The Forge at Gort Literary Festival

Yuki Nishioka.

Yuki Nishioka.

THE FORGE at Gort Literary Festival, a celebration of Irish writing, poetry, and music, in a town with deep and direct links to WB Yeats and Lady Gregory, returns on Friday March 26 and Saturday 27.

The festival, organised by Fred Johnston, manager of The Western Writers’ Centre, is now in its third year and will feature readings from John Arden, Rab Fulton, and music with violinist Yuki Nishioka.

The festival opens with a reading by the Galway based English novelist and playwright John Arden on Friday 26 at 8pm in the Gort Library.

Arden is a member of the Royal Society of Literature and he first gained critical attention for the radio play, The Life Of Man in 1956. His 1959 play, Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance, which deals with issues of war, pacifism, and retaliation is considered his finest work.

He has also written a number of novels, including Silence Among The Weapons, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and his most recent book, Gallows and Other Tales of Suspicion and Obsession, which was published in 2009.

Also reading on the night will be the poet Patrick Early. Meanwhile fans of Slam and spoken word artists will be keen to see Marty Mulligan in the Gallery Café at 10.30pm.

On Saturday at 11am in Sullivan’s Hotel poet, actor, and songwriter Pete Mullineaux will host a poetry workshop.

In the late 1970s Pete played in a punk rock band The Resisters - recording an album in 1979 on Munich’s Trikont records. When the band split he went solo as singer-songwriter Pete Zero and enjoyed gigs at two Glastonbury festivals and CND protests at Greenham Common.

Since then Pete’s poetry has been widely published while his one man show The Performer’s Fear Of The Gong, received a thumbs up from the critics. He also wrote for the Paul Merton fronted Comedy Wavelength (Channel 4 ) and his poetry collection A Father’s Day was published by Salmon Poetry.

At 12 noon the Scottish born, Galway based, writer Rab Fulton will hold a storytelling event for “older children and adults”

Rab specialises in folktales, myths, and urban legends from Ireland and Scotland, including tales handed down through his family. He is a member of Poetry Ireland’s ‘Writers In Schools Scheme’ and the UK National Literary Trust’s ‘Reading Is Fundamental’. For the past three years he has run a storytelling teaching programme for marginalised children in Galway city.

The poet Rosemarie Rowley will be reading in O’Grady’s Restaurant at 1pm. She has been publishing poems since the 1960s. She has worked in the Agricultural Institute, in the film industry, and more recently as a volunteer co-ordinator in the Green Alliance. She has published five books of poetry and has won the Epic award in the Scottish International Poetry Competition.

Children can look forward to a reading by Kate Thompson in the Gort Library at 3pm. She is a several-times winner of the Bisto Awards.

O’Grady’s Restaurant will host an event which will see words and music come together at 4.30pm when The Clare Three-Legged Stool Writers’ Group and Japanese violinist Yuki Nishioka join forces.

The Clare Three-Legged Stool Writers’ Group celebrate the poetic work of men and women from north, south, and east - the three ‘halves’ of Clare. There are 16 members in the group which, to date, has produced two anthologies, a broadsheet, and a photographic essay Hidden Burren.

Yuki Nishioka has been playing classical violin since she was three and has competed at a national level in Japan; she was jointly awarded the Haydn prize for ensemble work with the Mùm String Quartet.

After graduating from Aichi Provincial University of Fine Arts and Music she became a member of Aichi Chamber Orchestra and played for a number of years as their lead violinist; she has also worked as an extra for a wide variety of musical groups and orchestras, from classical and opera to ballet and musical. She now lives in Ennis and teaches music at Coole Music in Gort.

Words and music will meet again when the poet and journalist Pádraig Ó Moráin and harpist Paul Dooley join forces for an event in the Gort Library at 7pm.

Pádraig writes for The Evening Herald and The Irish Times and won the Poetry Business Award for his first collection of poems in 2007. Paul Dooley studied the construction of medieval Irish harps in the 1980s, has built several harps, and has appeared on numerous CD recordings and television soundtracks.

The closing event of the festival will be a reading by Stephanie Allen-Early in the Lady Gregory Hotel at 8.30pm where she will be reading from Entangled in Yugoslavia – An Outsider’s Memoir.

Stephanie Allen-Early is an international aid worker who has written extensively about her experiences in Brazil, and the Sudan. She has designed and assessed projects in Egypt, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Brazil and Romania, as well as working at the grass-roots level for delivery of nutrition and health care.

Entangled in Yugoslavia – An Outsider’s Memoir is her first book and was published in Belgrade at the behest of friends from the former Yugoslavia who consider the book to be a valid expression of the events which took place in the early 1990s. She is at present writing a second memoir, documenting her time in Spain.

All events are free. For more information contact The Western Writers’ Centre, Caravan House, Nuns Island, on 087 - 2178138,, or email [email protected]


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