Pulitzer winner Proulx captivates West Cork literati

RECLUSIVE author Annie Proulx arrived in Ireland yesterday to open a literary festival and will spend the next few days in west Cork researching a new book.

The Pulitzer Prizewinning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, both of which were adapted as award-winning films, was the guest of honour at the West Cork Literary Festival’s opening.

The publicity-shy author, who lives most of the year in remote Wyoming and some months in a home perched above a small cove in northern Newfoundland, rarely agrees to attend such public events.

However, in a major coup for organisers of the festival in Bantry, Ms Proulx agreed to open the West Cork Literary Festival last night. It will be her only Irish appearance this year.

Ms Proulx read from her new collection, Fine Just The Way It Is, to a capacity audience of 350 people who packed into the Maritime Hotel for the ticket event.

“The tickets for the reading sold out in record time,” the festival’s artistic director Sinead Collins said.

Ms Proulx told friends she jumped at the chance to attend because she is working on a book with west Cork links.

Ms Proulx is just one of several high-profile guests at the week-long festival.

Martina Cole, whose gritty crime novel, The Take, was adapted for TV and screened on Sky in recent weeks, will be “in conversation” with RTÉ’s Aidan Stanley on Friday night.

Other highlights include a reading at 2.30pm today by Francesca Simon, whose Horrid Henry children’s books have sold over 12 million copies. Tickets, priced €5, with free entry for adults accompanied by a child, are still available.

Darren Shan, who numbers JK Rowling amongst his many admirers, is due to read on Thursday.

Roger McGough will read from his just published collection, That Awkward Age, and Jennifer Johnston will also read from her latest work later in the week.

Featured interviews will include Nell McCafferty in conversation with Aidan Stanley tomorrow night, and Ireland’s most celebrated children’s book illustrator, PJ Lynch, in conversation with Robert Dunbar.

Numerous workshops including Billy Roche on writing for the stage, John McKenna on food writing, Ferdia MacAnna on writing for the screen and John W Sexton on Writing for Children, will take place throughout the week.

Supported by lyric fm, the festival runs until July 11.

* www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie or tel: 027-55987.

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