Eimear O’Herlihy is from Cork city and she is festival manager with West Cork Literary Festival, a week-long programme of readings, workshops and family events that will take place in Bantry, July 17 -23.

Best recent book: Two standouts are Max Porter’s debut novel Grief is the Thing With Feathers and Marion Coutts’s memoir The Iceberg. They are both so beautifully written and incredibly moving. I’m also a huge fan of every word Kevin Barry has ever written.

Best recent film: Room. The original novel by Emma Donoghue is one of my favourite books ever so I was both excited and apprehensive about the cinema adaptation. Emma and Lenny Abrahamson did such a magnificent job in translating this wonderful novel into an equally wonderful film.

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: I’ve really been enjoying the series of Rehearsed Readings in the Everyman by female playwrights from Cork. It’s a great response to the Waking the Feminists campaign.

What formats do you access music? Definitely iTunes. I primarily listen to music when I’m running as I need it to distract me from the fact that I am running and to keep me moving forward.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: This year it feels as if we’ve lost so many musical greats. When David Bowie and Prince died I started listening to them both again and was reminded of how much I love their music.

First ever piece of music or film that really moved you: The first film I ever saw was Star Wars. I was only three but my late father took my brother and me to the Capitol Cinema in Cork to see it. I was so terrified that I would only open my eyes when Princess Leia was on the screen.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen: I have enjoyed so many of Corcadorca’s productions over the past 25 years. Their production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in Fota was truly magical.

TV viewing: Recently I’ve really enjoyed The Night Manager and the latest series of Girls. I’m also a huge fan of the Graham Norton Show as it always looks as if his guests are having so much fun. It was really exciting having him as part of last year’s West Cork line-up.

Radio listening: A recent highlight was Gloria Steinem’s appearance on Desert Island Discs. It made me even more excited about her upcoming visit to West Cork.

Name three of your fave readings from previous Bantry festivals:

Mary Robinson; Simon Garfield speaking about fonts; and last year Kirsty Logan and Emma Hooper reading from their debut novels.

Your best encounter: Several years ago I got George Clooney’s autograph at Cannes Film Festival. He was right in front of me so I took a photo of him (this was in the pre-selfie era) but in my nervous state I ended up with a photo of his shoe. I’m sure George remembers the moment as fondly as I do.

Most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought: I walk absolutely everywhere so I’m always happy to invest in boots and shoes and have spent up to €250 on a pair of boots.

Tech habits: I have a Mac laptop and Samsung tablet and smartphone and it’s so handy being able to check emails wherever I am. I’m pretty addicted to WhatsApp and Viber but am pleased to admit that I’m one of the few people in the world who isn’t on Facebook or Twitter.

Unsung heroes: A friend of mine recently volunteered with Care4 Calais. They are doing incredible work to assist refugees and to bring dignity back into their lives. A friend of mine recently volunteered with Care4 Calais. They are doing incredible work to assist refugees and to bring dignity back into their lives.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree? Sunshine. And a day off for the entire country so that they can enjoy it. Sunshine. And a day off for the entire country so that they can enjoy it.


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