Pillow Queens perform, President Higgins and Colm Tóibín chat: This week’s unmissable online events

Plus: Dalkey Book Festival, Varo & Special Guests and play at Smock Alley Theatre

Pillow Queens (L-R) Sarah Corcoran (vocals, guitar, bass); Pamela Connolly (vocals, guitar, bass); Cathy McGuinness (guitar) and Rachel Lyons (drums) – playing at Rock Against Homelessness

Pillow Queens (L-R) Sarah Corcoran (vocals, guitar, bass); Pamela Connolly (vocals, guitar, bass); Cathy McGuinness (guitar) and Rachel Lyons (drums) – playing at Rock Against Homelessness

An Evening with President Michael D Higgins and Colm Tóibín
Thursday, June 17th, 6.30pm, €8, crowdcast.io
Forget G7 summits and Davos and all that – here’s an earth-shaking meeting of minds as two of Ireland’s most towering intellects – President Michael D Higgins and author Colm Tóibín – meet up for a bit of an aul’ chat about stuff. They’ll be discussing the thrill of re-engaging with European culture and building a more inclusive and ecologically sustainable society, Ireland as a cultural force to be reckoned with and general stuff about literature, poetry and the many ways we can inspire change in people’s lives. The conversation itself took place on Bloomsday before being broadcast today, so you can be sure that Joyce and the ineluctible modality of the visible will come up along the way. This is the final in the Spring Series of the Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas, and they’ve probably left this until last because your brain will most likely need a long rest after this rigorous intellectual workout.

Colm Tóibín meeting President Michael D Higgins. Photograph: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty
Colm Tóibín meeting President Michael D Higgins. Photograph: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty

Dalkey Book Festival @ The Tower
June 18th-20th, €50, dalkeybookfestival.org
When life becomes a dystopian novel, where do writers look for inspiration? That’s one of the questions that will be addressed over three days at this virtual version of the annual festival of literature in the scenic town of Dalkey. Over the past year of the pandemic, books have provided a welcome solace and distraction from world events, and also provided a way to pass the time during endless lockdowns. Festival organiser David McWilliams is staging the festival in the martello tower in Dalkey, an iconic location for a livestream. Among the guests being beamed in from around the world are science boffin Prof Brian Cox, Turkish-British author Elif Shafak and Chilean author Isabel Allende, but the inside of the tower will be turned into a studio space for guests including President Michael D Higgins, Conor McPherson and Anne Enright. More guests are set to be announced for this three-day online extravaganza, during which the winner of the Dalkey Literary Award for 2021, sponsored by Zurich, will be announced.

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