International Literature Festival Dublin – 24th May
The International Literature Festival Dublin, founded in 1998, is Ireland’s premier literary event and gathers the finest writers in the world to debate, provoke, delight and enthral.
Described by the press as ‘boasting a stunning array of top international literary talent’ and ‘the country’s most successful and easily the best annual literary event’, International Literature Festival Dublin line-up is sure to impress.
12:00: Sofi Oksanen
“a literary phenomenon” - The Times
Sofi Oksanen has long been celebrated in her native Finland. But it was her bestselling novel Purge, a dazzling tale of two generations of Estonia women grappling with Soviet occupation and the sudden freedoms of the 1990s, that shot her to international fame. She talks to award-winning Soviet historian Anne Applebaum about When the Doves Disappeared, a new novel that tells the gripping story of two cousins – principled freedom fighter Roland and slippery Edgar – whose paths cross in the 1960s, when Edgar is a communist apparatchik desperate to conceal his past.
14:00: Gerbrand Bakker
“an assured and mature new voice … in European fiction” - The Guardian
With just two novels (IMPAC-winning The Twin and The Detour, which won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize), Dutch novelist Gerbrand Bakker has established himself as one of the leading figures in contemporary European fiction. His work – spare, unsentimental and rooted in sensory descriptions of place – often maps the territory of grief, and his new novel, June, is no exception. When Anna Kaan, grandmother of the Kaan clan, retreats into the family hayloft with a bottle of Advocaat and stubbornly refuses to come down, her protest gradually exposes the impact of one terrible day, forty years before, on three generations of lives. Bakker discusses June with journalist and broadcaster Mick Heaney.
16:00: Dermot Bolger & Christine Dwyer Hickey
This event pairs two major Irish writers whose new work explores the simmering tensions and suppressed desires of the suburbs.
“Bolger combines the subtlety of a poet with the artistry of a master storyteller” - Joseph O’Connor
Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s best-known poets, playwrights and novelists. Tanglewood, his first novel for ten years, follows the mounting tensions in two marriages when neighbours agree to build a townhouse on shared land.
“Christine Dwyer Hickey is as diverse and original a talent as one could hope to find” - The Irish Times
Acclaimed novelist and short story writer Christine Dwyer Hickey’s last work, The Cold Eye of Heaven, won the Irish Novel of the Year in 2012. Her latest, The Lives of Women, takes place in the 1970s, when suburban teenager Elaine takes her first fateful steps into the adult world.
18:00:Deirdre Madden, Eoin McNamee & Selina Guinness: Irish Short Stories
To mark the launch of All Over Ireland, a new anthology of Irish short stories, ILF Dublin brings the book’s editor, Deirdre Madden, together with two contributors – author and lecturer Selina Guinness and novelist Eoin McNamee – to explore the unique challenges and opportunities of the form. The short story, VS Pritchett once said, is “exquisitely difficult” to write, yet it’s a form at which Irish writers excel. In the age of tablets and ebooks there may never have been a better time to be a short story writer, but what does it take to write a great one?
The event is chaired by Stephen Matterson, professor of English at Trinity College Dublin.
19:30 & 21:00: Alas Awake
Drawing on contemporary choral work, collage, improvisation, live electronics and installation this ambitious project is an abstract homage to one of literature’s great works of abstraction. The acclaimed composer and performer Seán Mac Erlaine presents a new site-specific setting of Finnegans Wake for improvising choir, woodwinds, electronics and film. Presented as a theatre-style promenade piece, audiences will be led through an abandoned Georgian residence in a heightened environment conjuring the world and epoch of Joyce’s Dublin. These innovative artists will work with the poetic elements of the book, without an overt attempt to translate the text, creating an atmospheric sound-and-image world both immersive and beautiful.
Clarinets, electronics, composition: Seán Mac Erlaine
Vocals: Dorothy Murphy, Georgia Cusack, Sue Rynhart and Tuula Voutilainen
Film: Donal Dineen; Lighting: John Crudden; Producer: Jen Coppinger
20:00: Only Himself: A Tribute to Dermot Healy
When a young Dermot Healy sent some poems to Seamus Heaney, he soon received a phone call in reply. ‘Do you know how good you are?’ Heaney asked, before publishing them all. Over the next thirty years, Healy amassed an astonishing body of work celebrated for its unique voice and style: thirteen plays, five collections of poetry, an acclaimed memoir, The Bend for Home, and five novels, including A Goat’s Song, often cited as “one of the great Irish novels of recent times” (The Guardian).
Dermot Healy died in June of last year, aged sixty-six. In this special tribute, Timothy O’Grady, in collaboration with ILF Dublin, gathers leading artists including Kevin Barry, Anthony Cronin, Roddy Doyle, Anne Haverty, Martin Hayes, Jennifer Johnston, Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe and Timothy O’Grady to reflect on one of the most original voices in Irish writing. Featuring music from Martin Hayes and friends, Only Himself is a unique celebration of the writer’s life and work.