True international flavour to Armagh literary festival
THE Armagh-based John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which takes place next month is offering a packed programme featuring international class writers.
Among those taking part in the events between November 1 and 4 are Irish Times columnist and author Fintan O’Toole, who will discuss the challenges he faced in his most recent book, Heroic Failures: Brexit And The Politics Of Pain. Roger McGough (below), the “patron saint of poetry”, and Robert McCrum, associate editor of The Observer and literary critic, are joined by a cast including writer Namita Gokhale who founded the Jaipur International Festival in India.
BBC presenter William Crawley will be in conversation with literary figures, and deputy director of the British Museum and former Faber & Faber publisher Joanna Mackle — who was responsible for writers like Kazuo Ishiguro, Harold Pinter and Seamus Heaney — is another much-anticipated visitor.
Public relations expert Joris Minne will conduct a masterclass for small businesses, art groups and charities who want to raise visibility and to learn how PR works.
Dr Damian Smyth, head of literature at the Arts Council Northern Ireland said: “Public funding has helped attract exceptional writing talent from home and abroad to form a festival parallel to the great work of the writing school.
“John O’Connor’s writing deserves to be celebrated. In its time, it demonstrated how vibrant and creative a place Armagh was and the festival in his name strengthens that legacy today.
“The Arts Council is delighted to support the programme through its National Lottery funding because it helps build and sustain another asset for culture generally and for Armagh City especially.”
The writing school will be hosted in various historic locations around Armagh including libraries, hotels, bars and restaurants. For more information on the festival, see www.thejohnoconnorwritingschool.com.