the closing date; you can email submissions to limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com, with LOVE in the subject box. Please also include brief biographical details.