Cúirt 21-27 April 2015
Tuesday March 10th was the official launch of this years 30 anniversary Cúirt International Festival of Literature to a packed room in the House Hotel in Galway, a successful and enjoyably night too. Cúirt is really the start of a busy festival season in Ireland and especially the west and it is my favourite time of the year prompting a week of work.
Getting your hands on the official programme on the night is always exciting knowing the hard work put in throughout the year by the festivals director Dani Gill and what she can bring to the table. This year is Cúirts 30th year running and each year it gets bigger and bigger and probably one of Europe’s best literary festivals attracting big names as well as up-and-coming literary figures.
Every year, most gigs if not all sell out and after looking through this years programme I can guarantee everything will sell out quickly so let’s breakdown who’s coming to Galway in April, who I look forward to seeing and who are new to me? which is my favourite part of this festival; discovering new voices.
Who I know and Who You Should Go See?
I got very excited when I came across Jane Hirshfield, a poet I have admired for a long time who will be appearing on the 25th along with Dionne Brand who is new to me. Jane will also be doing a masterclass on the 23rd which I hope to be apart off and a radio Broadcast on the 24th in the Town Hall Theatre.
As for the big nights in the Town Hall throughout the week, names that stand out and will be of interest is the novelist Colm Toibin, always interesting, and I’m excited to go hear Paul Durcan and especially Naomi Shihab Nye who I have only come across recently but loving her style and voice.
Others include Paul Muldoon (not my cup of tea but popular anyhow) and Irvin Welsh which should be very interesting since I grew up reading his books and always got a laugh. These big names are always a showcase and a method of drawing in public interest and a guarantee sell out, but it’s when you take out your spade and dig deep into the Cúirt programme that you discover the little diamonds.
The Local Gang
There is so much going on I’ll need to split my self in two, there is so much as a reader and writer to discover and here are a few that you should go see and also some excellent participant inclusions.
This year has an excellent local Galway inclusion and that is the brilliance of Cúirt and also Dani Gill. Elaine Feeney is a pleasure to hear reading her excellent work and a must see, she will also be along side Doireann Ní Ghríofa, a brilliant evening for sure, and Sarah Clancy will be doing a kitchen reading as well as a workshop which will be guaranteed fun.
The Cúirt New Writing Showcase in the Town Hall Theatre is a free event that is always a treat and this year will have 3 local writers that are Alvy Carragher, Teresa Sweeney and Mary McGill, free, so no excuse.
I’ve heard Sharon Murphy sing before and that will be a lunch time treat in the Kings Head on the Friday.
Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, though I’m familiar with her work, I have never heard her read before so that will be included in my itinerary and happens on Saturday afternoon. She will be reading with Louis De Paor, a new voice to me so that’s exciting.
Interesting Gems That Stand Out
There are always little events that are a must during Cúirt that hopefully I can fit in in already a packed schedule. The Ropes Launch is always popular and as part of Galway as is her river and this year it is been held in Charlie Byrne’s Bookstore. Ropes is important as launch an anthology yearly for a local charity with this years funds going towards ACT! for Meningitis so cough up your loose change please.
The Cúirt Grand Slam is always pure quality and a lot of fun. Salmon Poetry have their usual book launch and I’m excited to see Aideen Henry launch her second poetry collection with Salmon. Aideen was the editor of our Wayword Tuesdays book we published back in 2012.
Two writers who are new to me but sound very intriguing are Sara Baume and Cathrine Lacey. Most years I have attended the readings in An Taibhdhearc in the afternoon and have always discovered new voices to love so this is a must.
Other little diamonds that happen around the town are Poems for Patience that runs in the Galway University Hospital, A photography exhibition in the Galway Arts Center which will feature my friend Boyd Challenger, and in the Roisin Dubh on the Saturday there is a very interesting reading from a publication called Ten: The New Wave, a collection of 10 writers from Britain with diverse backgrounds in Asia, Africa, Europe etc. and this sounds very interesting.
This is one of the best parts of Cúirt, the Masterclasses. I hope to attend Jane Hirshfields but there are others that are well worth checking out from writers such as Sarah Clancy, Neil Astley (always popular) Declan Meade, Olaf Tyaransen, Will Collins, Deidre Sullivan, Kayo Chingonyi and lots more.
Most of the writers and classes I have mentioned in this article I will be doing my best to see and participate. An exciting busy time in Galway so let the good times roll and hurry up April. You can get your tickets (don’t wait) and event information here www.cuirt.ie. Enjoy.