BY JACKIE KEOGH
WITH only weeks to go before this year’s West Cork Literary Festival, tickets are selling quickly for Bantry’s six-day feast of writing and reading, from July 12th to 18th.
This year, the festival begins earlier than usual with a reading by the bestselling author Michel Faber in the Maritime Hotel on Sunday afternoon. The Dutch-born writer, who was brought up in Australia and now lives in Scotland, is regarded as one of the finest novelists of his generation.
His first short story collection was published in 1998 and was instantly embraced by critics. Commercial success soon followed and in 2002, his breakout best seller, The Crimson Petal and the White sold 1.4 million copies and was adapted into a BBC mini series. His latest book, which he says is also his last, The Book of Strange New Things is seen as one of his most ambitious and accomplished. He will be reading from this book in Bantry. After the official opening in Bantry Library, where the winner of the JG Farrell Award will be announced, the action returns to the Maritime Hotel where award-winning writer SJ Watson will read.
SJ Watson wrote the highly acclaimed Before I Go To Sleep, which was made into a hit film with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
A dazzling array of talented, award-winning young Irish writers will also be appearing throughout the week. Sara Baume, Colin Barrett, Lisa McInerney, Rob Doyle, Claire-Louise Bennett, Louise O’Neill and Danielle McLaughlin are just some of the exciting names grabbing headlines who will be reading at events in Bantry Library and the Maritime Hotel.
The festival has a history of welcoming those who have made a difference in the world around them. This year, Guardian journalist Nick Davies talks to Alison O’Connor about his work as an investigative journalist and how he exposed the phone-hacking scandal in News International. Also focused on the world around them are Ruth Padel and Rob Cowen who will be discussing their work in a special event called The World We Live In. Rob is a nature and travel writer with The Independent and The Telegraph and offers an enthralling new way of writing about our experiences in nature. Ruth Padel is no stranger to Bantry audiences and has published nine volumes of poetry, as well as numerous works of prose.
Many will be disappointed to hear that An Evening with Graham Norton and the Literary Brunch with Dervla Murphy are sold out. However, there are still tickets left for the extensive programme of events running from 10am through to the main evening reading at 8.30pm. Go to www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie for more details and to book online. The Festival office can be contacted on 027 52788.
The West Cork Literary Festival is generously supported by the Arts Council, Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Service and Failte Ireland.