Saturday 27 December 2014

Host of talent set to debate at Franco-Irish festival

Published 31/03/2014 | 02:30

Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam

A STARTLING thing about hearing an author speak is that sometimes they sound so completely different to the voice which was in your head while you were reading their work. The Franco-Irish Literary Festival is a fantastic opportunity to put an actual voice on some of the newest Irish writers on the block.

Up for discussion at this year's festival – running from April 4-6 – and between the French and Irish authors on the panels, will be the question "Can lives be changed?" Authors will be asked to consider the arenas of politics, romance, exile, and even metaphysics.

So which voices will be debating the possibility of changing lives? On the Irish side, the contingent of young authors taking part in this year's festival, which will take place in both Dublin Castle and the Alliance Francaise, will include Eimear McBride and Donal Ryan who both made big waves with their debut novels.

McBride's novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, was described as "emotionally raw" and won the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize last year.

Donal Ryan won the 2013 Guardian First Book Award with his debut novel The Spinning Heart, an angry portrait of rural life in post-crash Ireland.

They'll be joined by literary stalwarts Deirdre Madden, Theo Dorgan, and Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, at the bicultural literary festival which is organised jointly by the Alliance Francaise Dublin and the Cultural Section of the French Embassy.

Jessica Traynor, winner of the 2013 Hennessy New Writer of the Year, will also have her say, at a festival at which all events are open to the public.

As for the French authors who are coming to our shores to share their philosophies on how people's lives can, or cannot, be changed, we can look forward to hearing from Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam, a modern literature professor based in Paris, who last year won both the Prix Alexandre-Vialatte and Prix du Roman Quest-France Etonnants Voyageurs.

Philippe Vasset spends his nights writing novels, most recently La conjuration, which was published last year, and his days working as editor-in chief of Intelligence Online, a newsletter on government intelligence agencies and their counterparts in the corporate sector. Plenty of food for thought here for him, then.

  • For more information log on to www.francoirishliteraryfestival.com

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