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New Irish Voices Headline Red Line Book Festival

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | From the Front Row

Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin

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Red Line Book Festival has launched its blended programme of events taking place both online and offline, in venues around South County Dublin.

An initiative of South Dublin Libraries and Arts, the Red Line Book Festival has returned, despite some challenges – due to the Covid-19 pandemic – with an ambitious programme. Immerse yourself in conversations, stories and workshops virtually and in-person, from some of the biggest Irish and international names in literature.

Participants this year include Sinéad Gleeson, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Patrick McCabe, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rob Doyle, Nicole Flattery, Elspeth Wilson, Debbie Deegan, Oein DeBhardúin, Melatu Uche Okorie, Blindboy Boatclub, Elaine Feeney and this year’s Red Line Book Festival Writer-in-Residence, Keith Payne among others.

Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Ed O’Brien said :

“Red Line Book Festival 2020 is bringing the best of the literary world into the libraries and homes of South Dublin County this month with a fantastic programme of authors, speakers and workshops, safely delivered to you to attend or experience from the comfort of your home.” 

South Dublin County Council Chief Executive Daniel McLoughlin said:

“The Red Line Book Festival has been enriching the cultural lives of south Dublin communities for many years. This year, with so many events available online, it is accessible to people from further afield.”

Online or Offline, here are the highlights we’ve lined up for you..


The Art of the Glimpse, the official 2020 Red Line Book 

This year, organisers have chosen The Art of the Glimpse as the Red Line Book, edited by Sinéad Gleeson with contributions from over 100 Irish writers, past and present, to convey the spectrum of Ireland’s story. Sinéad will be joined in conversation by two of The Art of the Glimpse contributors, the writers Melatu Uche Okorie and Blindboy Boatclub.

Rob Doyle in conversation with Nicole Flattery.

Celebrated international author Rob Doyle will read from his latest novel Threshold. Rob will be in conversation with author and critic Nicole Flattery.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa in conversation with Deirdre Sullivan where she discusses her bestselling prose debut A Ghost in the Throat which spans essay, memoir and hundreds of years of history and finds Doireann exploring the parallels between her life and the life and work of Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill in a stunning, not-to-be-missed book.

Galway Stories 

A special event marking Galway2020 and the anthology Galway Stories, this talk is hosted by co-editor Alan McMonagle, and features Patrick McCabe, Elaine Feeney and Danny Denton discussing stories from this exciting and diverse collection.

South Dublin EPIC

An exploration of South Dublin County as you’ve never experienced it before. Join poet Colm Keegan for this series of readings and the world premiere of a short film developed by budding young writers, narrated by Clare Monnelly and animated by Bob Byrne.

Found Architecture, readings and reflections from Sinead Morrissey

Join leading poet, Sinéad Morrissey for a special reading from her new Selected Poems, Found Architecture published by Carcanet in April 2020 as she traces how her poems have shifted and changed from book to book and reflects on her body of work so far.

Unshelved: Poetry Reading with Linda McKenna, Seán Hewitt & Kerry Hardie 

We’re unshelving new collections by these stellar poets who published work published during, or had work postponed due to the pandemic. The readings will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by poet Jessica Traynor.

Writing Nature Workshop with Elspeth Wilson considers how we engage with nature as writers and readers in the time of climate crisis.

There are lots of events for children and young people, catering for budding bookworms, including;
Children’s Books Ireland’s virtual Book Doctor who will be on hand to give the best book recommendations for the young readers in their lives; Hunting down Where’s Wally while wandering in Rathfarnham Castle park; a Goth-friendly Tim Burton puppet workshop; and zine making and comic book workshops. There’s plenty for children to enjoy both on and offline this year.


Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me: Irish Popular Fiction

A lively and insightful panel discussion on popular Irish fiction featuring some of the genre’s best-loved authors including Ciara Geraghty (Rules of the Road), Carmel Harrington (My Pear-Shaped Life) and Zoe Miller (The Perfect Sister), in conversation with Sam Blake (Keep Your Eyes On Me).

To Russia with Love: Debbie Deegan in conversation with Darragh Doyle
Join Debbie as she talks about her life, experiences and charity – To Russia with Love (now renamed To Children with Love), which helps children, at home and abroad, to achieve their full potential in education, employment and life.

Writer-in-Residence Events

As part of our Writer-in-Residence chapter, Keith Payne is offering eight 30 minute Creative Writing Clinics as part of this year’s Red Line Book Festival. Clinics are open to all writers interested in furthering their practice with expert editorial attention from award-winning poet and translator Keith Payne. Keith elsewhere will also read from his new work, And All the Savage Acres No One Could Predict. Keith will also host a reading and roundtable discussion with the highly acclaimed poet Jane Clarke and award-winning poet and prose writer Judy O’Kan

Who are The Humans of Balgaddy?

Humans of Balgaddy is a photography project that tells the real stories of the people of Balgaddy and is a remarkable collection of character studies and powerful stories from people in the community.

Writing the Senses
What inspires you to write? Is it what you observe in nature, is it what you cook and eat, is it the music you listen to? Join our Writing the Senses workshop with poet and writer, Eileen Casey, who uses sensual elements and visual prompts to inspire your creative inclinations.

Adam Mars-Jones in conversation with poet Seán Hewitt to discuss the writer’s acclaimed novel, Box Hill.

Paper Lanterns, founded in 2020, is the new literary journal which covers all things Teen and YA Literature. Meet founders Grace Kelley, Ruth Ennis, and Amy O’Sullivan who will teach you all you need to know about writing for and submitting to literary journals.

Tickets for all festival events can be booked at redlinebookfestival.ie


  • The Dark Room: A thrilling new novel from the number one Irish Times bestselling author of Keep Your Eyes on Me
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