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Ennis Book Club Festival 2020 Announces its Full Programme

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Article by Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin © 28 January 2020.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

Festival dates: Friday 6 – Sunday 8 March 2020

The full programme for the 14th Ennis Book Club Festival has been announced. The programme outlines a weekend packed with activities and events to inspire your reading, to stimulate discussion, to entertain you and give lots of opportunity to meet old friends and new.   There is also an exciting programme for younger readers.

In a new departure for the Festival, it has commissioned writer Mia Gallagher to curate a special exhibition from the Arts Council collection, showing at glór from Friday 7th February and until Saturday 21st March and to write a short story inspired by the artwork.

Metamorphosis: Characters in Collision is the title of the show she has created which features work by some of Ireland’s finest and most innovative artists including Alice Maher, Dorothy Cross, and Brian Maguire. In two related events, Mia and EBCF Artistic Director, Paul Perry, will discuss the process of the project – from its genesis, to its curation, to the writing of Mia’s story. Mia will also read her short story in 3 special durational performances on Saturday evening from 5 to 7pm in glór where audience members are free to come and go as they please.

On Friday 6th and celebrating International Women’s Day with camaraderie, conversation, connection and a hint of comedy Sharon Cahir will be in conversation with Carla White, Danne Reed and Niamh Ennis on why change can be a good thing. Also on Friday, Caroline Foran, bestselling author of Owning It and The Confidence Kit will talk about how to make anxiety your ally. Éilís Murphy, a visual artist and bookbinder living in Corofin, Co. Clare, will conduct a book making workshop, where participants will create a variety of sewn books that can be used as poetry books, journals or sketchbooks. Ennis native  and multi award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster Brian O’Connell will discuss his latest book, The Personals, revealing how classified ads are not just a few commercial lines of text in print or online – they can be a treasure trove of fascinating human stories; stories of love, loss, loneliness, redemption and hope.

In a topical event entitled Ireland, Brexit and Europe, Bobby McDonagh, Brexit expert and Ireland’s former ambassador to the UK will join columnist and novelist Martina Devlin for a discussion on Ireland’s evolving relationship to Great Britain, Brexit, and the European Union. Elsewhere with Rosita Boland and Madeleine Keane will explore Rosita’s thirty years of travel to some of the most remote parts of the globe carrying little more than a battered rucksack and a diary.  Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling featuring best friends and co-authors of the phenomenally successful series of Aisling books, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen will close Friday’s events.

Kick off Saturday morning with a walking tour of Ennis with Jane O’Brien or a spot of yoga with Paula McGrath, followed by a visit to The Old Ground Hotel to join Michael Murphy and Ciana Campbell where Michael will be reciting poetry from his new work, The Ministry of Dreams. Or test your knowledge in the always brilliant fun Books and Buns: The book quiz in The Rowan Tree Café.

Saturday morning will also see the return of another festival favourite – 10 Books You Should Read, this year with bestselling authors Ruth Gilligan and Neil Hegarty. Or let Reamonn O Ciarain inspire you during a bilingual talk on the spirit of Cuchulainn. This year’s pop-up Festival Book Club Meeting will celebrate Margaret Atwood’s Booker Prize winning novel The Testaments in The Temple Gate Hotel.

Clare Youth Theatre will perform two plays in glór’s studio  – Don’t Judge the Book by the Cover is an artistic response to the Ennis Book Club Festival and to celebrate International Women’s Day and The Changing Moon will see CYT members perform an original work by director and actor Eleanor Feely with Clare Townsend.

In Minor Monuments, Ian Maleney questions the nature of home, memory, belonging, the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on family, in a skilful weaving of film, sounds, music and live reading that you can lose yourself in. He talks about the creative process with producer Brendan Mac Evilly earlier in the day.

On Saturday also, the Festival welcomes the return of BAFTA nominated award winning writer, international poet, performer playwright, artist and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay reading from his acclaimed one-man play, Something Dark. Or you could listen to Hilary Fannin and Rachael English talk about their new books.

The Beyond Borders Book Club is in its third year and celebrates diversity and inclusivity in all things books and society. As we approach 20 years of direct provision in Ireland, this year’s event will launch Correspondences, and anthology which gathers together writing, photography and visual art by those in direct provision.

Poetry lovers can joinThe Seven Sisters Poetry Reading in Record Break Café and Gerry Hanberry in nearby Sceal Eile.  . Clare Voices with Mike Hanrahan will take you on a journey in music, food and friendship.

Saturday night at Ennis Book Club Festival means the welcome and popular return of Seán Rocks, this year interviewing acclaimed novelist Sarah Moss. Sarah Moss has been described as one of the ‘very best contemporary novelists’.

On Sunday 8th March in one of the EBCF closing events, Sunday Miscellany comes to EBCF 2020 and glór for a special recording of the iconic Sunday morning radio show. Top it off with a Literary Lunch featuring one of Ireland’s leading environmentalists, Éanna Ní Lamhna in conversation with Clare FM’s Gavin Grace in The Temple Gate Hotel.

With many other events, including, a singing circle, award winning Walking Tours of Ennis with Jane O’Brien and of the Burren with Tony Kirby, wine tasting at The Wine Buff, as well as a Festival Club, offering a chance to catch up on all the day’s events and mingle with authors and readers alike, Ennis Book Club Festival 2020 has something for everyone.

All events are now on sale at glór Box Office on 065 6843103. See  www.ennisbookclubfestival.com for full details on all events or pick up a brochure.


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Writing.ie has been developed and is run by Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin who founded The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and is Ireland's leading literary scout. Vanessa is represented by literary agent Simon Trewin and writes crime as Sam Blake. LITTLE BONES will be published by Bonnier's Twenty7 imprint in May 2016. Vanessa is the Chair of Irish PEN and the Irish and Eurozone Adviser to the international organisation The Alliance of Independent Authors.