Top writers signed for literary festival

Home-grown Irish talent will take centre stage at this year’s annual Dublin Writers Festival, it emerged tonight.

Home-grown Irish talent will take centre stage at this year’s annual Dublin Writers Festival, it emerged tonight.

Organisers have lined up Dermot Bolger, Sebastian Barry and Nick Laird among others to give readings, talks and discussion on contemporary literature.

Pat Boran, programme director, said this year would see the strongest panel of Irish writers in the seven year history of the festival.

“We want to be able to strike a balance between the visitors and writers and we want interaction,” he said.

“We want to get away from that idea of a conference of writers that sit down and have a discussion, we are trying to find ways of bringing writers to the audience. It’s a personal thing in that respect.”

Poets, writers, biographers and novelists will come face-to-face with fans and critics in a contrast to the private life of writing at the the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar.

The programme of events was launched tonight with news the festival will see several writers who have penned some of the most highly acclaimed works of last year and this year.

Ronan Bennett and Rachel Seiffert will be two of the highlights of the programme. Booker shortlisted Seiffert won many accolades for her debut novel The Dark Room and has recently published her collection of short stories Field Study.

Bennett’s novel Havoc, in its Third Year was longlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2004 and was named Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year.

Lord Mayor Michael Conaghan said the increasing success of the festival reflected well on Dublin’s reputation as a melting pot for literary minds.

“It’s very important for the city. We have a very good past in literary terms but we are all responsible for trying to cultivate that and make sure it continues,” Mr Conaghan said.

“The way writing is celebrated in the city and seen to be at the forefront of attracting visitors is important and the festival sends out the right signals that the city is alive and vibrant.”

The 2005 Dublin Writers Festival will run from Thursday June 16 to Sunday June 19, 2005, featuring 40 Irish and international poets and writers in four days of readings, talks and panel discussions.

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