True in­ter­na­tional flavour to Ar­magh lit­er­ary fes­ti­val

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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