Dua Lipa, Stephen Rea and Emma Dabiri: This week’s unmissable online events
Plus Marian Keyes, Frank McGuinness, Mick Fleetwood and the National Symphony Orchestra
Dua Lipa: the pop star will be at Elton John’s online Oscars pre-party, before the Academy Awards highlights are shown on Monday evening
Cuirt International Festival of Literature
Until Sunday, April 25th, free (pay what you can), cuirt.ie
You couldn’t have written a stranger story than the epic pandemic tale we’ve been through over the past year. This year’s gathering of writers, poets and thinkers will be hoping to make sense of it all and celebrate the best in fiction and nonfiction writing. This will be a pay-what-you-can event – and it should be worth every penny you can scrape together. A lot’s going on between now and Sunday, including:
- The Times Were Grand in Size and We Were Small (Thursday, April 22nd, 8.30pm) In this opening-night gala, the writer Lisa McInerney, the storyteller and writer Oein DeBhairduin, the writer and mental-health advocate Arnold Thomas Fanning, the writer (and TikTok sensation) Una-Minh Kavanagh, the songwriter Maija Sofia and the data scientist and writer Suad Aldarr will look at how the connections we take for granted have been profoundly challenged by the virus, and reflect on how they lost/found/regained connections with others over this strange, disconnected year.
- Emma Dabiri: What White People Can Do Next with Blindboy Boatclub (Thursday, April 22nd, 7pm)The Irish-Nigerian author’s debut book, Don’t Touch My Hair, was a fascinating exploration of the way that discrimination can be so subtle and widespread in Irish society that it goes almost unnoticed. Her second book of social commentary, What White People Can Do Next, takes on the sacred cow of Irish exceptionalism, and holds a mirror up to our own history of oppressing vulnerable groups, from immigration policy to direct provision to the housing crisis. Who better to join her in this sacred-cow takedown than the iconoclastic Blindboy Boatclub.
- The Disconnect: Róisín Kiberd with Mary McGill (Friday, April 23rd, 1pm) Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees or the web for the memes. Róisín Kiberd has a talent for unravelling the confused strands of our online lives and seeing the real picture behind the selfies, tweets, TikTok dances and deepfake videos. As she prepares to launch her essay collection The Disconnect, Kiberd talks with the journalist and digital-culture researcher Mary McGill about the ways our synapses have been reconfigured by our interaction with the internet.
- Nora: Nuala O’Connor (Friday, April 23rd, 5.30pm) The Dubliner Nuala O’Connor is now an adopted Galwegian, and she launches her new historical novel, Nora, in the stunning grounds of Ashford Castle, in this prerecorded event in conversation with Elaine Feeney. Nora is the tale of Nora Barnacle, the most famous muse in Irish literature, and the novel traces her life from working as a maid at Finn’s Hotel in Galway, where she meets and falls in love with a young James Joyce, to their extraordinary literary life together.
- Marian Keyes: Voice of a Nation (Saturday, April 24th) So you want to write, but you’re afraid to make the first move on the keyboard. Marian Keyes has not only written 14 bestselling novels but also shared her insights into the writing process and helped young (and not so young) writers overcome their fear of the blank Word document. Irrepressibly witty and upbeat, Keyes will talk about her writing life and answer audience questions afterwards via YouTube’s live chat.
The Visiting Hour by Frank McGuinness
Thursday, April 22nd, Friday, April 23rd, and Saturday, April 24th, 7.30pm, €15-€50, gatetheatre.ie
Some people sit by and simply watch events unfold; others get pen and paper and shape their own response to what’s happening around them. Frank McGuinness has written a play set during the pandemic, addressing issues close to our hearts as we are forced apart, and performed and recorded in the Gate Theatre auditorium. Stephen Rea stars as an elderly father, with Judith Roddy as his daughter who visits him in the nursing home. The conversation takes place through the nursing-home window, as father and daughter share their very conflicting memories of the past. Beware: this is one family visit that may leave you emotionally drained. Directed by Caitriona McLaughlin, the play is part of the Gate at Home initiative to bring bespoke productions streamed from the Gate straight to your gaff.