Friday 24 May 2019

Literary diary

Listowel Writers' Week is nearly here
Listowel Writers' Week is nearly here

Madeleine Keane

Twenty-five sleeps left till I head to Listowel Writers' Week. Roddy Doyle, Kit de Waal, John Boyne, Tishani Doshi and Jan Carson comprise the captivating quintet of authors I'm interviewing. Rick O'Shea will conduct 'Write Hawks', a nightly blend of jazz, wine and bibliophiles (this one included) talking about books. Douglas Kennedy (who's giving a master class), Hugo Hamilton, Carlo Pizzati and Elizabeth Day, among many others, feature on an energetic programme which includes yoga, beach walks, workshops and art exhibitions.

This much-loved festival, which celebrates its half century next year, will be officially opened on Wednesday May 29 by Joseph O'Connor and he will be interviewed next day alongside Donal Ryan - this redoubtable pair teach creative writing at the University of Limerick. Incidentally, I've just finished Joe's new novel Shadowplay: due out in June, it is a spellbinding account of the relationships between Bram Stoker, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. A stunner.

And staying with terrific books, a trio of inspiring tomes landed on my desk in recent days. Live While You Can (Hachette) is Father Tony Coote's deeply moving account of living and dealing with motor neurone disease, while in a totally different but no less inspiring vein, Lost Dog (Ebury Press) tells how journalist Kate Spicer found love and healing in a lurcher. Devoured by this dog lover in one entranced sitting. I found great solace on the Camino de Santiago so I'm looking forward to reading My Camino Through Grief. Limerick woman Lucy Dineen, who did this epic pilgrimage after the sudden death of her son, has written a chronicle of her journey in his memory. Available for sale at

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