THE CORONAVIRUS has curtailed Cúirt, but it could not stop it. The city's international festival of literature has moved online and over the next few days, Galway can enjoy a feast of author interviews, readings, and interaction.
Cúirt begins today, and will continue throughout tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday on the festival's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0nl1kynt5_HJWoRNn3lEKg.
Tickets are free and can be booked via Cuirt.ie All ticket holders will get a reminder email on the day. There is an optional donation button and all proceeds go to Cúirt 2020 authors.
Today's events - Thusday April 23
Cúirt 2020 begins in multilingual fashion with Mothertongues at 1pm, where the National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn, Ciara Ní É, and Pàdraig MacAoidh, present new poems delving into the idea of language, from a Welsh, Scots-Gaelic, and Irish perspective, as well as exploring the links and the differences between them.
At 5.30pm, two Galway writers will be in the spotlight - Mary Costello and Alan McMonagle. Mary Costello's latest novel, The River Capture, came out late last year, deals with a Joyce obsessive whose life has stalled. "Joyce devotees will discover much to enjoy in this clever homage," said The Guardian, "while fans of contemporary Irish literature will find a subtle, slightly melancholy, engrossing read."
Alan McMonagle's new book, Laura Cassidy's Walk Of Fame, charts the struggles of an aspiring actress who always goes one step too far, sabotaging the few acting opportunities she gets. Often funny, it is nonetheless a poignant look at unresolved grief and its impact on mental health.
The concluding event at 7.30pm will see Eimear McBride, one of Ireland’s most exciting contemporary novelists, in conversation with arts journalist and book critic, Edel Coffey. McBride's latest novel, Strange Hotel, which follows a nameless woman from hotel to hotel as she endures the five stages of grief, was described by the Financial Times as "a powerful demonstration of [McBride's] ability to marshal words to peerless effect".
Cúirt events begin at 11am with a poetry podcast from Roisín Kelly and Michael Gorman; followed at 1pm with novelist Sara Baume in conversation with Sinead Gleeson. Sara's new book, handiwork (Tramp Press ), mixes memoir with reflections on the practice and idea of craftwork, and fascinating discussions on ornithology, delivered through short paragraphs, which are nonetheless rich in detail and infused with a sense of the poetic.
At 5.30pm County Galway writer Elaine Feeney will be in conversation with novelist Lisa McInerney. Her debut novel, As You Were, will be published by Harvill Secker later this year. It follows Sinead Hynes, a young property developer and mother, who is in hospital, nursing a dark secret, and relying on the kindness of strangers. Des Kenny, in a review for the Galway Advertiser, called it "an intriguing...extremely important book".
At 7.30pm, the acclaimed novelist Anne Enright will be in conversation with Rick O’Shea. “It’s brilliant we get to have a festival with Anne Enright in it," says Sasha. "Her new novel, Actress, is amazing and has a lot of questions about gender and sexual power, specifically in the past as it is a historical novel."
A Jamaican writer for Saturday
The final day of events begins at 11am with Ireland of the Welcomes: New Communities Writing Home Podcast, followed at 1pm: Rob Doyle reading from his book Threshold.
The Jamaican poet Kai Miller will be speaking with Carolyn Forché at 5.30pm and reading from his work. "He has an incredible speaking voice – you could listen to him read the phone book," says Sasha. "His work is not just lyrical and beautiful. It engages with what contemporary Jamaica looks like now, how de-colonisation has affected the nation, in terms of the people, the landscape, the ecology. He doesn’t pull any punches either. It’s a very strong critique of colonisation.”
Cúirt concludes at 7.30pm with Irish writers Jan Carson and Kevin Barry in conversation with Peggy Hughes. Carson's The Fire Starters won the EU Prize for Literature for Ireland in 2019, while Barry's City of Bohane was awarded the International Dublin Literary Award in 2013.
The full schedule of Cúirt events is at https://www.cuirt.ie/whats-on. #Cuirt2020