We look forward to welcoming the following authors. Click on the images below for a short biography.
The Inheritance is Ally Bunbury’s debut novel. Set in ‘a world of opulence and privilege, where sex and money go to battle with tradition and romance’ The Inheritance tells the story of Anna Rose, who arrives in London to start a career in PR and falls in love with George Wyndham, one of the city’s most eligible bachelors, an art dealer and heir to a fortune (the inheritance of the title). The inevitable Cruella de Ville of the tale comes in the form of Sofia Tamper, a Hollywood actress, with a heart – if any – of pure ice.
Annmarie is an award-winning fashion writer, stylist and author of The Happy Closet – a self-help guide to balancing well-being and being well-dressed.
Her editorial and styling work has appeared in publications such as the Irish Examiner, Sunday Times Style magazine, The Irish Times, Irish Tatler, Image and The Gloss. She has also styled for London Fashion Week, The Voice of Ireland and clients like LVMH, Harvey Nichols, Brown Thomas and BT2. On air, she is a regular contributor to The Dave Fanning Show, The Ryan Tubridy Show; TV3′s Xposé and RTÉ’s Today show. She is editor of the Louis Vuitton City Guide to Dublin 2012.
She is a self-styled inexpert expert on the subject of mindfulness.
Best known as a cartoonist whose puckish work has graced publications like In Dublin, the Irish Times and Magill, the Finnish-born Arja Kajermo, who settled in Ireland in the 1970s, has now written her first novel. Arja’s debut, The Iron Age, began life as a short story which was shortlisted for the 2014 Davy Byrne’s Award. Out of that, after much encouragement from her publishers at Tramp Press (Sara Baume and Mike McCormick), has emerged a stunning short novel. Photo: Stefan Evans
Catriona bade farewell to the National Archives of Ireland after an illustrious career there which included the realisation of a dream, the digitising of the 1901 and 1911 census, which allowed anyone with a computer and an internet connection to become an amateur genealogist. Although best known as manager of the Irish Census Online project, Catriona is also a member of the editorial team of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and editor of Dublin 1911. She was recently the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Limerick.
Because of his sterling work in the campaign to free the Birmingham Six Chris Mullin was the Labour MP most familiar in Ireland at a time of Tory domination in Britain, although his work on their behalf was largely conducted as an investigative journalist working with the Granada TV series World in Action. He was elected to Parliament for Sunderland South in 1987 and remained in the House of Commons until 2010. During that period, he was proud to push Ken Livingstone off his pedestal as the Sun newspaper’s ‘Most Odious Man in Britain’. Chris, who will be talking about his autobiography Hinterland, is also the author of one of the best political novels of the last forty years, A Very British Coup, the TV version of which starred Ray McAnally as a left-wing Labour PM deposed by the Tory establishment. He will also take part in our Brexit debate. Although a supporter of Remain, his former constituency of Sunderland South was one of the first to declare for Brexit in June 2016.
The former Sinn Fein publicity guru and editor of Republican News, Danny Morrison is now better known as a novelist, short-story writer, memoirist and playwright. Since the publication of his debut novel, West Belfast, in 1989 his output has been prodigious. The novel was reworked for its twenty-fifty anniversary and reissued in 2015. He is the author of four novels, a play (The Wrong Man, 2005) and his short fiction has been broadcast on RTÉ and the BBC. He is currently working on a fifth novel, provisionally entitled Band on the Run, and a play, The Mental.
Photograph courtesy of Bobbie Hanvey
David Murphy is RTE Business Correspondent and played a major role in the station’s coverage of the Irish economic disasters of the 2008-2012 period. He is described by his partner, Martina Devlin as ‘RTE’s business guru’ and you cannot argue with that. Together they wrote one of the best exposés of the Irish financial meltdown, Banksters. David has already reported on and blogged about the consequences for this country of the UK withdrawal from the EU and is uniquely qualified to discuss the topic in our public forum on Brexit.
The acclaimed poet (Internal Exiles, which contains the long poem ‘The Lament for Arthur Cleary’), playwright (In High Germany) and novelist (The Woman’s Daughter) has long been a champion and admirer of the work of Francis Ledwidge. He is the editor of Francis Ledwidge: Selected Poems, for which he also wrote a lengthy personal afterword describing the influence of Ledwidge on his own life and work. He is also the author of the play Walking the Road, a reimagining of Ledwidge’s life. Dermot will be talking about the short life and the poetry of the Meath-born Great War casualty a few weeks before the centenary of his death.
Occupant of the prestigious post of Professor of Modern Irish History at University College, Dublin, Diarmaid Ferriter is also a prolific author and ‘go-to’ historian for many radio and TV programmes. His first significant success was The Transformation of Ireland 1900–2000, and his biographical study of Eamon de Valera, Judging Dev, quickly followed. His most recent work, which deals with the revolutionary generation, is A Nation and not a Rabble: The Irish Revolution 1913–1923. In the Speaking Ill of the Dead strand of Hinterland this year Diarmaid will be damning Archbishop John Charles McQuaid with very faint praise indeed.
Donncha Ó Dùlaing
The broadcasting legend will discuss his life and career, which spanned 50 years and during which he has conducted memorable interviews with state leaders and international celebrities such as Gene Kelly, Mick Jagger, John Steinbeck, Maureen O’Hara and Pope John Paul II. His fame as a broadcaster is equalled by his fame as a walker for charity over thousands of kilometres in many countries. As a walker, Donncha has led thousands of people throughout the 32 counties of Ireland and across London, Paris, Jerusalem, Argentina and the USA and in the process has raised millions for various charities.
Eamon Darcy (Speaking Ill of the Dead)
Tackling James Fitzthomas Butler, the 1st Duke of Ormonde was something that proved beyond seventeenth century Irish rebels. Even Oliver Cromwell himself only managed to remove Butler temporarily from Ireland. But Maynooth University Scholar does not fear tread upon the Duke’s reputation. He may well be able to account for the rogue ‘e’ that found its way into the family title between the time Butler passed as 12th Earl of Ormond and 1st Duke of Ormonde.
Teethmarks on my Tongue is Eileen Battersby’s first novel, a coming-of-age novel with impressive characterization, humour and a vivid sense of place which takes a clever, if barely street-wise and increasingly obsessive, teenaged narrator on a physical as well as psychological journey towards an astute, hard fought, and deserved, maturity.
“The fact is, Battersby — a literary critic for The Irish Times with several awards under her belt — has brought us a thoroughly original narrator: a pedant and self-proclaimed prig who sweeps the reader along by sheer force of her quirky insights, deadpan humor, and disarming honesty.” – Los Angeles Review of Books
Georgina Godwin is an independent broadcast journalist. A regular chair of literary events worldwide, she’s the voice of the Arts Podcast for The British Council. She is also Books Editor for Monocle 24 and presenter of the in-depth author interview show “Meet the Writers”. She is a frequent host of the award winning current affairs programme “The Globalist” and a commentator on Southern African politics. She was a founder member of SWRadio Africa, Zimbabwe’s first independent radio station (for which she was deemed “an enemy of the state” and banned from the country of her birth), and of the Harare International Festival of the Arts. She serves on the board of the charity, Developing Artists and is a fellow of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation. She tweets at @georginagodwin
Making a welcome return journey to Kells, Glen Gendzel is an historian based at San Jose State University who specialises in American history and the history of the State of California. His contribution to our Speaking Ill of the Dead strand will be a report card (F or NG) on former US President Ronald Reagan, a hero among both neo-liberals and neo-cons, who cut his teeth on the State of California, where they are still trying to get rid of the teethmarks.
Senior Guardian investigative journalist Ian Cobain (winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize and the Paul Foot Award for investigative journalism) has reported on six wars, from the 1991 Gulf War to Iraq and Afghanistan, but has also devoted much of his career to examining the relationship between the British government and torture. The results of this work were collated in his 2012 book Cruel Brittania: A Secret History of Torture. His most recent book, which he will be discussing at Hinterland, is The History Thieves, an examination of the culture of secrecy and the destruction of official documents during the British colonial era.
UCD based historian Jennifer Wellington, a native of Australia, lectures in modern global history, with a particular emphasis on the cultural history of warfare in the first half of the twentieth century. Her book Exhibiting War: The Great War, museums and memory in Britain, Canada and Australia is due for publication this year. Her target in the Speaking Ill of the Dead strand is the late French President, General Charles de Gaulle.
He has been the voice and face of Irish political journalism on RTÉ for four decades but John Bowman is also one of the country’s most accomplished historians. His first publication Eamon de Valera and the Ulster Question (1983), derived from his PhD research, has not been surpassed in terms of academic scholarship, while his Window and Mirror: RTÉ Television 1961–2011 was described by Professor Diarmaid Ferriter in the Irish Times as ‘a wonderful monument to public service broadcasters’. In his latest work Ireland: The Autobiography he has gathered together a collection of compelling, often amusing, and telling eyewitness accounts of Irish life since 1916.
Judi, a previous visitor to Kells for the festival, is the hugely popular creator of the ‘Alice and Megan’ series (Alice Next Door, Bonjour Alice, Alice and Megan Forever). More recently she has begun work on an entirely new set of novels, the ‘Eva’ series (Eva’s Holiday, Only Eva). She will be reading from her work and talking to her young fans about her writing.
Former Government Minister Mary O’Rourke was at the cutting edge of Irish politics for decades and managed to thrive politically while maintaining both her popularity and her sense of humour and perspective. No mean achievement. She will be talking about her autobiography Just Mary: My Memoir and accounting for the extraordinary impact of three generations of the Lenihan dynasty (so far) on Irish politics. She may also address her role in the RTÉ reality TV series Celebrity Bainisteoir if pressurised to do so.
Matt Dickinson, who has successfully climbed Mount Everest, filming as he went, and lived to tell the tale of the catastrophic climbing season of 1996, is the author of the new teenage/young adult series The Everest Files, a thrilling journey to the dark side of Everest. His other teen/YA series include Mortal Chaos. This fast-moving series of thrillers is inspired by the science of Chaos Theory, otherwise known as the Butterfly Effect. According to Chaos Theory even the biggest and most disastrous events (a plane crash, a tornado, an avalanche) can be caused by tiny and sometimes barely noticeable changes that happen in the natural world.
Matthew is returning to Kells after his adaptation of the best-selling novel The Kite Runner has had a successful London West End run, which is due to continue with a summer season at the Playhouse Theatre from June to August. Matthew, who teaches drama at San Jose State University in California, also had New York and Texas openings for his adaptation of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In addition to talking about his success with The Kite Runner he will be leading a workshop which will approach the adaptation of Sinead Crowley’s Are You Watching Me? for the stage.
Myles Dungan is an historian and broadcaster. He presents the RTE History Show, is the author of a number of works on Irish and American history, including Irish Voices from the Great War and How the Irish Won the West. He holds a PhD from Trinity College, Dublin and is a Fulbright scholar (2007, 2011). A Kells native he is also Programme Director of the Hinterland Festival.
Natasha Mac a’Bháird
Natasha Mac a’Bháird is a freelance writer and editor. Hannah in the Spotlight and Starring Meg are part of her Star Club series. Her first two children’s books, Missing Ellen and Olanna’s Big Day, were both chosen for the White Ravens Collection. She has also written the My Ireland Activity Book series – Dublin, The Wild Atlantic Way and Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.
Nerys Williams is an Associate Professor in American Literature at UCD and Fulbright alumnus. Her first volume of poetry, Sound Archive (Seren, 2011) won the Irish ‘Strong’ prize in 2012 and her second Cabaret (New Dublin Press) is published this summer. She has written extensively on modern and contemporary poetry.
Nicola Pierce was born in Tallaght and now lives in Drogheda. In 2011, she published her ﬁrst book for children, Spirit of the Titanic, to rave reviews and ﬁve printings within its ﬁrst twelve months. City of Fate, her second book for children, transported the reader deep into the Russian city of Stalingrad during World War II. The novel was shortlisted for the Warwickshire School Library Service Award, 2014. Behind the Walls, a rich emotional novel set in the besieged city of Derry in 1689, followed in 2015 and Kings of the Boyne in 2016.
Oisin is an Irish writer and illustrator. He writes in a number of different genres for younger children and for teenagers, mainly in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. He has illustrated many of his own short story books for younger readers. His enormously popular Mad Grandad series first appeared in 2003, with Mad Grandad’s Flying Saucer. In 2014 he received the European Science Fiction Society Award for Best Creator of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. He is also the creator of the Wildenstern Saga series.
Author of more than twenty novels, short story collections and novellas, Patricia Scanlan knows more about books than most. Before becoming a novelist she spent seventeen years working as a librarian in the Dublin City library system. The publication of City Girl in 1990 changed her life. Since then she has produced a string of successful books, including her most recent, Orange Blossom Days, published in March. Patricia is committed to the cause of adult literacy as the the creator of the Open Door Series.
Photo: Anthony Woods
On Ross O’Carroll Kelly and his times
One of the great ‘what ifs’ of Irish sport will undoubtedly be aired when Paul Howard will be forced to answer the question, ‘what if Ross O’Carroll Kelly had not been such a total, like, plonker? Would the consensus still be that BOD was the, like, greatest ever Irish rugby player…like?’ Or maybe not. Either way Paul will be reading from the intimate diaries and memoirs of one of the greatest goys ever to don the Castlerock College jersey.
On I Read the News Today, Oh Boy
Heir to the Guinness fortune and London socialite Tara Browne, older brother of Garech Browne, in the words of John Lennon, ‘blew his mind out in a car/he never noticed that the lights had changed’. One of the stalwarts of 1960s London counterculture, he crashed his car at high speed in 1966 and died. He was immortalised in the Beatles’ song ‘A Day in the Life’ and his short and eventful life has now been captured by Paul Howard in the biography I Read the News Today, Oh Boy. Paul will be talking with radio presenter and bona fide rock star Tom Dunne (Something Happens).
UCD historian Paul Rouse has made a particular study of the political and social impact of sport on Irish history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is also a director of the Century Ireland project and editor of www.historyhub.ie. Before he became an academic historian, Paul worked as a researcher on the RTÉ Prime Time Investigates series. He is co-author with Mike Cronin and Mark Duncan of The GAA: A People’s History. As his contribution to the Speaking Ill of the Dead strand Paul will be examining the life of one of the GAA’s Founding Fathers, Michael Cusack.
Peter Fallon / Oisin Leech / Saramai Leech
After the success of last year’s event, another intimate interlude of songs, readings and talk with three acclaimed artists from County Meath. As one of The Lost Brothers, Oisin Leech, from Navan, has played Glastonbury, the Electric Picnic and SXSW. At Hinterland he'll sing solo and with his sister, Saramai, another exceptional singer/songwriter who, thanks to a recent EP and appearances at Other Voices and other venues, is a growing force. Joining Oisin and Saramai to read his poetry and stimulate a conversation is award-winning poet and publisher Peter Fallon, the success of whose work has brought him around the world and who, in the words of the Sunday Times, is 'one of Ireland's greatest literary talents'.
Author of one of the best-selling historical works of recent years, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, and described by The New Statesman as ‘the history rock star du jour’, Peter Frankopan is an historian at Oxford University where he holds the position of Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, and is Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. The Silk Roads topped the Sunday Times non-fiction best-seller list in 2015 and spent nine months in the Top 10, as well as being the Daily Telegraph History Book of the year in 2015. Peter will be talking about the region he calls ‘the world’s central nervous system’, that part of the world ‘where civilisation itself began, where the world’s great religions were born and took root.’ He will also add to the general contumely of Hinterland #1 with a demolition job as part of the Speaking Ill of the Dead strand.
Philip Boucher Hayes
RTÉ journalist Philip Boucher Hayes (What are You Eating?) and food writer Suzanne Campbell (Basketcase: What’s Happening to Irish Food?), in addition to their ‘day jobs’ (radio current affairs reporter and agricultural journalist) have a pedigree in challenging some of our most revered, and discredited, food traditions. They will examine what we eat, how much we eat, how we cook it, and how we consume it and will suggest that we might start to think about changing the landscape of the dinner table.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born one hundred years ago this May. When he visited Ireland in 1963, he described it as the best four days of his life. Patrick and the President, written by RTÉ broadcaster Ryan Tubridy (JFK in Ireland, The Irish Are Coming) and illustrated by Laureate na nÓg, PJ Lynch (The Boy Who Fell off the Mayflower), tells the story of that visit from the perspective of a young boy named Patrick who wants to know more than anything what it would feel like to shake the president’s hand.
Photo: Steve Langan
2017 has already been an excellent year for one of Ireland’s most distinguished novelists and playwrights. His depiction of a gay relationship set against the wild and violent backdrop of the American West, Days Without End, earned Sebastian Barry his second Costa Book of the Year prize. His first came in 2008 for Secret Scripture, the screen adaptation of which – directed by Jim Sheridan – also made its appearance this year. Days Without End was described by the Guardian as: ‘a work of staggering openness…its narrative so propulsive that you must move on’. The Costa Prize judges observed of the book that: ‘It is brutal, it is terrifying, it moves you to tears, it horrifies – and at the same time, it has these fantastic moments of light and beauty, and of friendship.’
Shane comes to Kells on a high, as the first film adaptation of his Darkmouth series goes into production, and as the fourth book in the sequence, Hero Rising, goes on the shelves. The first three Darkmouth books were published over a period of only fourteen months. Darkmouth – which started with an idea Shane had on a train – follows the adventures of a young Irish boy, Finn, a very modern hero who doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. Shane worked for twelve years with the Irish Times before creating the series, which Eoin Colfer has described as ‘the next big thing’, and he should know. Thus far his books have been translated into sixteen languages. Bear in mind that the first book, Darkmouth: It’s About to get Legendary, was published in 2015!
As well as being RTÉ Arts and Media Correspondent since 2006, Sinead Crowley is an accomplished crime novelist. Her first DS Claire Boyle novel, Can Anybody Help Me? was published in 2014. Described as ‘family noir’ it was four years in the writing. The follow-up, Are You Watching Me? will be out in time for Hinterland and, as well as reading from both books, Sinead, in a separate event, will keep a watching brief as playwright Matthew Spangler attempts to suggest how Are You Watching Me? might be adapted for stage.
Tom Dunne has been front man with the Irish rock band, Something Happens, for (ahem!) almost thirty years now. He likes to refer to them as ‘the band that forgot to break up’. He has also been a radio presenter for the better part of two decades, probably still best known for his seminal ‘Pet Sounds’ programme on Today FM. He will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the recording of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a presentation which may, or may not, get around to comparing it with the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and interviewing Paul Howard about his Tara Browne biography I Read the News Today, Oh Boy.
Powerful and largely unflattering images of a reactionary Irish American community were fixed in the news and popular culture during the turbulent passage from the late 1960s through to the late 1970s. Those images, of right-wing pundits and reactionary mayors, carry through to the present day. In fact, Irish Americans were very well-represented on both the liberal and the reactionary side of politics and culture. Berkeley-based historian Tony Bucher will try to make sense of both sides of the political and cultural drama of this age, and the unique role of Irish Americans, of both reactionary and progressive bent, in an era of profound change.
Turtle Bunbury, author of The Glorious Madness: Tales of the Irish and the Great War, and Easter Dawn: The 1916 Rising, has scored again with his latest book 1847: A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity and Savagery in which he focuses on the historical events of a single year, 1847, a revolutionary year that, in Turtle’s own words, ‘turned the world upside down’. In this globetrotting history he addresses everything from the trauma and horror of the Great Famine, to the showmanship of Lola Montez and Tom Thumb.