Joseph O’Neill and Irvine Welsh for Cúirt festival

Sara Baume and Colm Tóibín will also take part in this year’s literary event in Galway

Man Booker long-listed writer Joseph O'Neill, Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye and Scottish novelist and playwright Irvine Welsh will read at this year's Cúirt international festival of literature in Galway next month.

Hennessy award winner Sara Baume, poet Paul Durcan and writer Colm Tóibín will also take part in the 30th anniversary event, details of which were announced on Tuesday evening.

"Love, loss, loneliness, intention and curiousity" are among the themes explored in the programme, which was drawn up by festival director Dani Gill and producer Páraic Breathnach.

A special tribute to the late writer Dermot Healy with author Kevin Barry and the 150th anniversary of the birth of poet WB Yeats will be marked during the festival. There will also be field trips to Yeats-associated territory in south Galway, including trips to Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee.


‘New British’

The festival’s roots are in poetry, and the programme will present work from “new British” voices in the field.

A UK arts council mentoring project known as The Complete Works II has raised the number of black and Asian poets published in Britain from one to eight per cent. As part of this initiative, there will be readings in Galway by Zambian-born Kayo Chingonyi and Hong Kong-born Sarah Howe.

Elsewhere, North American writer Jenny Offill will read with Australian/south London writer Evie Wyld, and Irish language poets Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Louis de Paor will pair up for a lunchtime session in An Taibhdhearc theatre.

University College Cork emeritus professor Alan Titley will deliver the Anne Kennedy memorial lecture on his translation of Máirtín Ó Cadhain's classic Cré na Cille, while Macedonian poet Nikola Madzirov will read with Gallery Press founder Peter Fallon.

Identity, home and the "idea of belonging" will be discussed by Canadian writers Vincent Lam, Marjorie Celona and Dionne Brand, and Canadian author Lawrence Hill will discuss his lifelong obsession with blood.

Cúirt will also celebrate new writing, with the Galway-based Over the Edge project scheduled, along with the annual poetry grand slam and a number of workshops.

There will be "kitchen readings" with poets Sarah Clancy, Elaine Feeney and Little John Nee, and Carraroe library sessions with Máire Ní Chualáin, Gemma Breathnach and Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáín.

Music and drama

Music includes the "upbeat, jangly and folky" group My Fellow Sponges and Clifden-based singer-songwriter Sharon Murphy.

There will also be drama, with Women in Arms by Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy being staged by NUI Galway's Centre for Theatre and Performance and the Galway Arts Centre.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times