Friday 6th March, 3.30pm | Temple Gate Hotel
Cork-born Billy O’Callaghan joins us to share with us his thoughts on what makes great writing great. Billy is the author of short story collections - In Exile (2008), In Too Deep (2009) and The Things We Lose, the Things We Leave Behind (2013) which earned him a 2013 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award. His non-fiction book, entitled Learning from the Greats, was published in 2014 by Cork City Libraries. It has been broadcast on RTE Radio One’s Book on One, Sunday Miscellany and the Francis McManus Awards series and has been selected as Ireland’s representative for the UNESCO Cities of Literature project. Presented by Clare Libraries.
Friday 6th March, 4.00pm | Temple Gate Hotel
The festival is delighted to welcome Ying Tai Chang who is visiting us for the first time. She will read from a selection of her works, including her most recent novel, the intriguingly titled To All the Boys We Loved Before.Ying-Tai Chang is an award-winning Taiwanese writer and academic. Her writing has garnered numerous awards and has been listed among the Best Taiwanese Fiction at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Her works include the novels, To All the Boys We Loved Before (2012), The Rose with A Thousand Faces (2011), The Zither Player from Angkor (2008) and The Bear Whispered to Me (2007); as well as the short-story collections The Unstoppable Spring (2009), Floating Nest (2004), and My Tibetan Lover (2000). Presented by Clare Libraries.
Friday 6th March, 4.45pm | Temple Gate Hotel
Join us for the launch of Frank Golden’s new thriller The Night Game. Frankis a Clare-based poet, novelist, and painter. He has published four books of poems, the most recent of which is In Daily Accord (Salmon Publications). His first novel, The Two Women of Aganatz (Wolfhound Press), was well received, and described by Carol Coulter in the Irish Times as “uncomfortable, but compellingly and poetically described by a powerful imagination”.
Friday 6th March, 6.30pm | glór
Ennis welcomes RTE presenter and author Evelyn O’Rourke to launch this year’s festival and exhibition. The exhibition ‘To Be Or Naught To Be Is Written In Sand’ includes the work of some of Ireland’s finest painters: Carmel Doherty, Richard Sharp, Brian McMahon, Will Gillchrist and Mick O’Dea. The paintings were inspired by poems which the artists selected from the work of the Clare based Poetry Collective. Both the paintings and the poems that inspired them will be on show until Monday, 9 March, at glór and The Rowan Tree.
Friday 6th March, 8pm | glór
Written and performed by Donal O’Kelly, Catalpa is a classic of modern Irish theatre. It is the story of the daring 1875 whaleship rescue of six Irish prisoners from Fremantle penal colony in Australia - all in a screenwriter’s head, the best movie never made! Catalpa is about heroes and visionaries, political intrigue and personal loyalty, with hot romance, mixed-up rebels and battles at sea. A subversive epic, a celebration of the power of live theatre “lyrical and passionate, satirical and very funny” (Irish Times). Catalpa has toured the world to high acclaim, winning a Fringe First in Edinburgh. Featuring live music by Trevor Knight.
Saturday 7th March, 10.00am | Temple Gate Hotel
Denis Sampson will read from his memoir, A Migrant Heart, which he describes as a personal reflection on his journey from early childhood in Clare to Canada where he now lives. Denis grew up in Whitegate, Co. Clare. His Young John McGahern: Becoming a Novelist and Outstaring Nature’s Eye, won widespread critical respect for their appreciation of McGahern’s art. He has written features and reviews for Irish and Canadian newspapers, and personal essays for literary journals such as Dublin Review, Irish Pages (Belfast), Brick (Toronto) and the Threepenny Review (San Francisco). RTE has broadcast many essays on Sunday Miscellany. His The Found Voice: Writers’ Beginnings is due out from Oxford University Press later this year.
Saturday 7th March, 11.30am | glór
This year, we have two very special guests who will argue why we should add their suggestions to our reading lists. A treasured friend of the Festival, Joseph O’Connor, joins us from the Creative Writing Programme at University of Limerick where last year he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing. Evelyn O’Rourke is back in action on Saturday morning to share her favourite 10 books and her insights into why they should feature on everyone’s reading list.
Saturday 7th March, 11.30am | Old Ground Hotel
John Grenham asks ‘Whatever happened to family history?’ He will introduce us to Irish genealogy by way of looking at what has changed in the past decade. Lots of anecdotes, scabrous gossip and insider low-downs are promised. John, since 1998, has run The Irish Times Irish Ancestors website (www.irishtimes.com/ancestor). Among his publications are Tracing your Irish Ancestors (Gill & Macmillan, 4th ed. 2012), Clans and Families of Ireland (1995), Generations (1996), ‘The Genealogical Office and its Records’ in The Genealogical Office (1999) and Grenham’s Irish Surnames (CD-ROM, 2003). He writes the ‘Irish Roots’ column in The Irish Times and co-presented the RTE television programme ‘The Genealogy Roadshow’. This event is presented in association with Clare Roots Society.
Saturday 7th March at 1.15pm | Temple Gate Hotel
Three of Ireland’s favourite poets join us, courtesy of Gallery Press, for a literary lunch, a new addition to the Ennis Book Club Festival. Light lunch will be provided after which Peter Fallon, Michael Coady and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin read from their recent work.
Peter Fallon is a prize-winning poet. His books include The Georgics of Virgil (a PBS-recommended translation) (Oxford World’s Classics), The Company of Horses (2007) and Strong, My Love (May 2014). He lives in Loughcrew in County Meath where he has farmed for many years.
Michael Coady lives in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary. His prize winning poetry collections include Two for a Woman, Three for A Man (1980), Oven Lane, a Poetry Ireland Choice, All Souls, One Another, Going by Water and a revised Oven Lane and Other Poems (2014).
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin was born in Cork city. Recent books include The Girl Who Married the Reindeer, Selected Poems and The Sun-fish. The Boys of Bluehill will be published in 2015. She has won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, the O’Shaughnessy Award of the Irish-American Cultural Institute and the Griffin International Poetry Prize.
Saturday 7th March, 3.00pm | glór
Evelyn O’Rourke hosts readings by newcomers, Sara Baume, Colin Barrett and Nuala Ní Chonchúir, all of whom are destined for ’10 books you should read’ lists in the not too distant future.
Sara Baume studied fine art at Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design before completing a Master’s in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin. Her short fiction has been published in The Dublin Review, The Moth, The Penny Dreadful, The Stinging Fly and the Irish Independent as part of the Hennessy New Irish Writing series. In 2014 she won the prestigious Davy Byrnes Award for her short story ‘Solesearcher1’. Her debut novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, will have been launched by the time we meet her in Ennis.
Colin Barrett hails from County Mayo. His debut collection of short stories, Young Skins, was originally published by the Stinging Fly Press in Ireland and won the 2014 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize, The Guardian First Book Award and the Rooney Prize for Literature. Colin’s stories have been published in the Stinging Fly magazine, Five Dials, A Public Space and The New Yorker.
Nuala Ní Chonchúir is a novelist, short story writer and poet. Her critically acclaimed second novel The Closet of Savage Mementos appeared in April 2014 from New Island publishers. Penguin USA, Penguin Canada and Sandstone (UK) will publish Nuala’s third novel, Miss Emily, about the poet Emily Dickinson and her Irish maid, in summer 2015.
Saturday 7th March, 3.00pm | Old Ground Hotel
Michael Smith pays a return visit to Ennis, this time with his biography of Ernest Shackleton. Michael has written nine books, appeared on TV and radio and lectured extensively on polar exploration. His book, An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean was responsible for generating widespread popular interest in Irish explorers and getting Crean’s life adopted onto the Irish school’s curriculum. His new biography of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer, has been greeted with acclaim.
Saturday 7th March, 4.00pm | glór studio
With wit and bowler hats, Clare Youth Theatre brings you extracts from Waiting For Godot.
Two teenagers don suits and hats, and bring you the stark Beckettian atmosphere that comes with Vladimir and Estragon’s trials and tribulations. Clare Youth Theatre present this iconic piece of theatre, using scenes that fit together to bring you a fresh insight into the relationship between these two tramps.
Saturday 7th March, 4.30pm | glór
These two authors need no introduction to Ennis Book Club Festival visitors. Niall Williams who lives in West Clare was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for his latest novel, History of The Rain set on the banks of the river Shannon “where everyone is a long story”. Niall will read a selection of pieces from his many novels and short stories. Mary Costello grew up in Galway and now lives in Dublin. Her collection of stories, The China Factory, was nominated for the 2012 Guardian first book award. Her first novel, Academy Street, won the 2014 Eason’s Novel of the Year award and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Prize.
Saturday 7th March, 8.00pm | glór
Seán Rocks, Presenter of Arena on RTÉ Radio 1, in conversation with crime writers, Paul Carson and Val McDermid. Crime writing is a fascinating topic and crime fiction is a popular genre among book clubs everywhere. In this year’s Sean Rocks interview, we will hear from Paul Carson whose novels are number-one bestsellers and from Val McDermid who, when she’s not writing a bestseller, can be seen and heard debating and contributing to broad ranging cultural and political discussion.
Paul Carson has published six bestselling thrillers. His first novel, Scalpel, was published in 1997 by Heinemann and became an immediate Irish Times bestseller, Cold Steel followed a year later and in 2000, Final Duty hit the bookshelves. Since 2000, he has published Ambush (2003) and Betrayal (2005). His most recent novel, Inquest (2013), which he describes as his most challenging creation, took him into a dark side of medicine in the Coroner’s Court.
Val McDermid has written 27 bestselling crime novels; The Skeleton Road –her 28th – was published by Little, Brown in 2014 when she also published a retelling of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and an exploration of forensic science, Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime. A regular broadcaster with BBC Radio, Val’s five-part ‘Woman’s Hour’ drama, Village SOS, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and in 2011 Val also presented the BBC Radio 4 serial The Chalet School, in which she talked about how that series of books inspired her education and career. In 2014, Dundee University has named its new mortuary in her honour.
Sunday 8th March, 10.00am | glór
This year’s Sunday Symposium explores what life is like inside the ‘tent’ for Irish politicians. RTE’s recent Haughey series has provided grist to the mill for those of us who like to ponder such matters, but have you ever asked yourself, why — given the old adage that ‘all political careers end in failure’ — anybody would choose a career in politics? And what really goes on backstage?
This year’s panellists include: former government minister and PD leader Des O’Malley who in 2014 published his autobiography, DCU’s Dr Gary Murphy whose academic work focuses on lobbying and who’s got a book in the pipeline about Irish politics since 1987, RTE’s Katie Hannon who wrote The Naked Politician, her fascinating account of life in the ‘trenches’, and Mick Clifford who as well as informing and entertaining us with his keenly crafted political columns in the Irish Examiner, also authored an account of Bertie Ahern and the ‘Drumcondra Mafia’ as well as a crime novel or two. As always our own Caimin Jones does the honours in the chair.
Sunday 8th March, 12.15 | Old Ground Hotel
We platform the work of Inis Creative Writers Group alongside the Poetry Collective in this special event celebrating some unique voices of Co Clare.
Sunday 8th March, 1.30pm | Old Ground Hotel
Natasha Fennell and Róisín Ingle share the funny, poignant and occasionally heart-breaking story of The Daughterhood. When Natasha Fennell’s mother was diagnosed with a progressive illness, her life came to a standstill. She wondered how she would cope when her mother was gone and whether she had been a good enough daughter. After a call out to daughters in Róisín Ingle’s weekly Irish Times column, Natasha and Róisín quickly learned that other daughters had similar fears and had never spoken about them before. An impromptu, informal self-help club, The Daughterhood, was formed – albeit one that involved good food and wine – as once a month a group of women would come together to help each other navigate the most important and sometimes trickiest relationship of our lives. Natasha is a Director at Stillwater Communications and a regular reviewer and contributor on RTE Radio 1’s flagship discussion programmes. Róisín is Daily Features Editor and Broadcaster at The Irish Times. She writes a column in the paper’s Magazine every Saturday.
Sunday 8th March, 3pm | Scéal Eile Books
Scéal Eile Books together with award-winning bilingual poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa host a reading by the 10 Clare poets (aged 12-15 years) who were recently shortlisted in the Sceal Eile Books’ Comórtas Filíochta. The event will be streamed live online.