Major international names and local heroes abound at Writers' Week

From some of the biggest names in international literature to home grown talent making major waves in everything from books to television, Writers' Week 2019 is certainly not going to disappoint.

Taking place from Wednesday, May 29, to Sunday, June 2, this year's Fleadh is attracting massive interest already helped in no uncertain way by the publication last week of a vibrant programme jam-packed with events and activities for all ages.

Expect massive crowds from the get-go, with much-loved Irish writer Joseph O'Connor officially opening proceedings on the Wednesday night in a gala affair to set the scene to perfection for the succeeding days.

And there's at least one big event on the programme that is of massive and far-reaching importance for the entire North Kerry region: the Ard Chúram Day Care Centre's concert in the Community Centre on Thursday, May 30, from 8pm.

Featuring Fr Ray Kelly of Britain's Got Talent fame, leading Irish soprano Mary Culloty O'Sullivan and Listowel native Cyril Kelly, it's set to draw a massive crowd - all in aid of the Ard Chúram's campaign to now establish a specialist Dementia Centre for the community.

First among the myriad events at Writers' Week of intense literary interest will, of course, be the announcement of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year; something of an Irish Booker Prize moment celebrating the best of the nation's output in long-form fiction. The nominees are John Boyne (for A Ladder to the Sky); Jess Kidd (The Hoarder); Emer Martin (The Cruelty Men); David Park (Travelling in a Strange Land) and Sally Rooney (for the internationally-acclaimed Normal People).

That's just for starters as Wednesday night gives way to four days bursting at the seams with talent.

Carol Drinkwater of All Creatures Great and Small fame; Writers' Week president Colm Tóibín; Hugo Hamilton; North Kerry's own Gabriel Fitzmaurice; Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Niall 'Bressie' Bresli; Christine Dwyer Hickey; Douglas Kennedy, Elizabeth Day and Roddy Doyle - just a handful of the big names appearing this year.

Meanwhile, there's great interest ahead of a special discussion panel to be chaired by Fergal Keane, with Orla Guerin, Conor Brady and Kerry native former press ombudsman John Horgan examining the growing threat to democracy of the 'fake news' phenomenon - that's at 3pm in the Plaza on Saturday, June 1.

Another Writers' Week event of deep pride for the town will be the appearance of celebrated filmmaker PJ Dillon, a native of the town.

PJ Dillon: From Listowel to Westeros takes place in St John's Theature on Sunday, June 2 at 4.30pm and will see a man awarded Best Cinematographer by the British Society of Cinematographers speaking about his experiences working on such massive shows as Game of Thrones, Vikings and Ripper Street.

Kerryman

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