Writers to examine ‘best and worst of our times’ at Kate O’Brien weekend

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

SOME of the country’s most distinguished authors will be speaking in Limerick for the 29th Kate O’Brien weekend at the end of this month.

SOME of the country’s most distinguished authors will be speaking in Limerick for the 29th Kate O’Brien weekend at the end of this month.

The three day literary festival, in honour of one of the Limerick’s most famous and controversial writers, will focus on the Dickensian theme, ‘The best of times, the worst of times’ examining the Irish context.

Sheila Deegan, arts officer with Limerick City Council, said the committee chose this theme as they felt “it reflected Irish society over the past ten years – the excesses of the Celtic Tiger followed by economic and societal wilderness and confusion”.

The weekend will be officially opened by Ireland’s Ambassador to Uganda, Anne Webster followed by a concert recital accompanied by Mairead Hurley.

Among this year’s speakers, who will address the theme from their own perspective, will be Conor Brady, editor of ‘The Irish Times’ from 1986 to 2002, who published his first novel, A June of Ordinary Murders, last year. He will focus on the journalism of Kate O’Brien, especially her Irish Times series from 1967 to 1972, and link that in with the paper’s role at that time as an outlet and source of financial support for writers.

Other guests are Tipperary native Donal Ryan, whose debut novel The Spinning Heart has won critical acclaim; and the New York based writer Colum McCann, whose most recent work, Let the Great World Spin, won worldwide acclaim, including The 2009 National Book Award in the US, and several other major literary prizes. His work has been published in over 30 languages. Jennifer Johnston will deliver the annual Kate O’Brien lecture, and discussions will be held on her work.

This year the readings will be held in the Daghdha arts centre, on Friday, February 22, in Limerick courthouse on February 23, and in the Lime Tree Theatre in Mary Immaculate College on the final day, from 10am to 1pm.

A full weekend ticket is priced at €100. For full listings see www.kateobrienweekend.com