Tuesday 28 February 2017

Forward March! Literary Festivals 2017. Dates for Your Diary

The month of March sees the literary festival circuit across Ireland, Great Britain and further afield, well and truly awake from its winter slumber. Events taking place that have been listed and confirmed include:
Headingley Lit Fest. A "rolling festival" which takes place annually in March but also some supplementary events "Between the Lines" throughout the year. Visit website for further information ...
Essex Book Festival. Runs throughout March. 31 Days, 90 Events, 45 Venues, 200+ Writers & Artists. Visit website for further information ...
StAnza, St. Andrews, 1 - 5 March. Scotland's International Poetry Festival's mission is to celebrate poetry, to bring poetry to audiences and to enable encounters with poetry. Visit website for further information ...
Aldeburgh Literary Festival, 2-5 March. Featuring "an extraordinary variety of talks, from the local to the global, the serious to the hilarious, the scientific to the philosophical." Visit website for further information ...
Ennis Book Club Festival, 3-5 March. The country's only book club festival offers a "unique mix of readings, discussion, comedy and chat in one of Ireland's friendliest towns." Visit website for further information ...
Huddersfield Literature Festival, 4-19 March. Innovative and high-profile events to support and showcase both established and new, emerging writers and performers, as well as the opportunity to attend workshops and masterclasses. Visit website for further information ...
Aye Write! Glasgow's Book Festival, 9-19 March. 200 authors and three venues all packed into one festival with two family days either side of a packed week of events, designed especially for schools. Visit website for further information ...
Kings Lynn Fiction Festival, 10-12 March. Presenting "some of the best contemporary writers of chapter and verse in a friendly and informal setting." A poetry festival is also held in September under the same auspices. Visit website for further information ...
F. Festival, Dublin, 11 March. Celebrating women in the arts at venues across Dublin through a variety of artistic and creative media. Visit website for further information ...
London Book Fair, 14-16 March. A global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Takes place at Olympia, West London. Covering all aspects of the publishing industry. Visit website for further information ...
York Literature Festival, 16 - 30 March. Promoting the arts in York, with an emphasis on literature, spoken word and poetry, also featuring music, comedy, cinema and theatre. This year's festival promises to deliver its largest programme ever, with more than 60 events in two weeks. Visit website for further information ...
Chagword – Dartmoor's Literary Festival in Chagford, 17-19 March. A festival now in its third year, it aims "to establish Chagford as a focus of literary excellence, by attracting high quality speakers and providing new opportunities for local people to experience literature in direct, accessible and dynamic ways." Visit website for further information ...
Alderney Literary Festival, 24-26 March. The Channel Island of Alderney, in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, hosts this "boutique history festival where people who enjoy reading and writing about the past come together to talk books and have a great weekend." Visit website for further information ...
Cardiff Children's Literature Festival, 25 March - April 2. Spread over two weekends, with events in both English and Welsh, the festival celebrates the very best in contemporary children's books. Visit website for further information ...

For further information about these and other festivals running throughout the year – including events happening near you – visit the websites of Literary Festivals (covers Great Britain and Ireland) and Culture Fox (mainly Irish focus).

If you are a festival organiser and would like to promote your event on Writing & Literary, please Contact Us by e-mail or, you can submit the relevant information using our online form. We cannot guarantee inclusion but we will do our best to promote it for you, free of charge. We recommend that you give us sufficient advance notice of the event. A telephone number is also always handy, in case we need to verify any of the information given.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Limerick Literary Festival 2017 (in honour of Kate O'Brien)

Limerick Literary Festival 2017 kicks off its schedule tomorrow (23 February) when UL Professor and author, Eoin Devereux delivers "an illustrated talk on Oscar Wilde and Morrissey".

The official opening takes place on Friday, at 6pm, in Limerick City Gallery of Art in Pery Square. Journalist, Olivia O'Leary will officiate. The festival runs throughout the weekend concluding on Sunday.

This year's festival marks the 33rd edition of what was formerly known as the Kate O’Brien Weekend:
The event continues to honour the life and works of the Limerick author, while attracting prominent participants from all over the world. Building on this significant history, the Limerick Literary Festival seeks to promote Limerick nationally as a place of literary excellence and to provide a platform where readers can meet their favourite authors and other readers. This year, we have gathered up to 20 participants from Ireland, England, Italy and the US in six different venues in Limerick city.

Full details, including bookings, venues, programme of events, are available from the festival website.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Purbeck Literary Festival goes WILD in 2017

Purbeck Literary Festival, now in its fourth year, begins tomorrow (16 February) and runs until Saturday, 25th. It is, according to LiteraryFestivals.co.uk, the first such festival of the new season, "as far as we can tell."

According to the festival organisers:
Our theme this year is WILD. We have a fantastic array of events lined-up. From Wild tales of travels, nature, poetry, music, and artists to Wild adventures in restoring old buildings, finding fossils and a whole host of kids events – there’s something for everyone.
The full programme of events is available to view and download from the festival website.

"Venues across the district, including village halls, schools, country pubs, cafes and hotels support the festival" but where exactly is Purbeck? It is a local government district in Dorset, England, named after the Isle of Purbeck, which is actually a peninsula.

"Exploring literature through our landscape" seems to be the festival's guiding purpose, according to the organisers:
Swanage and Purbeck in Dorset is a fantastic location for a relaxing short break by the sea. Why not come and enjoy the Purbeck Literary Festival events at the same time?
So, now you know!

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Cork International Poetry Festival 2017, 14-18 February

Cork International Poetry Festival runs from today (Tuesday, 14 February) until Saturday. A line up of Irish and international authors will provide readings and workshops on various subjects and themes.

The full programme of events (available to download from the festival website) will also include the presentation of the Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prize and the launch of The Well Review, a new, international poetry journal, named after the neighbourhood of Sunday's Well in Cork City.

John Montague (1929-2016), the first occupant of the Ireland Chair of Poetry, was originally scheduled to give a reading on the publication of his latest book. Instead, an evening of homage to the late poet, who passed away in December, will take place on the Saturday at the Cork Arts Theatre.

Many of the events advertised are free but pre-booking may be required in some cases. Tickets are no longer available to pre-book online but can be bought on the door at at the Cork Arts Theatre's ticket office. For further information about times, venues and events, see Cork International Poetry Festival website.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957)

Laura Ingalls Wilder head and shoulders
By Unknown photographer
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series of autobiographical novels, was born 150 years ago today, on 7 February 1867. Between 1932 and 1943, she produced a total of eight such novels, all based on her childhood experiences growing up in various parts of the US northern mid-west during the 1870s and 1880s, as part of a pioneer and settler family. "Years of sunshine and shadows" as she would later describe it.

She was born near village of Pepin in the Big Woods region of Wisconsin. Her family moved around quite a lot and this feature of her life would continue after she got married. She had worked as a teacher in the meantime, from the age of just 15, in order to supplement her family's earnings. Each of the books in the Little House series are set in one of the locations that she had lived while growing up.

The family resided for only two years in Walnut Grove, Minnesota before crop failure forced them to move on. Nevertheless, it provides the setting for the TV series, Little House on the Prairie, loosely based on her accounts. The book of the same name actually tells of the time that the Ingalls family spent on the prairie of Kansas, near the town of Independence, on what subsequently turned out to be a Native American reservation. The decision to move was based on the fact that the land was not legally open to settlement and that the US army might force them to abandon it.

By Laura Ingalls Wilder
(scan from the Internet)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Her writing career began around 1911, when she found an outlet for her particular talent and style in articles that she submitted to mostly farming and rural publications. In her early 60s, she began writing an autobiography with the title, Pioneer Girl. It was rejected by publishers but she re-wrote most of the stories, adapting them to a format suitable for juvenile and young adult readership. She was assisted in her efforts by her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, herself a prominent journalist, writer, polemicist, staunch libertarian. The Little House series were, in many ways, a literary collaboration of the mother and the daughter, with Rose also acting as her agent, using her connections as a successful writer in her own right to get the books published.

Another motivating factor may well have been the stock market crash of 1929, which saw both Rose's savings, as well as that of her parents, wiped out. Their fortunes were restored far beyond what they could have expected with the success of the Little House series, recollecting pioneer life of the late 19th century, based on the Ingalls family's experiences on the American frontier. Some unfinished manuscripts have been also published posthumously.

Laura Ingalls Wilder died on February 10, 1957, three days after her 90th birthday.

Almanzo and Laura Wilder gravesite Mansfield MO
Gravesite of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder in Mansfield Cemetery, Mansfield, MO.
Buried next to them is daughter Rose Wilder Lane.

By Julie Jordan Scott [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday 3 February 2017

Doolin Writers' Weekend 2017

Doolin Writers Weekend logo
Doolin Writers' Weekend, which starts today (Friday, 3 February) and runs until Sunday, is now in its fifth year. It claims to offer "an eclectic mix of workshops, readings, music and food and has something for every level of writer, from beginners to expert wordsmiths and lovers of literature alike."

Hotel Doolin is the venue once again. Doolin is a coastal village in north County Clare. It has long been a popular tourist destination, situated as it is close to natural wonders such as the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren. It also claims a long association with the arts, "providing inspiration for musicians, painters and writers. Many of the greats spent time in Doolin, including JM Synge, George Bernard Shaw, Dylan Thomas, Augustus John and Oliver St. Gogarty."

Writers who will be making their way to this years festival include Mike McCormack, Sara Baume, Rita-Ann Higgins, Alan McMonagle, Karl Parkinson.
"It's a great opportunity for aspiring writers as well as literary fans and established authors to get together and mix. As Anne Enright, Irelands Laureate of fiction says, 'there is no VIP room in Irish Literature,' and this is true also for the Doolin Writers’ Weekend. One of the key aspects of the festival for us is that it has the feel of a community, with people joining us here every year and just picking up where things left off; audiences and artists feeling at one and enjoying the communal spirit of the weekend." - Donal Minihane, Event Organiser, Hotel Doolin

A total prize fund of €2500 will be disbursed when winners of the Doolin Writers' Competition are announced.

Further information, including details of how to get there, are available from Hotel Doolin's website.

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