We're pleased to announce our programme. Buy tickets here online, from the booking office on 089 436 9868, or from the The Book MARKet Café in Kells (tel 085 889 6352) or Antonia's Bookstore in Trim (tel 046 943 7532). You can view a copy of the printed programme here.
Some of Ireland’s leading writers of fiction will be taking part in this year’s festival. Colm Tóibín (Brooklyn, Nora Webster, House of Names), and Maggie O’Farrell (I Am, I Am, I Am, This Must Be the Place) will be making their first visits to Kells, as will Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Oh My God What a Complete Aisling). John Banville (The Sea, Mrs. Osmond), Liz Nugent (Unravelling Oliver, Skin Deep), Frank McGuinness (The Woodcutter and His Family), Lisa McInerney (The Glorious Heresies, The Blood Miracles) will be returning to our festival. Michael Harding (Staring at Lakes, Hanging with the Elephant) will host a workshop on the art of memoir, and John McKenna (Clare, A Haunted Heart) will host a fiction writing workshop.
Loughcrew-based / Gallery Press poet and publisher Peter Fallon will team up, once again, with sister and brother Saramai and Oisin Leech (The Lost Brothers) for an evening session of poetry, music and conversation. Award winning American playwright Matthew Spangler (The Kite Runner) will talk about his globe-trotting adaptation of the Khaled Hosseini novel and will later team up with Mary Manning to describe how he would go about adapting her memoir Striking Back.
In what we hope will be the first of many visits to Hinterland the Rick O’Shea Book Club will tackle Oh My God What a Complete Aisling written by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen.
Ashbourne resident Aidan Comerford discusses his heart-warming and hilarious memoir Corn Flakes for Dinner, the story of how his life happened when he was making other plans. Mullingar based author Patricia Gibney will talk about cracking the huge digital book market with her crime thriller series.
Maggie O’Farrell makes her first visit to Hinterland having just added a critically acclaimed memoir to her already impressive list of novels and literary awards. The author of seven novels, she won a Somerset Maugham Award in 2005 for The Distance Between Us. She followed that up five years later with the 2010 Costa Novel Award for The Hand That First Held Mine. The memoir that caused such a stir in late 2017 is I Am, I Am, I Am, a narrative of 17 near-death encounters that have punctuated her life. These include a mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. She talks to Sinead Gleeson.
Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, the creators of the much-loved Aisling character and the popular Facebook page ‘Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling’, bring Aisling to life in their novel about the quintessential country girl in the big smoke. Aisling is twenty-eight and she’s a complete…Aisling. She lives at home in Ballygobbard (or Ballygobackwards, as some gas tickets call it) with her parents and commutes to her good job at PensionsPlus in Dublin. Emer and Sarah claim to be at least 42% Aisling themselves. Nonetheless, their book has been at the top of the Irish bestseller lists for months now, so the 58% non-Aisling must have asserted itself at some point. They speak to Rick O’Shea.
RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea describes himself as a ‘book pusher and an event host’. And that’s what he’ll be doing at Hinterland. The Rick O’Shea Book Club boasts over 14,000 members. Rick and his panel of critics (Cara Gavigan, Ciara McGurl, Avril Murphy, Elva Leavy) will discuss Oh My God What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, which was published in 2017, topped the bestseller lists in Ireland, and is still selling well in 2018.
Since the death of fellow Donegal man Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness can legitimately lay claim to the title of Irish Drama Laureate (as the position does not exist we can make this assertion on his behalf – he would be too modest to do so himself). He is the author of one of the classics plays of the Irish canon, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, a work that had a social and political impact that went far beyond theatre. He began his writing career as a poet and it was in this capacity that he appeared at the Kells/Hay Festival in 2013. And although he is, arguably, Ireland’s premier dramatist, he will be returning to Kells to read and discuss his latest novel, The Woodcutter and his Family, which deals with the last days of James Joyce in Zurich.
Aidan Comerford was on top of the world. He stepped off stage having just been crowned the winner of So You Think You're Funny at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014, previous winners of which include Dylan Moran, Tommy Tiernan, David O'Doherty and Aisling Bea. This was it! His big break...He returned to Ireland elated, only to find out that while he was in Edinburgh his youngest daughter, who has autism, had gone missing near a lake. Aidan had to accept that personal dreams can never take precedence over a family struggling through tough challenges – redundancy, mortgage problems, a pyritic house, postnatal depression and autism. Corn Flakes for Dinner is an hilarious, poignant memoir about ordinary magic, a masterclass in navigating life’s toughest challenges and rediscovering the joy in the ‘everyday’.
Described by the Washington Post as ‘one of the most imaginative literary novelists writing in the English language today’, John Banville is probably Ireland’s most garlanded and celebrated writer. He has won numerous international awards, including the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea, and the 2011 Franz Kafka Prize. His most recent novel Mrs Osmond (2017) is a masterly ‘sequel’ to the canonical Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, in which Banville muses, in the style of the great American master, on the future of the free-spirited Isabel Archer. This will be his second appearance in Kells as that most eminent writer of literary fiction, John Banville. He has also appeared at our festival in his alternative guise, that of prolific crime novelist Benjamin Black. He talks to Myles Dungan.
Lisa, whose own website describes her as creator of ‘fitful short stories and…the occasional gourmet crisp sandwich’, is the author of Los Pecados Gloriosos, Weergaloze Dwalingen and Hérésies Glorieuses, which will give some indication of the outstanding success of her first novel The Glorious Heresies (it’s also been translated into German, Czech, Polish, Danish, Italian and American). Lisa is probably the most persuasive argument in favour of blogging, because that’s where she started. But with the publication of the award-winning The Glorious Heresies and her recent follow-up The Blood Miracles Lisa is channelling her creativity into the writing of some of the best fiction to come out of Ireland since the invention of…well, blogging. If we talk nicely to her she may also offer a workshop on making the perfect crisp butty.
With her debut novel Unravelling Oliver Liz Nugent made a spectacular entrance onto the Irish and international literary stage. Unravelling Oliver has been published in 14 languages, longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award (formerly the IMPAC) and selected as Best Crime Novel at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. Her second novel Lying in Wait was published in 2016, went straight to Number 1 and spent eight months in the top ten of the Irish bestseller lists. It also won Liz a second Irish Book Award. It was hailed by Sebastian Barry as ‘taut, crisp, clear – a storm-warning of a book’ and has also been longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award. Liz was named Irish Tatler Woman of the Year in Literature in 2017. Her third novel, Skin Deep, was published by Penguin Books in spring 2018. It has been described by Donal Ryan as ‘monumentally good’ and Marian Keyes said the story was ‘brilliantly done’. Liz talks to Sinead Gleeson.
Whether as a journalist, critic, essayist, academic or novelist, Colm Tóibín is non pareil. As editor of the groundbreaking Magill magazine for three years in the 1980s Tóibín established journalistic credentials that would, undoubtedly, have led to the very top of that profession. Instead he chose a different direction, with the publication in 1990 of The South, which he quickly followed up with The Heather Blazing (1992). His fifth novel The Master (2004), a fictional account of elements of the life of Henry James, gained a nomination for the Man Booker Prize and won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2009 he won the Costa Award for his novel Brooklyn, later turned into a successful film. His most recent work House of Names (2017) is a retelling of the Greek tragedy of the house of Atreus (Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes, Iphigenia and Electra). In his three decades as a novelist Tóibín has himself become The Master. There is, quite simply, no better writer in the English language. He talks to Myles Dungan.