Above: Sir Jonathan Miller
Bantry once again welcomes an exciting line-up of leading writers next month when the West Cork Literary Festival gets underway from July 6 – 12.
Booker Prize-winning novelist and poet Ben Okri, one of the finest African writers in the post colonial tradition, will read on the opening night of the Festival in the Maritime Hotel. Awarded an OBE, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1987 and four years later won the Booker Prize for his third novel ‘The Famished Road’.
Sir Jonathan Miller joins the Festival audience the following evening when he will mark his 80th birthday by reading from his collected writings. Part of the legendary comedy revue ‘Beyond the Fringe’ with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller has many strings to his bow – he is a theatre and opera director, actor, author, television presenter, humourist, sculptor and medical doctor and according to the New York Times, “he combines qualities that shouldn’t be contained in one person; he is a unique performer and thinker.”
In a special evening on Tuesday, July 8, supported by Poetry Ireland, leading Canadian writer and poet Anne Michaels will read from her work alongside Ireland’s Professor of Poetry, Paula Meehan. On Wednesday, July 9, the much-loved novelist Jennifer Johnston will read from her new novel A Sixpenny Song and talk about the writing life. She will also talk about her award-winning debut novel The Captains and the Kings, which remains one of the first and classic Irish First World War novels. Amid the commemorative events this year, we will hear about what inspired the novel and what it was like writing about World War I in different times.
Memoir is the subject of the Thursday evening event when Blake Morrison and Hugo Hamilton read from their work and discuss memoir and writing. Blake Morrison is best known for his multi award-winning memoir ‘And When Did You Last See Your Father?’, which was made into a feature film. Hugo Hamilton’s book The Speckled People, a unique German-Irish memoir was hailed an “instant classic” by Colum McCann.
Recent winner of the PEN/ Faulkner Prize, Karen Joy Fowler makes the journey to Bantry from the United States to read on the final evening of the Festival. Her best-selling novel The Jane Austen Book Club was made into a film of the same name.
Throughout the week, the Festival also features Eimear McBride, Alberto Manguel, Carmen Bugan, A Tribute to Seamus Heaney, A Literary Brunch with John Kelly, Rupert Isaacson, Christopher Somerville, Philip Hoare, Leanne O’Sullivan, Andy Kershaw, IMRAM Blues Project and much more. Alexandra Pringle, Group Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury Publishing, is 2014 Editor in Residence.
The Bantry Bay Series returns with maritime-themed events on Whiddy Island and throughout the town. This series is generously supported by the Bantry Bay Port Company.
Since the inception of the West Cork Literary Festival in the late 1990s, workshops have been at its heart, encouraging both novice and experienced writers. From Creative Writing for Beginners to Historical Fiction, Scriptwriting to Poetry, Wild Women Writing to the Short Story, there is a workshop to suit every aspiring or established writer looking to spend time in beautiful Bantry honing their craft. Writers such as Richard Skinner, Maurice Riordan, Mary Morrissy, Abbie Spallen, Kevin Rushby and Oisín McGann will be facilitating three and five day writing workshops at this year’s Festival.
The Children’s Festival remains as popular as ever with events this year featuring Gabriel Rosenstock, Mairi Hedderwick — the Creator of Katie Morag, Judi Curtin and many more special events.
The West Cork Literary Festival runs from July 6 to 12 and is generously supported by The Arts Council, Cork County Library and Arts Service and Failte Ireland. Booking on www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie, Tel: 027 52788/9 LoCall: 1850 788 789.