UNPRECEDENTED demand for tickets for Listowel Writers’ Week is expected this year, following the confirmation that BBC TV host Graham Norton and actor Alan Cumming will appear at the popular literary festival.
Tickets for the 44th annual festival are due to go on sale next week, and inquiries have already been flooding the ticket office in the Square in Listowel.
“We’re delighted. Writers’ week often sells out, but we expect these two events in particular will sell out very fast. It has been a huge boost. We have had loads of enquiries already.
“It’s lovely to see Graham Norton to return to Ireland, and that he has chosen to come to Listowel Writers’ Week. He had heard about the festival and wanted to come. People had said to him if there’s one festival to attend it’s Listowel Writers’ Week, because it’s such a relaxed and convivial place, and it’s a great festival for both the author and the reader,” Maire Logue of the festival told the Limerick Leader.
Running from May 27 to 31, the longest-running literary festival drew in excess of 15,000 people to the north Kerry town - the home of the late literary legend John B. Keane - and even more are expected this year.
There will be advance ticket sales in the coming week to 10 days for six events, including a late-night concert with Declan O’Rourke.
A venue for Graham Norton’s appearance on Saturday night, May 30, where he will talk about his memoir The Life and Loves of a He-Devil, has not yet been confirmed. Ticket prices for this event have not yet been released, but may include a signed copy of his new book. It is expected there will be a capacity for up to 500 people for this talk.
Actor, director and writer Alan Cumming, best known for his role in the multi-award winning American TV series The Good Wife and his most recent memoir, Not My Father’s Son, will appear in the ballroom of the Arms Hotel, and capacity will be limited to some 450 people. Tickets for this event will be priced at €15. Tickets for the whole event are priced at €120.
Ms Logue said the burgeoning programme of events will be fully announced in three weeks’ time, and will encompass over 100 events, including readings, concerts, children’s events, art exhibitions, and writing workshops, including one on travel.
Other headlining names who will appear at the festival include Anne Enright, Dennis Lehane, Colm Tóibín, Andrew O’Hagan, Neel Mukherjee, Sara Baume, Colin Barrett, Paul Durcan, Patrick Cockburn, Christine Dwyer Hickey and Nick Laird.
Newly appointed Irish fiction Laureate Anne Enright will open the festival on Wednesday, May 27.
The highlight of the evening will be the announcement of the winners of both the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award and the Pigott Poetry Prize 2015.
It also marks the 50th anniversary of publication of John B’s The Year of the Hiker, and this year will see the announcement of the John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Mercier Press.
New this year is a special Yeats’ Event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.
The enormously popular New Writers’ Salon will return for its third year and will once again showcase a new tranche of Ireland’s best and most exciting emerging writers of tomorrow.
There will also be two and three-day creative writing workshops.
Tickets will be served on a first come first served basis, and can be booked online or by calling the ticket office.