THIS year’s literary festival in honour of author and playwright Kate O’Brien promises to be “more wide-ranging than previous festivals”, according to organisers.
The Kate O’Brien Weekend has been restyled as the 2014 Limerick Literary Festival in a bid to attract a wider audience and boasts “some of the most recognisable names in Irish and British literature” in an intriguing line-up.
The festival honouring The Ante Room author was first held in 1985 and to mark its 30th year has been boosted to four days this year.
It has the support of Limerick City of Culture and the Arts Council.
It was launched in O’Mahony’s Bookshop on Saturday by Limerick-based author Donal Ryan, who was a guest speaker at last year’s event in Limerick Courthouse.
Poet and festival committee member Vivienne McKechnie noted that this year’s event would mark the 40th anniversary of the The Ante Room author’s death.
“To mark 40 years on from the death of Kate O’Brien and Limerick’s status as Ireland’s first national City of Culture, we have put together a four-day programme of events that promises to be more wide-ranging than previous festivals,” she said.
“The numbers attending the festival has grown year-on-year and we expect hundreds of people from all over Ireland, the UK and beyond to travel to Limerick city later this month.”
The festival will take place in 69 O’Connell Street - formerly the Belltable - and the Lime Tree Theatre from February 20-23 and features a stellar line-up including novelist Edna O’Brien, Booker Prize-winning author Anne Enright, English playwright Michael Frayn, Irish Times Poetry award winner Michael Longley and Claire Tomalin, English biographer and journalist.
Other contributors include former RTE broadcaster Mike Murphy, author Selina Guinness, poet Niall Mc Monagle, novelist and columnist Peter Cunningham, playwright and poet Professor Frank McGuinness, award-winning novelist Siobhán Parkinson and neuroscientist and writer Elaine Fox.
There will also be a rehearsed reading of O’Brien’s play Distinguished Villa, a walking tour from Boru House - her birthplace on Mulgrave Street - and a recital by pianist Finghin Collins.