A stellar line up of literary heavyweights will illuminate the Clifden Arts Festival as Ireland’s longest running arts festival celebrates 40 years of continued success. Launching on September 14th, literary events will see dozens of readings with some of the most celebrated female authors, artists and historians and poets in the world. Literary masters of mood and atmosphere Robyn Rowland, Gina Mercer, Joan McBreen, Geraldine Mitchell, Mary O’ Malley, Vona Groark are amongst the gold standard poets and authors of our time who will feature at the Clifden Arts festival. Not to mention, curator, archivist, art historian, author, editor, Eimear O’Connor, who will illuminate the Festival with her fascinating talk on redressing home rule entitled “Irish home industries, the Throne room and Lady Aberdeen’s Modern Modes of display”.
With over thirty years’ experience in the visual arts, the multi-talented Eimear O’ Connor has worked as been a member of various boards of directors and as an arts consultant. As an art historian, she specializes in the progress of Irish art within historical, economic, social and political contexts in Ireland and abroad in the twentieth century. She has been organizing, selecting and hanging exhibitions of art for over twenty five years. More recently she has curated exhibitions dedicated to Irish artist Seán Keating in which she addressed the complex contexts in which he worked. She oversees the RHA archive to encourage and facilitate inter-institutional access and collegiality. O’Connor also continues to write many distinguished books concerning history and the arts.
Former Patrick Kavanagh award winner, Geraldine Mitchell will also feature at the festival. She published her third poetry collection, ‘Mountains for Breakfast’, earlier this year and is part of Ireland’s writers in schools scheme. She has also written two novels for young people and ‘Deeds Without Words’, the biography of Muriel Gahan. Sligo-born Joan McBreen, has published five collections of poetry, the most recent being ‘Map and Atlas’, Salmon poetry 2017. A contributor to a number of journals and anthologies, she holds an MA from University College Dublin and is serving member of the board of poetry Ireland.
Paula Meehan likens making a poem to a child at a window making a mark with her breath: It’s something we’ve all done and I still do”. It’s more than forty years since spectacular author and poet Meehan emerged from childhood in inner city Dublin tenements to give voice to the disenfranchised everywhere, less in anger than with compassion and an intuitive understanding that, through verse, imbued their lives and memories with mythic dignity. Her wonderful zest and warmth of tone have led to her induction at the Hennessy Hall of Fame for her achievements in poetry.
Also taking to the stage will be a reading from the Doire press with acclaimed authors Martin Malone and Karen J. McDonnell, Collette Bryce, Katie Donovan, Robyn Rowland and award-winning poet Paul Durcan and Bernard O’ Donoghue, whose poetry has been described as having an emotional intensity conveyed through a controlled yet impeccably natural language. Acclaimed poet, professor, editor, critic and translator Paul Muldoon has also been hailed by the Times as “the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War”.
You will be taken on an inspiring journey with the spontaneous overflow of dynamic words from brilliant literary minds who will allow you to escape your own reality.
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About Clifden Arts Festival
The longest running community arts festival in Ireland, Clifden Community Arts Week, now in its 40th year will take place from September 13th – 24th and yet again promises to have something to excite everyone in this year’s programme. Audiences can expect a very high quality artistic programme with a superb literary, musical and visual art content which again will have the community arts of Clifden and the surrounding hinterland as a central focus with creative writing, music, theatre, graphic design and film workshops and performances taking place in the local schools for the duration of the festival.