Cúirt to celebrate its jubilee year in April

Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

IAN RANKIN, JOYCE Carol Oates, Colum McCarthy, and The New Yorker’s Deborah Treisman, will take part in this year’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature, which returns from Tuesday April 20 to Sunday 25.

This year is a big one for the festival as Cúirt celebrates its 25th birthday - or jubilee year - and it is marking it in style, not only by having such leading writers as Rankin, Oates, etc, attend, but also by expanding the festival repertoire to include concerts by Josh Ritter and Richard Hawley; a showcase of Canadian writers; a new association with The New Yorker; and interactive events such as an on-line discussion with Colm Tóbin.

The main readings

Scotland’s Ian Rankin is Britain’s best selling crime novelist and the creator of the much loved Inspector John Rebus. However in his most recent novel The Complaints he introduced us to Malcolm Fox, a very different type of man from Rebus.

Rankin is also passionate about music, his novels Let It Bleed, Black & Blue, and Beggars Banquet are all named after Rolling Stones albums, and he will be combining his love of writing and songs when he comes to Cúirt.

Ian Rankin will read at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday April 22 at 8.30pm, which includes a public interview with Philip King, and Ian playing some of his favourite rock songs.

Joyce Carol Oates is one of America’s most respected and important novelists, and recipient of numerous awards for her writing such as the O Henry Award, the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award. Among her books are Them, We Were The Mulvaneys, The Falls, and The Gravedigger’s Daughter.

Joyce Carol Oates will read in the Town Hall on Saturday April 24 at 1pm. Also reading will be James Lasdun.

Irish poet and broadcaster Pat Boran recently published his memoirs, The Invisible Prison: Scenes From An Irish Childhood as did the English novelist Rupert Thomson in This Party’s Got To Stop. Hear both men read in the Town Hall on Friday 23 at 1pm.

The celebrated Irish novelist Colum McCann, will read in the Town Hall on Friday 23 at 9pm. He is the author of five novels and two collections of stories. Zoli, Dancer, and This Side of Brightness while Let The Great World Spin won the 2009 National Book Award for fiction. Also reading will be American short story writer Amy Bloom.

The writer AL Kennedy will be looking at how we use words, are abused by words, and the absurdities of the writer’s life in the Nuns Island Theatre on Thursday 22 at 6pm. AL Kennedy will also interview the short story writer and novelist Richard Bausch in the Druid Lane Theatre on Sunday 25 at 1.30pm.

Cúirt will also present a showcase of the Canadian writers - Donnie Brand, Lawrence Hill, Helen Humphreys, and Kate Pullinger - in the Town Hall on Saturday 24 at 6.30pm.

Cúirt and The New Yorker

Cúirt and The New Yorker, a magazine celebrated for its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews, have joined forces to present three readings at this year’s festival.

The magazine’s fiction editor Deborah Treisman will introduce three short story readings at the Town Hall and chair the question and answer session with the audience afterwards.

The readings feature Roddy Doyle and Mary Gaitskill (whose story Secretary was the basis of the film starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader ) on Tuesday April 20 at 8.30pm; Kevin Barry (whose collection There Are Little Kingdoms won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature ) and Tessa Hadley, whose stories appear regularly in The New Yorker, on Wednesday 21 at 1pm; and Claire Keegan (who also won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature ) and the farmer and writer Daniyal Mueenuddin on Wednesday 21 at 8.30pm.


Poetry is a major part of this year’s Cúirt and the main reader will be Charles Simic, the 50th Poet Laureate of the United States. A poet, essayist and translator, he has been honoured with the Wallace Stevens Award, a Pulitzer Prize, two PEN Awards for his work as a translator, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Since 1967 Simic has published numerous collections of poems, among them Selected Poems: 1963-2003 (2004 ), for which he received the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize and The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990 ), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize.

Charles Simic will read in the Town Hall on Saturday 24 at 8.30pm. Also reading will be Scottish poet Peter Robertson.

Cúirt began life in 1986 as a poetry festival, so it’s appropriate that the festival founder Fred Johnston be among those who will read at the 25 Poems For 25 Years - Galway Celebrates Cúirt event in the Town Hall on Sunday 25 at 5pm. Other readers at the event include Eva Bourke, Moya Cannon, Rita Ann Higgins, and Mary O’Malley.

Other readings are by Richard Tillinghast, Fred D’Aguiar, and Naomi Shihab Nye in the Town Hall on Wednesday 21 at 6.30pm; Gerard Smyth and John Burnside in the Town Hall on Friday 23 at 6pm; and Paula Meehan, Ciaran Carson, and Deirdre Shannon in the Town Hall on Sunday 25 at 7.30pm.

Galway’s Julian Gough will launch his new book Free Sex Chocolate, a collection of his poems and Toasted Heretic lyrics in the Galway Arts Centre on Tuesday 20 at 3pm. Gerard Smyth’s new collection of poems The Fullness Of Time will be launched in the Meyrick Hotel on Thursday 22 at 5pm.

Gallery Press publishers is celebrating 40 years in business this year and will mark the occasion at Cúirt with a reading by poets Núala Ní Domhnaill, Thomas Kilroy, Marina Carr, Peter Sirr, Peter Fallon, and Tom French in the Town Hall on Saturday 24 at 2.30pm.

Cava Restaurant, Dominick Street, will host two poetry readings in Cúirt including the emerging Irish language poets Scott De Buitléir and Caitríona Ní Chléirchín who will read on Wednesday 21 at 3pm and the ‘Wine and Words’ event with Enrique Juncosa and Enda Wyley on Thursday 22 at 6.15pm.

The Cúirt Grand Slam, with MC Pete Mullineaux and cartoonist Tom Matthews takes place in the Róisín Dubh on Saturday 24 at 4pm. The Over The Edge showcase takes place in the Town Hall on Thursday 22 at 3pm.


American roots/folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Ritter will play a ‘Róisín Dubh presents...’ show in the Black Box Theatre on Saturday 24 at 8pm. Earlier that day in the Druid Lane Theatre he will take part in a public interview with Philip King.

The British songwriter Richard Hawley plays the Róisín on Sunday 25. At 3pm he will be in conversation with Philip King and at 9pm will play a gig.

The brilliant Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, who are “at the forefront of a new, urgent, hip-hop,” according to The Independent, play Strange Brew at the Róisín Dubh on Thursday April 22 at 9pm as part of Cúirt.


Galway Youth Theatre will present Yellow Moon by David Greig in the Nuns Island Theatre from Monday April 19 to Sunday 25 at 8pm. Rod Goodal will stage Burn The Bad Lamp in the Town Hall Studio during Cúirt. Music, theatre, and Irish folklore will come together in Stories, Legends, and Poetry inspired by the Cailleach in the Nuns Island Theatre on Sunday April 25 at 12 noon.

Young people’s events

Readings for young people at Cúirt will see Roddy Doyle in the Town Hall on Wednesday 21 at 11am; Cathy Cassidy in the Town Hall on Thursday 22 at 11am; Celine Kiernan in the Nuns Island Theatre on Friday 23 at 11am; and the All Ireland School Slam in the Town Hall on Friday 23 at 11am.

Other events

Cúirt will hold two debates this year. Mary Gaitskil, Rupert Thomson, John Burnside, and Pat Boran will discuss The Rise Of The Memoir in the Town Hall on Thursday 22 at 1pm. Publishing In Canada - What can we learn? will see Sarah Bannan, Alan Hayes, and Kim McArthur discuss publishing in Ireland and Canada in the Meyrick Hotel on Thursday 22 at 3pm.

The journalist and former editor of The Independent On Sunday Ian Jack will be in conversation with The Irish Times’ Fintan O’Toole in the Town Hall on Saturday 24 at 4.30pm.

Co Galway’s Nuala Ní Chonchúir will launch her new book You in The Dáil Bar on Saturday 24 at 5pm.

Broadcaster Máirtín Tom Sheáinín will host an evening of Irish trad music, song, poetry, sean nós dancing, and writing in Siamsa na Cúirte ag ceiliúradh Cló Iar-Chonncahta in the Róisín Dubh on Friday 23 at 8pm.

Sunday Miscellany will be recorded at the Town Hall on Friday 23 at 3pm (admission is free ) while RTÉ Drivetime’s columnists, Fergus Finlay, Joe O’Connor, and Olivia O’Leary, along with host Mary Wilson, will be in the Druid Lane Theatre on Friday 23 at 7.30pm.

The exhibitions this year will be from the Lifelines collections of books in the Galway City Museum and paintings by Barrie Cooke in the Norman Villa Gallery.

Tickets for all events are available through the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie Róisín Dubh events are through the Róisín, Zhivago, and www.roiosindubh.net

Ireland Town Hall Person Communication and Meetings author United Kingdom United States Galway Connacht Town Hall Theatre Roddy Doyle songwriter Galway Arts Centre Galway Arts Centre Poet writer Scotland Inspector RT The Irish Times Town Hall studio Galway City Museum Rita Ann Higgins Eva Bourke America novelist the New Yorker journalist dancer Julian Gough Meyrick Hotel Canada Editor Claire Keegan Cava restaurant Kevin Barry Norman Villa Gallery translator Ian Rankin Josh Ritter Marina Carr Alan Hayes short story writer Peter Fallon Thomas Kilroy Richard Hawley The Invisible Prison Pat Boran Tom French Fred Johnston Fergus Finlay Pete Mullineaux cartoonist Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip Tom She Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Philip King Deborah Treisman Ciaran Carson The Dáil Bar Domhnaill Paula Meehan Charles Simic Chicago Tribune David Greig Maggie Gyllenhaal Tom Matthews Amy Bloom Gerard Smyth Joyce Carol Oates Enrique Juncosa Enda Wyley Scott de Buitl Distinguished Service Peter Sirr John Rebus Malcolm Fox The Independent The New Yorker PEN the O Henry Award the PEN/Malamud Award the 2009 National Book Award the National Book Award the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award on-line discussion The Falls We Were The Mulvaneys Mary Gaitskill Ian Jack Deirdre Shannon Zoli Cathy Cassidy Mary Wilson James Spader Tessa Hadley Rupert Thomson Richard Bausch Rod Goodal Daniyal Mueenuddin Sac vs Scroobius Pip James Lasdun Naomi Shihab Nye Peter Robertson John Burnside Celine Kiernan Richard Tillinghast Kate Pullinger Sarah Bannan Kim McArthur Carol Oates Lawrence Hill Mary Gaitskil Helen Humphreys fiction editor selling crime novelist essayist and translator short story writer and novelist farmer and writer 50th Poet story Secretary

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