Saturday 23 March 2019

Gifted storytellers line up for Dun Laoghaire festival

A superb line-up has been assembled for the Dun Laoghaire festival
A superb line-up has been assembled for the Dun Laoghaire festival

Madeline Keane

It goes without saying that I love book festivals and especially those happening in my 'hood'. The Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival is back this year in Dun Laoghaire from March 28-31.

A superb line up includes husband and wife duo Michael Holroyd and Margaret Drabble, Maria Alyokhina from Pussy Riot, Sebastian Barry, Tracey Thorn, Diarmaid Ferriter, Sally Rooney and plenty of poetry. Stephen Rea will perform Seamus Heaney's Aeneid VI and a vibrant programme for little readers includes Shane Hegarty, Gabrielle Kent, Sadhbh Devlin, MG Leonard as well as performances of Roald Dahl's fearless Little Red Riding Hood and The Secret Garden and for all Whovians, Dave Rudden's very special Dr Who Quiz. Booking and full details of all events from www.mountainstosea.ie.

Heartening to hear Catherine Dunne will be presented (in Dun Laoghaire's Royal St George Yacht Club) with the 2018 Irish PEN award on Friday next by Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan for her wonderful contribution to literature. As Catherine observed, "writing is a mostly solitary occupation and sometimes we writers feel invisible. It's always uplifting to know that our work is out there, making connections all over the country". Admired for her novels, Missing Julia, The Things We Know Now and The Years That Followed, Dunne's work is much loved in Italy where she won the Giovanni Boccaccio International Award for fiction. Bravo, bella!

Let's conclude our literary peregrinations in Greece, the inspiration behind Alone in Amphitheatres (American University of Paris €20). A compelling confluence of poetry, painting and architecture, this handsome publication opens with Rory Brennan's lyrical paean to the "magnificence and menace, the vulnerability and power, the intensity and timelessness that such spaces evoke" and is accompanied by artist Rafael Mahdavi's powerful visual response. Available from Books Upstairs, D'Olier Street, Dublin 2.

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