Pulitzer Prize Winner Confirmed For Limerick Festival

The program for one of Ireland’s largest annual gatherings of contemporary poets and writers was announced in County Limerick today.

Pulitzer prize winning US poet Jorie Graham has been confirmed among the line-up of participants for Éigse Michael Hartnett, which is organized by the Limerick County Arts Office and takes place in Newcastle West from 22-24 April 2010.

Michael Hartnett, who wrote both English and Irish poems, was born in Croom, County Limerick, in 1941 and died in Dublin in 1999.  He is regarded as one of the most significant voices in late 20th century Irish writing.

Other confirmed participants of the 2010 literary and arts festival include Fintan O’Toole, author, cultural and political  commentator, and Irish Times Deputy Editor; Mark Pollock, professional speaker, adventure athlete, author, broadcaster, and the first blind man to reach the South Pole; Patrick Hederman, author and Abbot of Glenstal Abbey; Eileen Sheehan, award winning Kerry poet; Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, ground breaking performance poet; and Rita Ann Higgins, poet and dramatist.

According to Limerick County Arts Officer Joan Mac Kernan, “Hosted throughout the town of Newcastle West, in the library, schools, the courthouse, church, hospital and pubs, the weekend program features readings by leading Irish and international poets and playwrights, workshops and dramatized works.  A particular element of the festival will be the integration of music and song with noted singers performing with the guest’s poets.”

“Reflection and inspiration are the two words that best describe this year’s program. Leading poets, writers and thinkers jostle with musicians, dancers, singers and storytellers, for what  Michael Hartnett termed ‘the harp side of the Irish coin’. Events that are bound to enthuse, stimulate, inspire, and occasionally bemuse, celebrate the literary and oral legacy of Michael Hartnett, the poet and man”, Ms. Mac Kernan added.

The festival will be officially launched at Newcastle West Library on Thursday April 22nd when keynote speaker Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman OSB presents ‘Irish Poets, learn your trade: Poetry as speaking Truth’.  Elsewhere, Fintan O’Toole  will deliver this year’s Michael Hartnett Memorial Lecture, which is entitled ‘Secular Prayers: Michael Hartnett, Enchantment and Disenchantment’; author Michael Smith will provide a lunch time presentation on the  endeavors of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean based on his book ‘An Unsung Hero – Tom Crean’; storyteller Batt Burns will perform a session at St Ita’s Community Hospital, Newcastle West; and Tegolin Knowland and Sean Coyne will perform ‘The Aran Islands – A Dramatic Recital of J.M. Synge’s work’.

Other events include an ‘Open Mic’ session where prizes will be awarded for the best performed original poem and the best performed Hartnett poem.  The competition adjudicators will be Eileen Sheehan, Gabriel Fitzmaurice and John Cussen.

The inaugural Éigse Michael Hartnett was held in 2000. Past participants include the Pat McCabe, Carol Ann Duffy , Paul Durcan, Thomas Lynch, John Waters, Leanne O’Sullivan and the late Nuala O Faolain. Previous festivals have attracted literary and arts enthusiasts from all over North America and Europe.

Full details of the Éigse Michael Hartnett program are available from the Limerick County Arts Office on 061 493498/496300 or www.lcc.ie

-ENDS-

Note to Editor:
–    Contributor images and biographies are available on request. Interviewees with individual festival participants may be arranged on request, subject to availability. Please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 086-8534900 or [email protected]

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