Three new book launches, panel discussions, creative workshops, poetry and fiction will be central to a jam packed Wild Atlantic Words Literary festival which runs from this Wednesday, October 4 to Sunday, October 8 in Castlebar. And the programme has something for every taste — children's events, young people's writing, history debates, sporting memoirs, culinary arts, hometown reminiscences.
Among the well known personalities who will make their contribution to Wild Atlantic Words will be Sally Rooney, Billy Keane, Donal Ryan, Senator Marie Louis O'Donnell, JP McMahon, Cormac O'Malley, Marty Morrissey, and Mike McCormack.
The festival kicks off on Wednesday (6.30pm ) at the Castle Bookshop with the launch by Anthony Broderick of The Blaze, the much anticipated third book in his children's series The Adventures of Jack and Adam. On Thursday, former taoiseach Enda Kenny TD will launch Christy Loftus' Mayo County Council, Years of Transition at Aras an Chontae at 6pm, while food lovers will converge on Rua at Spencer Street at 7.30pm, where Aron McMahon will introduce chef, restaurateur, author, columnist, and Food on the Edge founder, JP McMahon (booking is essential for this event ).
Later, at Gno Maigheo at Main Street in Castlebar, Padraic Jack will present an Oiche Cheoil when the composer and singer will discuss the challenge of song writing in Irish as well as translating the work of other performers
Friday morning starts with childrens' author Shane Hegarty discussing his writings at the County Library at 11am, and then at the Linenhall at 2pm. Martin Carney will be joined by transition year students who will read from their "Letter to My Hero", a Wild Atlantic Words school project.
Friday's busy schedule then moves to Bridge Street Bar at 6pm when Conor O'Malley will read from and discuss excerpts from the works of his father, War of Independence hero, Ernie O'Malley, who was a native of Castlebar. Then, at the same venue at 8pm, Micheal O Muircheartaigh will launch At the End of the Day, the stories of 14 Irish sports heroes who retired in recent years. MC Marty Morrissey will be joined by former Kerry footballer Tomas Ó Sé, Tipperary hurler Eoin Kelly, and other top names for the launch of Paul Byrne's great new book.
Bridge St Bar will be the venue on Saturday morning when a panel of historians will discuss the various aspects of Ernie O'Malley's cultural and military life. Writer Alice Kinsella hosts a poetry writing workshop at the Linenhall (this has already been booked out ), and at 4pm, celebrated new writer Sally Rooney will be in conversation with fellow writers John Patrick McHugh, Nicole Flattery, and Thomas Morris.
Enda Kenny will present the Wild Atlantic Words Hall of Fame award to Mike McCormack, whose Solar Bones has been hailed as one of the breakthrough books of 2017, before the action returns to the County Library. Here, at 8pm, an evening with the inimitable Billy Keane and award winning Donal Ryan will be hosted by Senator Marie Louise O'Donnell.
Saturday's events will conclude with a light hearted A Poem and a Pint, at Tolsters in Spencer Street. The final event at Bridge St Bar will see John Healy host "Sunday Morning Coming Down" — a panel of hometown writers in a relaxed informal setting with Tom Murphy, Paddy McGuinness, Magdalen O'Connell, James Laffey and Noel Campbell giving short presentations, followed by lively banter and free flowing audience input. All events in the Wild Atlantic Words programme are free of charge, but booking for some events will be required due to limitations of space.