Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2016
Cúirt’s theme of 2016 was Memory, and what memories it provided us with this year. I have been attending the Cúirt International Festival of Literature for nearly twelve years now, and every year it improves and amazes me, blows my socks off and I can truly say, this year’s festival was my favourite and most enjoyable (and expensive) and when it ended I was exhausted and emotional.
Galway was buzzing for the Cúirt week, and a high dose of gorgeous sunshine helped set the mood of the town. This year I had the full week off to go to as many events as I could and I certainly made the most of it, attending as many events each day as possible and buying as many books (eighteen to be exact) as I could (not)afford.
An event I sadly missed was the reading by Hollie McNish. I had a ticket, but was asked by Pete Mullineaux to judge the Spoken Word Platform competition in the King’s Head on the Thursday. I had never judged anything before so agreed.
It was an experience, enjoyable to hear fourteen brilliant readings of poetry and fiction, but not as enjoyable to be one of three judges, to have to choose three winners to send on to the Electric Picnic to perform (which is an amazing prize) especially when you can know a few of the readers.
In saying that, I believe we chose the right three, and even before we sat down together to provide our choices we all had the same two performers in our top three, so this made it much easier. The three winners were Seamus Lennon, Lolo Hourihane and Mel White.
The event was a massive success thanks to the brilliant MC Pete Mullineaux and a guest performance by the talented Dublin born performer Brian MacMahon Gallagher, so much fun.
Anyway, after Sundays entertaining launch, my Monday started with two readings in Nun’s Island called ‘Sharing the World’, and involving Blerina Rogova Gaxha, Polona Glavan and Breda Wall Ryan, Nebojsa Lujanović, Korana Serdarević and Rafiq Kathwari. It was a brilliant start to the festival.
Later I attended the Launch of Bone Fire by Susan Millar duMars in Dock 1 bar, and it was a superb launch from a brilliant woman and her book ‘Bone Fire’, I highly recommend.
With so much that happened throughout the week, I will quickly give my highlights and mention the events I attended and absolutely loved. The Cúirt /Over the Edge New Writing Showcase with Michelle Coyne, Erin Fornoff and Aoife Reilly was class.
The Ropes Literary Journal launch was entertaining as usual with amazing readings by Elaine Feeny and Kevin Higgins. That was followed by stunning readings by Natasha Trethewey and Robert Pinsky (and sitting down to a conversation and drinks later that night with the two writers was amazing.
The evening interviews and readings by Tobias Wolf, Patrick Dewitt, Mike McCormack and john Banville were out of this world as were the poetry readings by Selina Nwulu, Rebecca Perry, Rita Ann Higgins, Karen Solie and Collette Boyce. So much dripping goodness.
My two best moments were, having the privilege of attending the Poetry Master class with Karen Solie which was exceptional, and the play ‘What Foremothers’ directed and written by Sarah O’Toole and performed to a point of engaging gripping brilliance by the six outstanding actors, it made me emotional and was one of the best events I have attended in Cúirt in twelve years.
There is so much more to write about but I could be here forever. One event I would like to mention was the ‘Far From Literature We Were Reared’ in the Roisin Dubh in aid of the Galway Rape Crisis Centre, hosted by Aoibheann McCann, Conor Montague, and Sarah O’Toole.
There was so much going on, three rooms of poetry, fiction, storytelling, comedy and music involving Gerry Hanberry, Elaine Feeney, Seamus Ruttledge, Páraic Breathnach, Stephen Watt, Sarah Clancy, Aindrias de Staic, Aideen Henry, Olaf Tyaransen, Órfhlaith Foyle, The Atlantic Rhythm Section, Paul McMahon, Charlie Adley, Emma Comerford, Alan McMonagle, Lorna Shaughnessy, Hugo Seale, Sarah O’Toole, Kernan Andrews, Paul David Murphy, and what a brilliant brilliant night and way to end Cuirt.
I really can’t wait for next year. It was a huge success and massive credit must be given to Dani Gill and her team for bringing it all together and highlighting and illuminating Galway City to the rest of the country. Till next year…