Limerick Literary festival promises packed programme for weekend

Limerick Literary festival promises packed programme for weekend

Bill Whelan officially launching the Limerick Literary Festival at No. 1 Pery Square last month - Picture by Dave Gaynor

THE ANNUAL festival that honours Limerick-born writer Kate O’Brien is making its long-awaited return to the city this weekend, with a spectacular line-up in store for attendees. 

Limerick Literary Festival, formerly known as The Kate O’Brien Weekend, kicks off its 36th event this Friday, with Vicky Phelan set to officially open the festival at 7pm in Dance Limerick, followed by a musical interlude presented by Irish National Opera.

An aspiring mix of both discourse and discussion the festival began in 1984 to mark the tenth anniversary of the death of Limerick-born Kate O’Brien, and continues to celebrate the life and works of the author while attracting prominent participants from all over the world. 

This year’s theme is Imagination, derived from a quote from Kate O’Brien’s novel Without my Cloak: “Wherever you go the most of life will have to happen in your mind.”

On Friday, in association with City Library, poet and novelist Catherine Phil McCarthy will give a talk, followed by a lunchtime talk in The Hunt Museum with actor and storyteller Cathy Rose O’Brien, Kate O’Brien’s grandniece. 

On Saturday, February 22, in the Dance Limerick Space, the festival welcomes author of the Forgotten Revolution Liam Cahill, novelist Christine Dwyer Hickey, literary agent Jo Unwind, authors Sarah Davis Goff, Dan Mooney, editor and professor at Sorbonne Paris 3 Cliona Ni Riordain, Limerick-born writer Paul Lynch, English novelist Andrew Miller, poet and broadcaster John Kelly and arts administrator and author David Barrie.

On Sunday, in the Belltable Theatre, Professor Emerita Patricia Coughlan and Ireland’s Laureate Na nOg and novelist Sarah Crossan will both give talks.

This will be followed by the Kate O’Brien Award presentation and our Desert Island Books where director and actor Gerry Stembridge and bibliotherapist and author Ella Berthoud will reveal their choice of five books to carry to a desert island.

Finally, distinguished Irish dramatist and screenwriter Roddy Doyle will close this packed 2020 Limerick Literary Festival in honour of Kate O’Brien.

For more information and detailed programme see, Visit for tickets. Weekend passes are available, and allow entry to all of the events during the Limerick Literary Festival. 

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