The Rolling Sun Book Festival: In the News This Year! | Guest Bloggers | Ink Stains


Once again the Rolling Sun Book Festival (3-6 November) in Westport has put together an eclectic and attractive programme for book lovers. The glamorous stars of the show are newsreaders Anne Doyle and Deirdre Purcell while bestselling author Sebastian Barry is a serious coup for the festival. Booking for events is through the Clew Bay Hotel (098 28088).

Anne Doyle and Donal Fallon
The official opening night on Friday 4th November is a quirky combination of song, chat, food and wine to touch all the senses and takes place in The Clew Bay Hotel. This year it features Anne Doyle, the doyenne of RTE newsreaders sharing ‘Her Favourite Books’. Anne is well known as an engaging and witty speaker and has a genuine love of books and things literary. She will be joined by the hugely entertaining Donal Fallon, history columnist on Newstalk with his own inimitable take on Westport and Major John McBride. His publications include a biography of MacBride. Donal’s talk is entitled: “Born in Westport, Made in South Africa? Major John MacBride”. Everyone will enjoy a glass of wine and seafood while Coda entertain with their peerless ‘mouth music’.

Sebastian Barry ‘in conversation’
On Saturday night at The Plaza Hotel bestselling author Sebastian Barry (recently shortlisted for the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards) steps into the limelight. His latest book Days Without End came out in October and has already been shortlisted for the “Novel of the Year” at the Irish Book Awards. It is a gritty tale, set in the American Civil War. Previous bestsellers from Sebastian include the wonderful The Secret Scripture and A Long Long Way, both shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. Frank Reidy of TG4 and RTE will talk to Sebastian about his novels, his life and the man behind these outstanding books. Places are limited and booking is absolutely essential.

‘A beautiful, savage, tender, searing work of art. Sentence after perfect sentence it grips and does not let go.’ Donal Ryan

 ‘Sebastian Barry is an artist of the highest order.’ Claire Kilroy

‘On The Couch’ with  Claire Grady
A festival favourite is On The Couch on Saturday afternoon at the Clew Bay Hotel. This year Mayo’s own Claire Grady, first female editor of the Irish Independent, will talk with authors Deirdre Purcell and Ann O’Loughlin. Well known as a journalist and actor, Deirdre was also RTE’s first female newsreader and has published critically acclaimed novels, most recently The Winter Gathering and The Husband, all of which have been bestsellers in Ireland. Ann has been a leading journalist for nearly thirty years and currently covers legal issues for The Examiner. The Ballroom Café, her debut novel became an Irish bestseller and this year she published The Judge’s Wife.

Self publishing seminar
A writing seminar is a new departure for The Rolling Sun Book Festival, and this informative event about self publishing will be presented by Alex Blackwell, who has written and self-published two novels and is working on the third of his series. Book publishing has changed radically in the past decade and getting a book published is now something everyone can achieve. In this free event Alex will introduce some of the options available in today’s publishing world, giving a taste of what may or may not work for an author. He will also give pointers on what it takes to successfully self-publish work. “Self Publishing For Success” takes place at 2pm on Saturday 5th November in the Town Hall Theatre.

Life behind the wildlife lens
Acclaimed wildlife cameraman Doug Allen sharing his remarkable experiences at the Town Hall Theatre on Sunday evening. Have you ever watched one of the BBC’s ground-breaking wildlife documentaries and thought “How did he get that shot?” – well now you can find out the incredible stories behind the images in Doug Allan’s debut book In the Company of Giants. From the Antarctic to the Arctic Doug has produced a fascinating book filled with exceptional photographs, giving a peek into the often hostile yet inspiring world of a wildlife cameraman. The evening includes documentary film footage, his new book ‘and Q&A. “Wildlife cameramen don’t come much more special than Doug.” – Sir David Attenborough

Two exciting book launches
Bringing new work to the attention of a wider audience is always at the heart of the festival and this year is no exception with launches of a book of poetry and a novel. The poetry collection is Lady Cassie Peregrina by Terry McDonagh; it tells the story of Cassie, a border collie, rescued by Ballyhaunis ISPCA and adopted by him in 2013. It will be launched by poet Ger Reidy at The Custom House Studio on Thursday 3rd at 6pm.

Angie Coady’s debut novel has the delightful title of The Bumble Bee Key and it will be launched by author Maggie Gibson on Saturday 5th November in The Bookshop on Bridge Street at 6pm. The novel is a whimsical interpretation of love, loss and serendipity.

Full details are available on and booking is through The Clew Bay Hotel (098 28088).




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