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A Giant Book Club Gathering

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The Ennis Book Club Festival is a terrific social and literary gathering bringing together book club members and readers from Ireland and beyond and this year is running from 1st to 3rd March in Ennis, Co. Clare. The festival is supported by Clare County Library and includes author readings, discussions, workshops and walking tours through the narrow streets and lanes of Ennis. They offer sessions on running book clubs, advice on reading lists, poetry, events as Gaeilge, and an opportunity to compare notes and meet with other readers. Combine your love of reading with a great weekend away!

Over the years the festival has attracted wonderful authors including Edna O’Brien, Nuala O’Faolain, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Lionel Shriver, Joseph O’Connor, Paul Durcan, Peter Sheridan, Paul Murray, Anne Enright and Patrick McCabe.

As part of The Gathering initiative they’re hosting a Giant Book Club Gathering during the 2013 festival, and are delighted to announce that acclaimed author Joseph O’Connor will host their gathering and will be discussing his novel Star of the Sea.

This brooding historical fiction chronicles the mayhem aboard the Star of the Sea, a leaky old sailing ship crossing from Ireland to New York during the bitter winter of 1847, its steerage crammed to the bulkheads with diseased and starving refugees from the Irish potato famine. The novel takes the form of a personal account written by passenger G. Grantley Dixon, a New York Times reporter who intersperses his narrative with reportage and interviews as he describes the intrigue that unfolds during the 26-day journey.

Star of the Sea was a  number one bestseller in Britain and Ireland, it won the Prix Littéraire Européen Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year, the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune ‘Hall of Fame’ Award, the Irish Post Award for Fiction, Italy’s Premio Giuseppe Acerbi for New Literature, France’s Prix Millepages for Foreign Fiction, the Neilsen Bookscan Golden Book Award, an American Library Association citation, and was included on the New York Public Library’s prestigious annual ‘Books to Remember’ list, for works deemed by a panel of critics to be of literary excellence. It was a ‘New York Times Notable Book of the Year’, runner-up in the readers’ poll for ‘Best Read of the Year’ on British television’s Richard and Judy Book Club, and nominated for the International IMPAC Literary Award. It has been published in dozens of languages and was the highest selling literary novel of 2004 in the UK.

The Giant Book Club Gathering will take place on Friday the 1st of March 2013. So, why not invite friends and relatives in book clubs abroad to come and join us. In the run up to the festival you could twin your book club with theirs and organise a virtual book club meeting through Skype.

International book clubs can find lots of information on Ennis accommodation here and on travel links to Ennis here.

For full details of the programme, visit http://www.ennisbookclubfestival.com

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