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Coole Park near Gort. Photograph by John Kelly.

Literary gathering to celebrate women writers

UP to 150 people are expected in Coole Park and Gort this weekend for the 19th annual Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering. This year, the gathering centres on women writers and includes readings and workshops by a number of well-known writers and academics.

“By inviting famous women writers of Irish descent from around the world to follow in the footsteps of this remarkable woman, we are honouring Lady Gregory’s contribution to Irish arts and culture in this unique gathering. We seem to be attracting a wider international audience, both male and female, with this enhanced Gathering.

“Spread over five days instead of three, from Thursday to Monday, more overseas visitors will be attracted to South Galway and to Ireland, in support of the Gathering Ireland 2013 initiative,” explained honorary secretary of the event, Marion Cox.

Last year’s events as part of the Gathering were booked out and Marion is expecting a large crowd again this year.

“The feedback has been absolutely marvellous so far. There has been tonnes of new interest and interest from a lot of women writers and from American writers too. Places at the different events are filling up though and anyone thinking of coming along at the weekend should ring and book a place to avoid disappointment. Most items are open admission and we are just suggesting a donation so there is a lot of accessibility,” she said.

One of the main speakers, Professor Marc Conner, Washington and Lee University, Virginia, will deliver a lecture connecting Lady Gregory to modern Irish women writers.

A number of renowned women will speak at the event, including Dr Angela Bourke, senior lecturer in modern Irish at University College Dublin and member of the Royal Irish Academy; Professor Meg Harper, Glucksman professor of contemporary writing in English at the University of Limerick; Dr Eimear O’Connor, art historian; Dr Cecily O’Neill, international authority on process drama and the arts in education; Lelia Doolan – film producer and Sinéad McCoole, historian and author, including works on Irish revolutionary women.

Other highlights include finding ancestors through an easy-to-use genealogical path; an historical tour of Gort and the hinterland; walks through Coole Park; Over The Edge, Galway’s famous Writer’s Gathering and Open Reading; a kitchen reading of Me and Nu by Anne Gregory, performed by writers and poets Hedy Gibbons-Lynott and Geraldine Mills; Lady Gregory’s Ingredients, a three-woman play; a creative writing workshop and a literary lunch with local writers. In addition, visitors can enjoy the country market in the town on Saturday, a special photographic exhibition, a film evening, the candlelit dinner and other entertainment.

“The screening with Lelia Doolan will also include a question and answer session afterwards, so that is a really good thing and will be very interesting. The photo and art exhibition in the Lady Gregory Hotel is a new addition to the gathering and is bit different and the kitchen reading in the Gate Lodge in Coole Park, that has never happened before so we are looking forward to that.

“There is also a creative writing workshop and a literary lunch on the Monday and there will be a lot of local interest in those I think,” Marion concluded.
For more information, log onto www.autumngathering.com, call Marion on 086 8053917 or email monaleen@msn.com.

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