Dublin has always been a drawing-pin on the literary map. Producing such famous authors as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Roddy Doyle, the city clearly loves to share a good story. And once a year, Ireland’s capital city brings together a wealth of storytellers and story lovers in true fairytale fashion with the Dublin Writers Festival. This year, the 16th edition of the festival takes place from May 17 to 25. So whether you’re an avid reader, a literary enthusiast or simply someone looking to be inspired, don’t miss your chance to stick a drawing-pin of your own in Dublin.
In addition to travellers from far and wide, the Dublin Writers Festival brings together top literary talent from Ireland and around the world, including poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, lyricists, playwrights, screenwriters, journalists, critics to celebrate writers, books and excellence in writing in its many forms. Visitors can join in the celebration at various book shops, theatres and other locations around the city. And to satisfy the sightseer in you, many of the venues sit in the city’s famous Temple Bar area. No matter what your age or tastes, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do at the festival: attend readings, discussions, debates, workshops (for children and young adults), performances, screenings, seminars and more.
If last year’s program is any indication of the 2014 festival, Australian travellers should not be surprised to encounter famous authors from the homeland. In fact, last year, a first-time appearance by Sydney-born and Booker-prize-winning novelist Thomas Keneally proved a highlight of the fete. At one festival event, Keneally paid homage to yet another award-winning Aussie author, the late Patrick White, the only Australian to win the Nobel Prize for literature.
Keneally also reflected on his own 50-year career, during which he’s written 29 novels and many non-fiction works, including works that touch on Irish history. Airplane reading, anyone? Short-listed for the famed Booker Prize four times, Keneally finally took the trophy in 1982 with Schindler’s Ark, which film director Steven Spielberg later made into the Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List.
Festivals past and present
Other highlights of the 2013 festival included appearances by bestselling author Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame and Dublin’s own Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, such timely conversation starters as Fifty Shades of Feminism, and events including A Festival of Reading.
With 2013 a tough chapter to follow, this year’s program promises to be bigger and better than ever, with plenty of literary household names, as well as up-and-comers, headlining the festival. As always, it will honour writers of the past, showcase present-day writers and aim to inspire writers of the future. Visitors play a key role, too: in 2014, you’ll have the opportunity to see the attendees’ best ideas from 2013’s A Festival of Reading incorporated into the festivities. And who knows? You may even influence next year’s festival.
Don’t forget Dublin
And if you need a break from the festival, take five with a perfect pour at the Guinness Storehouse. Alternatively keep in the literary vain by heading across to the Dublin Writers Museum on Parnell Square or the James Joyce Centre, which is located in a restored 18th century Georgian townhouse.