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Colm O'Regan

Full programme for 15th Ennis Book Club Festival launched

THE full programme for the 15th Ennis Book Club Festival was announced this week. This year’s festival will be a hybrid of online events in March with live events taking place in April and September. As always Ennis Book Club Festival 2021 will offer opportunities to engage with favourite authors and features an additional programme of events for younger readers.
While the festival cannot welcome book lovers to Ennis this March as ever, it will provide plenty of events to stimulate discussion and inspire reading, from the comfort of the couch.
Commenting on the programme for the 2021 Ennis Book Club Festival, Artistic Director Dani Gill, says, “We have had to re-imagine the festival several times this year with the changing circumstances, and while people are having to remain at home, we hope that at least, there have been some good books on the go, and that people will engage with our online offerings next month.
“A lot of work has gone into supporting writers and publishers in the past year, and we are keen to meet readers, and to give readers the space to link in with us again, even when things look a bit different. We really appreciate everyone’s support, and we hope that people have some laughs and fun, especially with Colm O’Regan, Roddy Doyle and Patrick Freyne. These events were designed with warmth and comfort in mind, so that is what we want to deliver.”
On Friday, March 5, Ennis Book Club Festival kicks off with Ask the Author with Naoise Dolan, whose 2020 debut novel Exciting Times has been described as ‘fiercely intelligent and brutally funny.’
Award winning author and comedian Colm O’Regan follows at 8pm in an event of anecdotes, some comedy and fun, following his publication Anne Devine: Handle with Care.
On Saturday March 6 from 11.30am book clubs from across the country will have an opportunity to meet and greet acclaimed Irish author Donal Ryan in an intimate online meet up, as he chats about his most recent novel, Strange Flowers. Readers and bookclubs are invited to sign up, for a small group chat with Donal, where they will get to ask direct questions and enjoy the feeling of an intimate, bookclub space. Entire bookclubs can sign up to one slot but spaces are limited so decide on one and book in, as soon as the programme goes up.
Also, on Saturday at 6pm Kevin Barry will chat about his new collection of short stories, That Old Country Music, followed by a short film of the title story of the collection, made this month by artist and filmmaker, Laura Sheeran.
Saturday night at the festival will come to a close with Roddy Doyle joined by Patrick Freyne, talking about stupid ideas, pubs, secrets and intimacy. Patrick Freyne was shortlisted for the Newcomer Irish Book Award for his book OK, Let’s do your Stupid Idea, a book about experience, learning, difficult situations, a mix of funny and poignant moments. He will be chatting with Roddy about his most recent novel Love, that centres on two male characters talking in a bar, unravelling a story between them.
A firm festival favourite, 10 Book You Should Read kicks off Sunday virtually and features Edel Coffey with Patrick Freyne and Elaine Feeney discussing their book recommendations for 2021. This event will be broadcast by Clare FM over the weekend of the festival and will be shared as an audio file on the Ennis Bookclub Festival website after the weekend.
At 7pm on Sunday, a collaboration of poets and visual artists, join together, to commemorate the Record Break Poetry Art Exposition’19. At the event, ekphrastic poetry will be read, whilst electronic versions of the visual works will be viewed.
On March 30, festival Artistic Director, Dani Gill will be in conversation with Niall Williams in an event called Clare Reads, in association with Clare Library. Niall’s most recent novel, This is Happiness was nominated for The Irish Book Awards and the Walter Scott prize.
Ennis Book Club Festival, in association with Clare Library also features an extensive programme for younger readers, including the chance to participate in Fighting Words, a creative writing workshop for secondary schools, in collaboration with Clare County Library’s Teen Week taking place on Zoom on Tuesday, March 2. Special guest Roddy Doyle will join the Fighting Words Team, Fighting Words volunteers from Clare and library staff.
The festival has teamed up with Music Generation Clare to present a Song & Music Production Workshop on Wednesday, March 3. The workshop is an interactive workshop for secondary schools and includes tuition in writing, recording and mixing a song together as a class group.
Acclaimed author Louise O’Neill will host A Secondary School Audience with Louise O’Neill on Thursday, March 4 where she will explore and discuss the themes in her novels for teenagers. Louise’s second novel, Asking for It, was published to widespread critical acclaim, and the book spent 52 consecutive weeks in the Irish top 10 bestseller list.
In a special event for Transition Year students Louise O’Neill and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald will host a TY Book Clubs event on Friday, March 5. Louise will talk about her latest, award-winning novel After the Silence, its diversity and impact. Louise will also talk about her own favourite writers, her writing process, and her advice for young writers.
On Saturday September 11, Ennis Book Club Festival will present a series of live events, including Canadian writer Patrick deWitt discussing the theme of migration in his work with Festival Director, Dani Gill. Patrick deWitt is the internationally acclaimed author of Ablutions, The Sisters Brothers Under Major Domo Minor, and his most recent novel: French Exit. Both The Sisters Brothers and French Exit have been released as movies.
Douglas Stuart will join Elaine Feeney in conversation on the glór stage. Douglas’ debut novel, Shuggie Bain, won the 2020 Booker Prize and has been published in over 30 territories. He will be joined by writer and lecturer, Elaine Feeney whose debut novel, As You Were was shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year.
Writer and Artist, Sara Baume will be part of The Alphabet of Birds, her spellbinding audio-visual essay, covering the multitude of rituals that fill our daily lives with meaning. Baume’s new essay is inspired by four short documentaries depicting artists at work on land and sea. These films will be screened accompanied by a live soundtrack of Sara’s words and live music.
Other events include the popular Beyond Borders Book Club presenting Three Books you should Read, Little John Nee and Salmon Memory Book. Three Books you should Read will be recommended reads, from countries outside of Ireland, from people connected with those places.
Sarah Clancy will chair an event at the festival, hosting three guests who will talk about their book choice and why they think people should read it. Little John Nee will perform on the Square, entertaining passers-by with his original songs and writings, over the afternoon of September 11.
Jessie Lendennie, publisher and editor of Salmon Poetry will launch a special ‘Memory Book’ at the festival, charting her amazing career with Irish poetry, on this, the 40th year of Salmon. This will a special commission awarded by the Arts Council to Ennis Bookclub Festival, to work with Jessie on this important part of Irish poetry history and leadership.
All events have gone live on www.ennisbookclubfestival.com. Some events, such as the Donal Ryan bookclub meetups, are limited capacity, so early booking is advised. All events are free. Donations can be made when registering or via our website. See www.ennisbookclubfestival.com for full details on all events.

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