The Dublin Book Festival Begins

Over 80 of the country’s leading authors, poets and journalists will be descending on the capital from tomorrow to participate in the fourth Dublin Book Festival. The five-day festival is Ireland’s largest literary gathering, featuring over 40 readings, debates, launches, workshops and performances in Dublin City Hall and other venues.

Two of Ireland’s greatest living writers, Dermot Bolger and Anthony Cronin will open the festival on Wednesday evening at the National Library of Ireland. They will debate Dublin’s place in literature with Eileen Battersby.

This year the festival will play host to a number of public debates on the economy and politics. On World Book Day (Thursday, 3 March) Vincent Browne, Shane Coleman, Justine McCarthy, Ken Fox and economist Stephen Kinsella will debate what Enda Kenny’s new Government should do to get Ireland back on track, while Fintan O’Toole, Pat Leahy, Naoise Nunn and Kevin Rafter will debate the need for political reform on Sunday, 6 March.

Broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, and historian Diarmaid Ferriter will host a public discussion on the lessons that Ireland can learn from its history on Saturday, 5 March.

A panel of top entrepreneurs, including Dragons’ Den Investor, Bobby Kerr, will offer advice on how to set up a successful business on Friday, 4 March. Personal finance guru Colm Rapple and career coaches Brendan Foley and Jane Downes will also be on hand to dispense advice on how to manage your personal finances and how to get your career back on track.

The festival also acts as a platform for new writing talent, and many up-and-coming authors will get a chance to share the spotlight with established authors, such as Sheila O’Flanagan, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Kevin Power, Claire Kilroy and Kate Kerrigan.

Aspiring writers can join best-selling authors Sarah Webb and Kevin Stevens on Saturday, 5 March, as they discuss the art of writing for young adults, while those interested in writing popular fiction can join Sheila O’Flanagan, Sinead Moriarty and Anna McPartlin for a discussion on Sunday, 6 March.

The festival is open to readers of all ages and children can look forward to a series of free events with some of their favourite writers, including Oisin McGann, Don Conroy, Jean Flitcroft and Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

Niall De Búrca, one of Ireland’s finest traditional storytellers, will be spinning his yarns at Dublin’s City Hall on Saturday (5 March), while Gillian Perdue will be entertaining young bookworms at the Gutter Bookshop in Cow’s Lane also on Saturday.

The Dublin Book Festival is known for its lively poetry programme and acclaimed poets such as Peter Sirr, Gerard Smyth, Michael O’Loughlin, Iggy McGovern, Jessie Lendennie, Alan Jude Moore, Máighréad Medbh, Anne Le Marquand Hartigan, Nessa O’Mahony, Maurice Harmon and Patrick Chapman will be participating in a series of readings.

The Dublin Book Festival is organised by Publishing Ireland, the association of Irish book publishers, and is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport; Foras na Gaeilge; Dublin City Libraries and Dublin City Council.

‘Despite deep cuts in funding for the Arts and the closure of a number of prominent booksellers and publishers in recent months, our capital remains one of the world’s great literary cities. Anyone who visits the Dublin Book Festival will see why,’ said Jean Harrington, President of Publishing Ireland.

Events will take place in various venues across Dublin and from Friday, daily between 9.30am and 6pm in Dublin’s City Hall on Dame Street.

A special festival bookshop and café will also be located in Dublin’s City Hall. Entry to events in City Hall is FREE though some events require a booking charge. The full programme is available at www.dublinbookfestival.com