Dublin Book Festival Book Club
Pauline McLynn
Gerry Hunt
Pat McCabe
Ross Lewis
Jennifer Johnston


In Pictures: Dublin Book Festival 2013

by admin on November 28, 2013

The 8th Dublin Book Festival took place between Thursday, November 14 through Sunday, November 17, 2013 at Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar as well as satellite venues around the city including: The Gutter Bookshop, The Irish Writers’ Centre, National Library of Ireland and Dublin County Libraries.

Special thanks to all the authors, publishers, sponsors and volunteers who worked so hard to make this year’s Festival a huge success!

Here is a selection of photographs from this year’s festival.  To see more, click here and visit our Facebook page to view YOUR photos. Photography by Pedro Giaquinto.


Dublin Book Festival Opening Night Highlights. Listen to this ARENA interview on RTE Radio 1 on the 29th of November 2013.  

Opening Night#14






Opening Night#12











Opening Night#15




Opening Night#11





Opening Night#6











Opening Night#7






Opening Night#5
















Opening Night#3






Opening Night#2


Thank You!

by admin on November 28, 2013

Frank McGuinness

Frank McGuinness

Dublin Book Festival 2013 has passed, and with the majority of our events booking out, it was our most successful to date. For four days authors, readers – both young and old, publishers and aspiring writers gathered together and shared their love of words and books. It was such an honour to have so many talented writers discuss their work, inspiration and passion for writing.

It was a joy to see children lounging on beanbags listening to stories told to them by the authors themselves and taking a stab at writing their own stories.

It was a festival of words and ideas, laughter and imagination. I hope you were as inspired as we were.

I would like to thank everyone involved, the DBF committee who give up their valuable time throughout the year to work on the festival, the DBF team for their dedication and hard work, the wonderful volunteers, the publishers who came from around the country to support their writers, and finally the authors themselves – thank you for taking us on your journeys.


Until next year,

Julianne Mooney
Programme Director

Meet the Publishers and Agents Event

by admin on November 27, 2013

Expert PanelHeld in the intimate quarters of Smock alley’s Boy’s school – this year’s festival offered a greatly anticipated opportunity to meet the experts of the literary and publishing world. In association with writing.ie a panel of leading experts took the stage to reveal the tricks of the trade, the do’s and the don’t s of writing and the big no-nos on the path to getting published. There, audiences were given the chance to meet Michael O’Brien, founder of The O’Brien Press; Literary agent Faith O’Grady; writing.ie founder and literary scout Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and Eoin Purcell, the editorial director at New Island Books.

[click to continue…]


The Anti Room Talks Women’s Writing

by admin on November 18, 2013

Anti RoomAfter a successful book gathering, The Irish women’s blog, The Anti Room took the stage to discuss gender within the literary and publishing world. Is women’s writing treated differently than men’s? Does gender define a writer? And what need or place does feminism have in contemporary women’s writing? These where but a few questions which authors Christine Dwyer Hickey, Nuala Ni Chonchuir and journalists Sinead Gleeson, Anna Carey and Jennifer Ridyard wished to explore.

[click to continue…]


DBF Book Club Gathering

by admin on November 18, 2013

Dublin Book Festival Book Club

This year’s greatly anticipated book gathering was a huge success and I’d like to thank Ireland AM’s Sinead Desmond and host writers Ciaran Collins, Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Mark O’Sullivan for their readings and discussions which got the crowd buzzing Saturday afternoon with questions pondering the complexity of the Irish language with its poetic and musical charm and the insightful commentary from Caroline on the unfair expectations that are forced upon women.

Authors took the stage to discuss the many inspirations for writing and the gruelling process of characterisation crucial to making readers connect with their protagonists. Both Mark and Caroline spoke of their ventures into new genres where O’ Sullivan spoke of his newfound treatment of the crime novel and for Caroline, her venture into darker themes which she is keen to continue.  Ciaran read from his novel “The Gamal” receiving great reception from fellow authors and readers alike accompanied by laughter and a discussion on style and use of language. Overall it was an enjoyable afternoon and the festival looks forward to launching new book clubs in the future.



Opening Night with Frank McGuinness

by admin on November 15, 2013

The Dublin Book Festival got off to a great start last night, as Frank McGuinness discussed his work – particularly his new novel Arimathea – with RTÉ’s Sean Rocks. If you weren’t able to join us last night, you can still be a part of this delightful evening by tuning in to the Arena broadcast of the event on 29 November. In the meantime, take a look at a sampling of photos from the night: [click to continue…]


Eoin PurcellAlready published? Great! But how do you continue to hone your skills, engage with a changing publishing world and market your work? DBF, in conjunction with New Island Books and Irish Writers’ Centre, is hosting Mindshift: A Professional Development Day for Published Authors on Sunday, 17th November. Come hear three professionals (Margaret Ward, CEO of Broadly Speaking/Clear Ink; Eoin Purcell, Editorial Director at New Island Books; and journalist and broadcaster Audrey Carville) discuss the practicalities of a writing career. Tickets for this event can be booked at www.irishwriterscentre.ie or 01 872 1302

Below are Eoin’s thoughts on how writers can navigate the publishing landscape.

DBF: From the writer’s perspective, how has the publishing world changed in the past 10-15 years? [click to continue…]


SONY DSCI have come to a sense of place in my writing very slowly.  When I started to write – back in the 1970s – I was intent on removing all traces of the “local” from my work. I was afraid of being parochial and I was out of sympathy with the brand of Irish fiction that maundered on about the landscape, the bogs and the mountains. I had grown up in a Dublin suburb and felt there was nothing specifically “Irish” about it – as far as I was concerned, it was like any other suburb in the Western world; a place of quiet desperation where nothing happened.

My first collection of stories, A Lazy Eye, was shorn of place-names, or where there were names, they were neutralized, generic-sounding. The real names of Irish places didn’t seem “real” to me then; they seemed inauthentic, too Oirishy. Perhaps that was some kind of post-colonial cultural cringe on my behalf. Who knows?

Mother of Pearl, my first novel, continued the trend. It was based on a real-life kidnapping in Dublin in the 1950s, and I set the action in a made-up city divided by a sectarian conflict – I envisaged the north of the city being Belfast and the south being Dublin. Because the story had a mythic quality, I didn’t want it to be grounded too closely in political realities; hence the disguise. [click to continue…]


On Friday, 15 November, DBF – in association with Children’s Books Ireland and Inis Magazine – will host a panel exploring the children’s book market and where it belongs in mass media. Eithne Shortall (Sunday Times Ireland), Tadgh Mac Dhonnagáin (Futa Fata), David O’Callaghan (Easons) and Conor Hackett (Hackett Flynn Publishers Agency) will discuss the future of children’s books reviewing. Whether you have young readers at home, are a teacher, or simply care about children’s literature (after all, we were all young readers at one point!), this event promises to be interesting and insightful. Tickets can be booked here.

Below are Conor Hackett’s thoughts on the changing children’s books market, how children’s literature affects the adult market and some of the names who have helped to change the genre.

DBF: How would you describe the change in the children’s book market in the last 15-20 years? [click to continue…]


GI and Costello

GI (Christopher Buckley) is a hip-hop Emcee, producer and workinclassrecords artist from the group ‘Street Literature’, who released their début album ‘Products of the Environment’ in 2011. Having performed across the cities of Dublin, New York and Cape Town, GI has become a respected hip-hop producer and produced Lethal Dialects first two albums LD50 1 and 2.

In 2013 GI released 2 solo albums ‘Underworld’ and a greatly anticipated instrumental album ‘Black Tuna’ which triumphed with its fresh and experimental beats. Most recently GI released ‘MaryJane’ a collaborative album with fellow workinclassrecords artist Costello -Which sought huge attention placing workinclassrecords on the public stage. This Year saw GI and Costello (James) rise to public attention where Broken Song premiered at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival where it received both critical and public acclaim having won both the Audience Award and the Dublin Critics Circle ‘Discovery’ Award, having been described as: “brilliantly constructed sonic, stoner-like murk” by The Irish Times. The gnarly production nous of GI, will hook you from the start as he creates smokey, dark and dense beats that perfectly encapsulate the claustrophobic, menacing world that Lethal Dialect seeks to evoke. “Street Literature” is a breath of fresh air in an already saturated sphere of Irish poetry longing to create something new and different – Street poets GI and Costello do just that, expressing the fears and angers of the down trodden in today’s society through menacing beats and heavy basses. They take the stage once again at this year’s Dublin Book Festival during our greatly anticipated Rte Arena. It is an event not to be missed – Book Now.

For more on GI and Broken Song:

Broken Song Facebook



Emerging Writers: RTÉ Arena @ DBF

by admin on November 7, 2013

On Friday, 15 November, RTÉ presenter Sean Rocks will lead a live broadcast for Arena, featuring music and conversation with some of today’s emerging writers and poets, including Colin Barrett, Shaun Dunne and Lucy Montague-Moffatt. Also up that night: Broken Song’s GI and Costello – street poets, hip-hop artists and songwriters from north Dublin – as well as The Late David Turpin. Tickets for this event can be booked here.

 Elizabeth Reapy and Sarah Griffin, two writers slated to speak and read at this event, are also contributors to New Planet Cabaret: An Anthology of New Writing from Ireland, a joint effort of Arena and New Island Books. Below are New Planet Cabaret editor Dave Lordan’s thoughts on emerging writers, changes in publishing and the ‘idea’ of Ireland. [click to continue…]


Anne Carroll Talks Legends

by admin on November 4, 2013

Salmon of Knowledge Ann Carroll is the author of the 6 Rosie’s Quest series and has also written Amazing Grace and Laura Delaney’s Deadliest Day. She is at present writing the Nutshell series of Irish Myths and Legends which are wonderfully illustrated by Derry Dillon. Ann is married with two adult children and lives in Dublin. 

Legends have the best heroes and villains, who always have super powers.

Take Fionn Mac Cumhaill. As a boy he tasted the Salmon of Knowledge and immediately he knew everything. One of his greatest enemies was the fire-breathing demon, Ailenn, who burned down the Royal Palace at Tara. Only Fionn knew how to destroy him!

[click to continue…]


Alison Jameson (2)Alison Jameson is an acclaimed Irish writer who studied English Literature at University College Dublin and went on to work in the advertising industry for many years. She now writes full-time, and has published two previous novels, This Man and Me (which was nominated for the prestigious IMPAC Award) and Under My Skin.

These are her thoughts on the magic of writing and how a setting and a sense of place may affect a story, manipulating a tale whether intentionally or not to surprise even the writer herself. 

For a chance to meet Alison Check out this year’s programme and book your place at our Dublin City Public Libraries Readers’ Day on the 16th November – See link for details: Readers’ Day 2013 

[click to continue…]


The New Dubliners

by admin on October 19, 2013

Daniel Zuchowski 2The New Dubliners is a newly emerged blog, which has sparked great attention here with us at the Dublin Book Festival. The Blog Offers followers a little taste of everything from the literary world, showcasing short stories based around our very capital. It is an exciting new experiment and a fascinating read as readers catch a glimpse into the true experiences, memories and stories from people living in Dublin. Soon to be compiled into a book, The New Dubliners is a taster of what is to come. It  is a perfect example of the power of memory and the sharing of tales.

I caught up with Daniel Zuchowski, the creator of the website and got the low down and what we are in for before the book makes its launch:

[click to continue…]


Gerry Hunt talks Comics

by admin on October 19, 2013

Gerry Hunt ImageHunt worked for twenty-five years as an architect, eighteen of them with the IDA. In 1986 he left architecture and began drawing political cartoons. From this, he moved on to drawing entire comics – his first, self-produced comic was a rhyming Spanish-language work that he gave away to friends. He has since published In Dublin City and The Streets of Dublin. The Streets of Dublin was included in an exhibition entitled ‘Artists’ Books’ in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. He is also the author of Blood Upon The Rose: The Rebellion That Set Ireland Free and of At War with the Empire: Ireland’s Fight for Independence. A travelling exhibition of the artwork from Blood Upon the Rose was held in various locations around Ireland, including St Enda’s and Kilmainham Gaol. 1913 Larkin’s Labour War is Gerry’s latest graphic novel. 

Catch Gerry at this year’s festival Graphic Novel workshop on Sunday 17th Novemeber – Book Now

[click to continue…]


Volunteer: Dublin Book Festival 2013

by admin on October 3, 2013

The Dublin Book Festival is one of Ireland’s most successful and vibrant book festivals. This annual public Festival showcases, supports and develops Irish Publishing by programming, publicising and selling Irish published books, their authors, editors and contributors, all in an entertaining, festive, friendly and accessible environment that reflects the creativity and personality of Irish Publishing and its authors.

This Festival, which is shared by publishers, contributors and audiences alike, is one of celebration – celebration of a city (and country) that produces some of the best literature in the world and of the teams behind them that make it all happen.

With that said, this year’s Dublin Book Festival is fast approaching and we are looking for dedicated volunteers to make this the best festival yet! Volunteering is a great way to experience the festival and a unique opportunity to be part of a diverse, exciting and inspiring event. To see what’s on offer, check out the DBF 2013 Programme.

If you are interested in joining our enthusiastic volunteer team please download the DBF 2013 VOLUNTEER FORM and send it to info@dublinbookfestival.com. Deadline for applications November 2, 2013.

We look forward to welcoming you to the DBF Team!


Dublin Lockout Exhibition

by admin on October 3, 2013

NLI-ExhibitionIf you happen to be around the city centre any time soon, I recommend you have a gander at the recent Dublin Lockout exhibition hosted by the Irish National library and the Irish congress of Trade unions. Running from the 22nd August 2013 to the 30th March 2014, this free exhibition examines the background, events and aftermath of the conflict offering visitors an insight into the historical and profound happenings of 1913.

[click to continue…]


Arthur’s Day 2013 & A witty travelogue

by admin on September 25, 2013

Guinness Arthurs DayIn honour of Dublin’s most famous son, Arthur’s day kicks off with a bang as across the country, with the world looking on, we celebrate the black stuff! Since its inception in 2009, Dublin has been the celebratory hub of Arthur’s Day, with world class acts rubbing shoulders with local musicians on stages around the city.

This year, the focus has shifted from being simply a music festival to a celebration of Irish talent and creativity, with locations like the Storehouse being transformed into cultural hubs, all with the aim of singing the praises of Ireland’s cultural revival. As always it promises a night to remember and in honour of the occasion why not get your hands on a book sure to get you into the spirit of things!

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Dublin’s Theatre Festival

by admin on September 25, 2013


Running from the 26th of September to the 13th of October the Dublin Theatre Festival has arrived once again promising to cater for every taste imaginable. Now in its 56th year the Dublin Theatre Festival is Europe’s oldest specialised theatre festival and is a testament to Dublin’s rich theatrical and literary heritage. But don’t let its age fool you, this festival is as cutting edge as they come.

From classical and contemporary theatre, music, dance and comedy, this years festival is an exciting mix of  both international and home-grown talent including adaptations of great Irish classics such as Finnegan’s Wake and Waiting for Godot.

With over 500 performances in over 20 venues – it is truly unmissable

For more details visit: www.dublintheatrefestival.com


Autumn Book List

by admin on September 24, 2013


My! How Summer flew! Its that time of year again for woolly hats and jumpers, Autumn is upon us and this years festival approaches! Here’s a quick list of some great reads for all you hungry bookworms. So sit back, all snug and cosy – Dublin Book Festival has you sorted!

[click to continue…]


Dublin Culture Night 2013

by admin on September 15, 2013

Culture-Night-2013-Banner-SmallNow in its 8th year running, Dublin’s culture night is upon us again taking place on Friday September 20th from 5-11pm. With everything from historic outings, gallery viewings and treks through Temple Bar – there is something for everyone on this night dedicated to the arts and national culture. With nearly 200 venues in Dublin alone, Culture Night is a night of entertainment, discovery and adventure across 34 towns, cities and counties in Ireland. Arts and cultural organisations open their doors until late with hundreds of free events, tours, talks & performances for you, your family and friends to enjoy.

For more information and an A-Z guide on venues visit: www.culturenight.ie for more details.



A Tribute to Seamus Heaney

by admin on August 30, 2013

SeamusHeaneyI first came across his work in Primary School when I read “Mid Term Break”, and he was one of those writers who helped me realise my love for Literature, particularly with that poem. Born in Northern Ireland, he was a Catholic and nationalist and during the twenty five years of the Troubles, he was placed under great pressure to take sides facing criticism for the belief that he sympathised with violent republicanism. This perception couldn’t have been further from the truth as Heaney’s work often described the pain, the heartbreak and the loss and damage caused by war and violence.

After many collections ranging from childhood memories to messages urging for change, in 1995 Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”. Continuing to write further honours followed, in 1996 he won the Whitbread Prize for his translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf and in 2009, he was awarded the £40,000 David Cohen Prize by Arts Council England for a lifetime’s achievement.

Even without such recognition, He was arguably Ireland’s most beloved poet who still had a gift to change the way we perceived the world, from seeing the brilliance in the dull or ordinary to the carnage within troubled neighbourhoods – all of his wisdom and wit was at our fingertips if only we had the patience and time to read it, to reread it and to read it again.

His work will live on in both time and history and so it should.

[click to continue…]


DBF’s Top Autumn Books

by admin on August 29, 2013

the-book-thiefA novel by Australian author Markus Zusak.  The Book thief is a thrilling tale narrated by Death. The book is set in Nazi Germany, a place and time when the narrator notes he was extremely busy. It describes a young girl’s relationship with her foster parents, the other residents of their neighbourhood, and a Jewish fist-fighter who hides in her home during the escalation of World War II. First published in 2005 winning numerous awards, the book was listed on the The New York Times Best Seller list for over 230 weeks. A story which will have you gripped within its pages, The Book Thief is a touching thriller – soon to become a much anticipated film.

a-thousand-splendid-sunsFrom the best-selling author of The Kite Runner, A thousand Splendid Suns is a heart-retching tale of two very different women who are brought together during times of great violence and civil unrest. A story of love, pain and self-sacrifice -Khaled Hosseini brings his readers on an emotional journey of turmoil, heartbreak and triumph.




mosse-kate-labyrinthA novel by mystery writer Kate Mosse, The Labyrinth is a story draped in historical mystery and intrigue following the life of a volunteer on an excavation site whose life is thrown into great jeopardy as she uncovers a great secret hidden for centuries – a secret which will change her life forever.




the-brutal-art-by-jesse-kellermanThe Brutal Art written by Jesse Kellerman, tells the story of a selfish art dealer and a discovery which changes his life forever. In a New York slum, a tenant has mysteriously disappeared leaving behind only a large collection of weird but brilliant paintings. Delighted with the profitable find, Ethan Muller can’t believe his luck – but soon something becomes amiss. There are more to the paintings then meets the eye and the police need answers.



veronikaOn one cold November morning Veronika decides to end her life. Although she seems to have it all – youth and beauty, boyfriends, a loving family and a fulfilling job Veronika takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up. But she does – in a mental hospital where doctors say she has only a few days to live. Veronika decides to die is a touching and heartfelt story which follows a woman on an enlightening journey, where new friendships are made and old wounds are healed. Written by best selling author Paulo Coelho – this novel is a story that will shine a different light on the way we perceive life, all of it, both the ups and downs.


ballroom farmleighThe Jane Austen Society of Ireland, in association with the OPW, presents an evening celebrating the 200th year anniversary of the publication of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in the beautiful surroundings of Farmleigh, an estate of 78 acres situated to the north-west of Dublin’s Phoenix Park, with author Sophia Hillan discussing Jane Austen and her Irish connections. The talk based on her acclaimed book, ‘May, Lou and Cass: Jane Austen’s Nieces in Ireland’, will be followed by some music from the period, a wine reception, a selected reading from some of Austen’s best loved works and a book signing.

Tickets are free and open to the general public, but limited and are chosen by random lottery from the Farmleigh website. Visit The Jane Austen Society of Ireland for more information.

Ireland’s Mark on Literature

by admin on August 24, 2013

irish writersIreland since the early Christian period has made significant contributions to literature and continues to do so making its mark on modern literature today; bearing witness also to a renaissance for the Irish language.  From poetry to playwrights, Irish authors are known for their deft use of language and play on words. Faithfully depicting characteristics of the Irish in their works as homage to the places of their birth, often to the point of disbarring the perceived social ills of their time or stirring influence for change.  The full story of Irish literature begins long before the English ever arrived in Ireland. The Celtic epics, of Irish myths and legends are one of the great oral literary traditions in world history and poetry and folklore of our native tongue is created, still, to this day.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Major Barbara in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre

by admin on August 23, 2013

Major BarbaraLike Joyce, George Bernard Shaw had a great dislike for Ireland as a country which sought to repress him with emerging ideals so very different from his own. As revealed through the words of Isabella Woodward, a character from his debut novel, Immaturity, she rants “I hate Ireland” during a family debate on religion and politics. “It is the slowest, furthest behind its time, dowdiest and most detestably snobbish place on the surface of the earth.” Through fiction, her words revealed much of Shaw’s indifference to the place of his birth as an article in The Times suggests: “Although he maintained connections with Dublin, he rarely visited and never returned to live in the country of his birth”. It appeared like most of our great Irish writers, the Ireland of their times could never cater for them forcing them to seek creative solace elsewhere across Europe.

Dublin has thankfully changed and continues to evolve progressively, I would argue, in the right direction. Although officially conservative, a liberal flare ignites in most and our changing attitudes towards minorities, although gradual, are welcoming those once shunned into our fair society. It is an interesting question: Would Joyce and Shaw have prospered in our city today or would they have still wandered afar?

Shaw’s Major Barbara is a three act play which places the structures of society, of social hierarchy and patriarchy under great speculation. Barbara Undershaft, a major in the Salvation Army, is Shaw’s earnest idealist -A woman who has turned her back on the social expectations of her class dedicating her life to saving the souls of the poor. However, her selfless quest is compromised heavily by her privilege as her estranged father, a weapons manufacturer, becomes her greatest obstacle upon her saintly path. To suggest that Major Barbara is simply a political play would insult Shaw’s controversial work – it is ultimately a human play, a play which questions not only society but human nature and morality itself.

[click to continue…]




Arthur Guinness Projectsabout-banner-arts

This year the Dublin Book Festival is hoping to be championed by the Arthur Guinness Projects. We are campaigning in the Arts section and we feel we really do celebrate the next chapter of Irish talent and creativity. We hope that with the Arthur Guinness Projects assistance, we can make this year the best festival yet.

It is the authors’ words that have made DBF such a success over the years. We want to continue to bring these words and voices to the world. This is your chance to help make something extraordinary happen.

Your support and votes will make a difference.

You can vote for us here –


[click to continue…]

#27Voices writers 6-11

by admin on August 12, 2013


This post continues our list of writers inspired by Nelson Mandela. The list is entitled #27voices and comprises of writers who inspire and promote freedom, sometimes in unexpected ways by challenging the status quo and sometimes just by bearing witness to injustice.

Who have we chosen this week?

[click to continue…]

A Tribute to Maeve Binchy

by admin on August 10, 2013

Maeve BinchyI remember reading circle of friends some years ago and from then on I was hooked and read many of Maeve’s books thereafter. As with other great novels, once read and finished I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that the story was over, that no longer did I have a great book to read at night. It is no wonder Maeve became a household name and her heartfelt stories have touched many, here and abroad.  Her ability to create memorable characters and capture personalities within her stories was what made her novels so appealing and so real to life. As she so often said herself: “I loved eavesdropping on other people”, as many of the conversations overheard had inspired her to write. Cleverly touching on the different rifts of society, the struggles for love, of class or gender, Maeve has sold over 40 million books with her works being translated into more than 30 different languages. Her last novel, Minding Frankie (Orion), was published in September 2010 and sold over 370,000 copies.  In the same year, Binchy was honoured with the lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards and her books continue to sell.

Maeve was a charming story-teller and although she is sorely missed her legacy will live on in her many works having been an author whose books still capture the interest of readers over the past four decades. With an audience ranging from young and old, picking up a Maeve Binchy novel was like having a chat with your hip auntie – she was wise, witty and full of warm common sense creating stories which will not be forgotten.

For More on Maeve:

[click to continue…]


Emigration Road review

by admin on August 8, 2013


Emigration Road is described as both a play for voices and, perhaps more insightfully, an audio collage. The pace was fast.  The voices jumped from one to another without overlong introductions and in blocked dialogue, juxtapositioned in high and low, bawdy and church, song and rant. A flurry of voices from Yeats to priests was let loose without the performance ever descending into cacophony.

[click to continue…]

Commemorative Coin Poll

by admin on August 8, 2013


Over the past few weeks Jane Austen imbroglio has continued to grow. The announcement that Jane Austen would feature on the new British ten pound note should have been the end of the matter but it wasn’t.

Mark Carney himself says the harassment has been shocking. It has proven to be the impetus to change for Twitter. It has forced them to alter their term and conditions and install an abuse “button”.

It got us thinking . . .

[click to continue…]


This year, for the week running up to and the days during the Dublin Book Festival, we are looking for confident and enthusiastic drama students, groups and individuals to take part in a series of live pop-up performances on LUAS and DART in Dublin city centre locations. This would involve surprise readings of both poetry and prose to help spread word of the Festival.

This is an exciting opportunity for eager young actors and adults alike to exercise their imagination in front of a wide and varied audience, to remind people of the celebration, the community, and the collective awesomeness of Dublin Book Festival.

Participation in the Festival is open to those who are over the age of 18 years only. Please note that this is an unpaid voluntary role. If interested, please reply to info@dublinbookfestival.com where we would be happy to pass on more information.

The Dublin Book Festival Team!

JFK: Homecoming Exhibition

by admin on July 30, 2013

Yesterday, in what continues to be our bi-polar summer weather, I made my way to the National Library to the recent JFK: Homecoming Exhibition which was launched on the 20th June. Marking the 50th anniversary of US president JFK’s visit to Ireland in the summer of 1963, the exhibition hosts numerous archives and memorabilia offering visitors a sense of nostalgia and culturally historic interest. Throughout modern history, The Republic of Ireland and the United States has been passionately linked and our cultures and heritage have been intermingled for generations with both countries having a profound influence on the other. JFK in particular had a major influence on both Irish Americans and the Irish themselves and his visit to the land of his ancestors was groundbreaking in that he was the first president to visit the island while in office, strengthening the ties between two countries. He represented youth and dynamic change, inspiring generations to be the best they could and to stand in the face of diversity. Of his visit, he said: “it was the most enjoyable experience of his whole life” and that, although it was not his country, “he had great affection for it”. Wandering around the exhibition it is startling to realise just how profound American influence had been and although we may not hang Obama’s portrait in our homes in pride of place, we need only to look in on the present to realise how such an influence still strives today.

Featuring photographs, footage and interviews along with interactive touchscreens and items from the national collections, and those of the National Archives, National Museum, and JFK Presidential Library in Boston, the JFK: Homecoming exhibition is an interesting visit and greatly recommended.  With a particular attraction for those interested in Irish American history and culture – it is an exhibition suitable for all the family offering visitors a glimpse into Ireland’s recent past. For more details concerning events visit: www.nli.ie

[click to continue…]


#27 voices – (writers 2-5)

by admin on July 26, 2013

#27voices Writers 2-5

Last week we started a list of writers inspired by Nelson Mandela ‘in whose company the prison walls fell’.  We started with Chinua Achebe and this post continues our selection.

[click to continue…]

Baby Boom

by admin on July 24, 2013

As the world looks on at Kate Middleton’s new arrival, twitter has been buzzing with name suggestions for the future prince. Though it’s unlikely an Irish name will be chosen, here’s a list of some helpful books for you expectant parents eagerly awaiting the arrival of your own little prince or princess:

[click to continue…]

Mandela – 27 Voices

by admin on July 18, 2013

Nelson Mandela

Together we will win.

Today is Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday and Mandela day. In a moving speech to the Dáil, some twenty three years ago, in which he heralded WB Yeats as an outstanding poet, he also invoked the powerful image of prison and Robben Island. He said,

Even behind the thick prison walls of South Africa’s maximum security jails we heard your voices demanding our release. So strong did that call become that we knew that, contrary to the wishes of our jailers, we would return and as you can see, we have returned.

He heard our voice. Mandela also said: “There was a writer named Chinua Achebe in whose company the prison walls fell.”

Literature can have no greater compliment. So, beginning on Mandela Day, we hope to create a list of 27 voices that can help fell the prison walls whether figurative or actual, political or societal. 27 to honour, Mandala’s 27 years in prison and we are taking suggestions here and on Facebook and Twitter. #27voices

  [click to continue…]


This is Zombie Culture Now

by admin on July 17, 2013

Zombie want Brains

I had intended to go to ‘A Very Zombie Fairytale’ , part of the 10 days in Dublin festival. It sounded funny and any chance to excite the Zombie lover in me is welcome. I was disappointed that I had missed it.

Then I consoled myself, given the ubiquity of Zombie culture I’m certain it wouldn’t be long until I get my fix; this meme is alive even if the subject is undead, at least by definition. [click to continue…]

Page Turning Summer Reads

by admin on July 16, 2013

The sun is shining, skin is showing and finally our infrequent friend shines brightly over our little island. Here’s a quick list of some good summer reads to sink your teeth into:


[click to continue…]

What does it mean to be heroic? Are heroes simply the supernatural beings that soar high in the sky or are they the political progressers challenging the status quo, the people that strive to make a positive change to this the world? The seven towers agency invited poets Barbara Smith, Catherine Ann Cullen and Maggie Breen to discuss the issue of heroism in a themed reading challenging the notion of a hero, admired or even idolized for courage or truly exceptionally noble qualities in the face of adversity. Hosted by the Irish writers centre, three women challenged the perception of the hero expounding on their own unique interpretations and understandings of the state of heroism today. Who are our Irish heroic figures? Are they the men and women who fought for our independence or the mythical warriors, the sons of old -the Celtic kings of Ireland? Or can heroism be found in the everyday, the ordinary worker, the single mother and the loving and dedicated parent?  [click to continue…]

Post image for Some Like it Hot: O! Gerty

Some Like it Hot: O! Gerty

by admin on July 11, 2013

Some like it hot: O! Gerty
If you are out on Sandymount Strand this week and contemplating Ulysses, as one is often wont to do in such climes, ask yourself would Nausicaa have been even racier in this heat?

At least we have had Gerty but if the weather was always like this maybe Joyce’s venerable tome would have had still more bathers and fewer men would play dress-up as Leopold Bloom in public.

Looking at some other notable literary sun, water and sea bathers, could we handle the heat? [click to continue…]

Bloomsday, an annual celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses has passed us again this summer and even with the festivities and the hype of excitement built around the infamous novel, the book’s reputation still daunts many readers. Yes, it is dense with an erudition that can intimidate even the most cultured of souls, but, it is his style and use of language that is the true genius behind Joyce’s work.  With the ability to transport his readers to different places, it is a novel full of sights, sounds and smells – A platter for the senses which cannot be confined or categorised into one specific genre. Perhaps this was Joyce’s intention but fundamentally Ulysses is a literary experiment where different styles of prose and poetry collide amidst short stories and tales and the pondering of men and women from different walks of life.

Humorous, touching and shocking even today, Ulysses is a curious book which is a fascinating and irritating read.  I’m not here to lie to you; Ulysses is one of the most frustrating books to read but is also one of the most rewarding original and vividly descriptive works ever written. Appearing hugely rambling at times without a fixed structure of plot, Joyce forces his readers on a rollercoaster for the mind refusing to force feed his audience the secrets and symbolism embedded in the text.  The real genius behind his work is the play on the English language, focusing not merely on the narrative itself but the words and language used to invoke a thought or feeling in the minds that read it, capturing a moment or expression with sound and language.

It is a testament to arguably the greatest innovator of the English language and his work is by no means one dimensional as it is often said: “Every line has three meanings!” So now comes the time to bite the bullet and finally read a novel which has placed Irish literary genius on the map with a few handy tips:

[click to continue…]

On the face of it, you may not think that the simple act of opening a good book and delving into its pages could benefit a recovering addict. The truth is that words are immensely powerful and are precisely the right salve to apply to a wounded soul that is struggling with this disease. Reading can help addicts learn about mindfulness and provide necessary distractions when cravings to use strike. [click to continue…]

DBF 2013: Calling all Publishers!!

by admin on February 26, 2013

Oh yes……. Dublin Book Festival 2013 is getting back into gear! With that in mind, we would like to receive autumn lists from all publishers wishing to get involved as soon as possible for review for DBF 2013.

Please can you send the lists to julianne@dublinbookfestival.com by 10th March.

We at the towers were finally let out yesterday to take photos and prance about holding books and what not. We also had the likes of Jimmy McGee and Fergal Quinn dropping into the Beautiful Smock Alley. Check out some of the lovely pics that have been circulating the media waves on this fine November day- including some….err not so ‘official’ images of all the high jynx!

Sports presenter and author Jimmy Magee and Senator Feargal Quinn at the launch of the Dublin Book Festival in the Smock Alley Theatre today. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.


Here is what the Irish Times were saying:

Over 148 authors will take part in this year’s Dublin Book Festival, the fifth such celebration of Irish writing and publishing.

Running from next Tuesday, November 13th, to Sunday, November 18th, the programme features over 60 events including readings, interviews, political and current affairs discussions, poetry, book-binding workshops and children’s entertainment.

Julianne Mooney, who organised the festival programme, says its central aim is “to create a community atmosphere in which to show the diversity, vitality and talent of Irish publishers and writers”.

The opening event on Tuesday, entitled Inspiring Lives, Inspiring Stories features writers Dervla Murphy and Alice Taylor in conversation with arts broadcaster Sean Rocks. To read the rest, go to the Irish Times website http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1105/breaking38.html

Check out this rather poetic looking literary moment (Makes one think of Harry Clarke?) of Sinead Moriarty and Dermot Bolger in the great banqueting hall in Smock Alley itself. This was all very poised and bookish and professional until something rather odd happened…..we were interrupted by an avian visitor in the shape of a pigeon! Luckily our very nice and talented picture taker Eoin Connolly was on hand to capture the very best in ‘candid moments’ and so ….yes dear readers….we captured this very special holy spirit-like moment for your awe and delectation! Photo: ECP-1.jpg And to think that with all of this hitting the i-waves today you can only imagine what else is to come! Make sure to visit our facebook page for yet more amazing images from the day- a collection which will, we are certain be augmented as the week and indeed festival proceeds!

Don’t forget that it all kicks off next Tuesday with Dervla Murphy, Alice Taylor in conversation with Sean Rocks at 8pm. For more info about our events, interviews and generally inspiring literary information, check out our interview, news and programme pages!






Last Week of Tweet Treats!

by admin on October 30, 2012

Well tweeple- this is the last week of our fantabulous recipe tweeting competition so never mind the cold weather outside- this is the perfect week for you to conentrate on your winter recipe warmers! We have already got some amazing tweets in, including one for a quick roast! All you have to do is come up with your own version of a recipe under 140 characters. Sounds difficult? Well we are here to tell you that it CAN BE DONE!

How to Enter!:   To enter the competition just compose your own recipe – keeping it under 140 characters and tweet it to us @dublinbookfest , for example @dublinbookfest Christmas Crunch Cake-crushed digestives soaked in rum, cinnamon, cover with nutmeg custard and choc flake, bake 4 15mins!

To give you an idea of what we are looking for, take a look at these taken from Jane Traver’s hit book ‘Tweet Treats’:

Gooey Mars Bar Sauce@mduffywriter
Boil 140ml double cream. Add 2 chopped Mars Bars and 50g choc. Lid on & turn off heat. When choc melts stir & pour on ice-cream. Yum
Clonakilty Pudding Risotto@manaboutcouch
Saute onion, garlic, chorizo. Add Arborio rice, vermouth, veg stock, cook till absorbed. Top: Clonakilty pudding, parmesan, steamed asparagus
Turkey Cranberry Parcels @janetravers
Spread turkey steaks liberaly w good cranberry sauce. Roll, tie w twine, bay leaf on each, spray oil. Roast 180c 20 mins.
P.S we LOVE the inclusion of gastric adjectives like ‘yum’!  Send your tasty tweets to @dublinbookfest to be in with a chance to win a hamper full of signed cookbooks!

Newcomer Nominees Announced!

by admin on October 29, 2012

The list of this year’s Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year Award for the  Irish Book Awards has been announced.  Check out the list here:

Mary Costello for the China Factory (Stinging Fly), Donal Ryan for The Spinning Heart (Lilliput Press, Doubleday Ireland), Rosemary McLoughlin for Tyringham Park (Poolbeg), Kathleen MacMahon for This is How it Ends (Little, Brown) and Maeve Higgins for We Have a Good Time Don’t We? (Hachette) and Selina Guinness for The Crocodile By the Door (Penguin Ireland).

Catch these literary whippersnappers for a special panel discussion with the Sunday Independent’s Madeleine Keane on Friday, 16 November! http://www.dublinbookfestival.com/category/programme/prog-by-day/friday-16th/





Meet Katie-one of the most integral cogs in the DBF machine! She is one of a team who has worked tirelessly  over the last number of months to bring you the fabulousness that is the Dublin Book Festival! This fine (well…) morning she has stepped away from the confines of the ‘office’ to tell you wonderful people about how the experience of the DBF 2012 has affected the way she thinks about books, writing and meeting people offline as well as on! For Katie there is no substitute for human contact!

“I remained sceptical of events aimed at the unpublished for years. Surely they can teach me nothing that the almighty Google can’t I thought. Since then I moved to Dublin, studied creative writing and got dragged along to many such events by my friends. Now I am convinced that there is no substitute for actual human contact. Being able to ask specific questions in a collegial setting is so much more rewarding than reading an article about editing online. Making friends who are writers and publishers through events like these demystifies the whole process. It’s extremely motivating to pitch your idea to an editor and see them smile, or to mention your story to a writer friend and hear them say ‘Actually, my agent likes stuff like that. You should send it to them.’
With the face of publishing changing daily and the media flooded with reports of how e-readers are killing/saving reading, copyright is evil/king, and nobody/everybody needs an agent attending discussions by professionals are invaluable in allowing all sides of a debate to be aired and explored. People from all aspects of publishing and at all stages of their careers will be at the Dublin Book Festival this year and there are two events where they will come together to share their knowledge with unpublished writers, emerging authors and anyone that would like to attend.
Writers and publishers will talk books with anyone. The best thing about these events is the community; the fact that, despite locking ourselves away like hermits every day pounding out words on a laptop, when we look around the audience at these events we know we are not alone.

This year at the Dublin Book Festival there are two events aimed at writers and I would urge everyone to come along (especially as they fall in the middle of NaNoWriMo)

Inspiration for Writers: Writing for Young Adults

Inspiration for Writers: The Do’s and Don’ts of Publishing

They’re free too, so I’ll accept no excuses!”

Join the DBF in making your voice heard for those writers who can’t.

The Day of the Imprisoned Writer celebrates and supports writers who resist repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information and insight.

On 15 November former Beirut hostage and writer Brian Keenan, poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and journalist Justine McCarthy will read from the work of writers based around the world who have been targeted because they had the courage to speak their minds. These writers challenge injustice and confront the governments and oppressive regimes who see every criticism as a threat to their power. The human voice is one of the most powerful weapons in defence of human rights and against tyranny, and the writers whose work will be profiled on November 15 have paid a very high price for their courage including:

Chinese poet Zhu Yufu was imprisoned for seven years last December, charged with ‘inciting subversion of state power’. The charges reportedly relate to a poem he wrote, as well as other online writings, interviews he gave to foreign media and donations he collected on behalf of families of people jailed for their pro-democracy and human rights activities.

Turkish human rights lawyer and writer Muharrem Erbey has been held in prison since 2009 charged with having links with the illegal PKK. Muharrem Erbey is a writer and columnist and member of the Kurdish Writers’ Association.

On 02 September Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Jila Baniyaghoob began a one year prison term because of her work as a journalist and human rights campaigner, documenting the post-election demonstrations in Iran, and state violence.  Her husband, and fellow journalist, Bahman Ahmadi Amou’i is also in prison because of his work as editor of a leading business magazine.

Writers, journalists and poets often force us to confront the reality of the world we live in. They challenge the myths and the self-aggrandising propaganda to expose the truth – the violence and the repression that is inflicted on a daily basis on those who refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice.

Join us on November 15 and show your support for persecuted writers around the world.


SEATING LIMITED – REGISTRATION ADVISABLE AT: http://theimprisonedwriter.eventbrite.com/





“A song, Bob Dylan once said, is just a thought. Yes, but a song

cannot become great if it is built around an ordinary thought. Every
great song contains a special kind of thought, the kind that strikes
you as having occurred just to you alone, but which, having been
uttered, offers confirmation that the heart of another is a little
like your own. Great songs unite us around thoughts that are not
immediately obvious, or already consensual, or even thoughts that seem
close to madness. But, reluctant as I am to quibble with a master, it
strikes me that ‘thought’ is close to being the wrong word. Doesn’t a
thought depend on words? Isn’t a thought a coherent piece of
reasoning, even if it ends up unreasonable? A song is more than that:
it has the music, existing in some strange relationship with the
words, coloring them, shading them, adding to them another dimension,
making them live beyond the level of logic. But, still, methinks, the
song, to become worthy of the name, always contains a reasonable
proposition, but in some far more tremendous sense than we have come
to think about. In its interweaving of words and music – and rhythm
and personality – the song goes to another place which is not so
accessible anymore by other means. Songs, poems and prayers use the
same circuits and are held in the same storehouse in the heart. The
song emerges from that space in the human heart where the ultimate
quality of reason resides, and brings it to life. It is, really, a
cry. Perhaps it is becoming the only place in the modern world, where
the most fundamental cry may still be heard.”

Catch John on Wed, 14 November in our Dancing About Architecture event with Marcus Connaughton and Paul Charles as they ask the question: ‘Is it truly possible to capture in “words” what music is about?’

Our New/Old Home……

by admin on October 1, 2012

This year’s Dublin Book Festival will run from 13th – 18th November with a packed programme of events, almost entirely free of charge with readings, interviews, debates, book launches and workshops for adults, children and schools – as well as a number of special guest appearances. The 2012 festival celebrations will be based in and around Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar which was, throughout the eighteenth century, predominantly home to printers and publishers.  It is very fitting that the Dublin Book Festival which celebrates Irish publishing and Irish-published authors should return to this area.

The Festival, which has been programmed by Julianne Mooney, features a vast array of events taking place in Smock Alley Theatre and The Gutter Bookshop. From crime and literary fiction, to health, cookery and gardening to poetry and Irish language titles, there is a huge mix of genres, authors and contributors represented. The central aim of the festival is to create a community atmosphere in which to show the diversity, vitality and talent of Irish publishers and writers. The Dublin Book Festival confidently promises something for everyone and – with the majority of the events being free – there is plenty to entertain and inspire this November.

 ‘In conversation’ series:       

Our exciting series of in conversations  will give readers the chance to learn more about writers, their own inspirations and untold stories. Visitors will not only have the chance to see and hear authors in interview during the festival but we will have a more informal chat with them in the run up to the big thing in our newly created and very comfy DBF Lounge!


Children’s programme:  

Wondering what to do with the children during the cold winter days? This year’s festival includes a vibrant programme for children running free events on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November including a reading from The Nightmare Club Series with David Maybury and Oisin McGann, a bookbinding and cartoon workshop, a children’s treasure hunt around Temple Bar, a bilingual reading of fairytales reading with Catherine Sheridan and Biddy Jenkinson, storytelling with Niall de Burca and lots more. Children will be able to hang out at the Children’s Corner to read or try their hand at writing their own story.