Some of the most recognisable names in Irish and British literature will participate in the 2014 Limerick Literary Festival from February 20th-23rd.
The 40th annual festival, organised each year in honour of Limerick-born novelist and playwright Kate O’Brien, will feature author visits, readings, lectures and panel discussions at 69 O’Connell St (formerly The Belltable) and The Lime Tree Theatre in Limerick City.
Festival organisers today unveiled a line-up that includes Edna O’Brien, novelist, memoirist, playwright, poet, short story writer and author of ‘The Country Girls’; Anne Enright, Booker Prize-winning author; Michael Frayn, English playwright, novelist and winner of Laurence Olivier, Whitbread and Tony Awards; Michael Longley, winner of Irish Times Poetry award; and Claire Tomalin, English biographer and journalist.
Other Irish contributors to the four-day festival include Mike Murphy, former RTE broadcaster; Selina Guinness, author; Niall Mc Monagle, poet and Editor of ‘Poetry Now’; Peter Cunningham, award-winning novelist and newspaper columnist; Professor Frank McGuinness, Irish playwright and poet; Siobhán Parkinson, award-winning novelist and one of Ireland’s best-known writers for children; and Elaine Fox, research psychologist, neuroscientist and writer.
The Limerick Literary Festival, previously called the Kate O’Brien Weekend, was first held in 1985. Organised by the Kate O’Brien Committee and funded by the Arts Council, Limerick City and County Council and City of Culture 2014, the Kate O’Brien weekend has this year been incorporated into the Limerick Literary Festival, titled the “Limerick Literary Festival in honour of Kate O’Brien”.
Opening the festival at 69 O’Connell St on Thursday February 20th at 6.30 p.m. will be Duchesse de Magenta, Amélie de Mac-Mahon. Her late husband (Philippe) was a descendant of J.B. MacMahon, one of the Wild Geese who left Limerick after the Treaty of Limerick in 1691. Following the official opening, Beoure Theatre will perform a reading of Kate O’Brien’s play “Distinguished Villa”.
On Friday, historian John Logan will lead a walking tour from Ború House, the former family residence of Kate O’Brien, starting at 2p.m. Later that evening at 8p.m., internationally renowned pianist Finghin Collins will give a recital at The Lime Tree Theatre.
A busy programme is scheduled for Saturday, starting at 10.am, in 69 O’Connell St, with talks by luminaries such as Claire Tomalin, Michael Frayn, Anne Enright, Elaine Fox, Peter Cunningham, Siobhan Parkinson and Selina Guinness, as well as Frank McGuinness in conversation with journalist and RTE Radio producer Kay Sheehy.
The programme concludes on Sunday at The Lime Tree Theatre with Niall Mc Monagle at 10 a.m followed by poet Michael Longley. The festival finishes up at midday with one of the event highlights which will see former broadcaster Mike Murphy in conversation with celebrated writer Edna O’Brien about her life and work.