Saturday 19 October 2019

Literary Diary: October is shaping up to be a particularly fine vintage

Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables

Madeleine Keane

I'm with Anne of Green Gables, who declared 'I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers'. Autumn foliage, bonfires, the theatre festival, lots of new literature and many loved ones' birthdays (my own included) make it my favourite month of the year. And this is shaping up to be a particularly fine vintage.

It kicks off next Thursday, October 3, with Emma Donoghue who will be in Trinity College to talk about and read from Akin. Her first contemporary work since Room, this sounds brilliant: a tale of love, loss and family in which a retired New York professor's life is thrown into chaos when he takes his great-nephew to the French Riviera, in hope of uncovering his own mother's wartime secrets. Admission is free, but booking essential on

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The first weekend of October brings Echoes, an annual festival honouring the late much-loved Maeve Binchy in her home village of Dalkey. I'm looking forward to taking part in a panel on Saturday, October 5 along with Christine Dwyer Hickey, Caroline Erskine and Mary Pat Kelly, discussing the experiences of Irish writers abroad. For tickets and other programme details, go to

A couple of train stops along the coast in Dun Laoghaire, the consistently excellent DLR series continues with two wonderful authors. Mary Costello is back with a new book The River Capture and she'll be talking about it at DLR Lexicon on Wednesday, October 23 at 7.30pm. Tickets from

My best Irish novel this year was the captivating Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor. The story of thespians Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Bram Stoker, it took in Jack the Ripper too. No better woman to grill him about it then than the redoutable Liz Nugent. Happening Wednesday, October 30 at 8pm in Dun Laoghaire's Pavilion Theatre.Tickets €15 and €12 from

Finally, two plays by my friend, the fabulous Nancy Harris - The Beacon at the Gate and Two Ladies at London's Bridge - will round off a delightful month.

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