The festival season kicks off with Listowel event
It's coming up to literary festival time again, starting with Listowel Writers' Week at the end of this month and continuing with a west Cork alternative a few weeks later, though with both of them featuring Eimear McBride, whose debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, won the inaugural Goldsmiths prize and is shortlisted both for the Bailey prize and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year award.
Listowel will also be hosting a discussion of non-fiction writing with Hugo Hamilton, Jim Crace and Molly McCloskey, while among the other authors turning up to speak in the Kerry town will be novelists Donal Ryan, Paul Lynch, Louise Doughty, Michele Forbes and Douglas Kennedy, and Belfast poet Sinead Morrissey, who won the prestigious TS Eliot prize a few months ago for her collection, Parallax.
The festival runs from May 28 until June 1 and you'll find all the details at www.writersweek.ie.
The West Cork Literary Festival runs from July 6 to 12 at various venues in Bantry. Nell Regan, first-time artistic director of the event, confesses herself "thrilled at the calibre and range" of the writers who've agreed to be there, though why anyone could possibly refuse a trip to that lovely town beats me.
Indeed, in keeping with the location, there are a few events with a maritime theme, including a reading on Whiddy Island and a travel writing workshop. And writers will also be coming together to read Seamus Heaney's work and to talk about his life and his influence. More details are to be found at www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie.
If you're 39 years old or younger and have written a novel or short stories or poems or essays or film or radio scripts that you think are the bee's knees, you might well think of submitting them for the international Dylan Thomas Prize, which is offering a cool £30,000 (€36,400) to the winner.
You'll have to hurry, though, as the closing date for entries is May 30. You'll learn more about it by logging on to: www.swansea. ac.uk/dylan-thomas-prize.