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Philomena author for Ennis Book Club Festival

MARTIN Sixsmith, the journalist and author, whose book inspired the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film Philomena, will appear at the Ennis Book Club Festival just days after the Academy Awards ceremony.

He is just one of many well known authors and personalities who will visit the town in March for the popular festival.

Ciana Campbell of the Ennis Book Club Festival voluntary committee said they are delighted to welcome Sixsmith to Ennis, along with the other participants.

“It’s all taken off for him; it’s been brilliant so we are looking forward to welcoming him. In fact he seems very enthusiastic about coming here. He will be here just after the Oscars ceremony, but Oscar or no Oscar the success has been phenomenal for him,” she outlined.

In 2009 Sixsmith wrote The Lost Child of Philomena Lee about the forcible separation of a Limerick mother and child by the nuns of an Irish convent during the 1950s, and the subsequent attempts of the mother and child to contact one another.

The book was adapted into the film Philomena, was directed by Stephen Frears and starred Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan as Sixsmith.

A host of authors have already signed up to take part in this year’s Book Festival, taking place from March 7 to 9. Others confirmed to attend the event include Donal Ryan who made the longlist for the Booker Prize, broadcaster Michael Murphy and Kilkenny hurling legend D J Carey.

Each year book lovers from all over the country, and further afield, make the trip to Ennis for the ever growing festival.

The programme of events for this year is, as always, varied including fiction, poetry, social comment, literature, music and drama. Visitors to the festival can explore and celebrate these through readings, lectures, workshops and theatre. There will be author readings, discussions, theatre, workshops, reading lists, poetry and events as Gaeilge.

“We’re thrilled with how the programme has been shaping up, there is a lovely mix. What we always try for is a festival that literally will have something for everybody, and we have quite a range this year. There is a nice quirky mix which is brilliant,” Ciana said.

As the festival approaches, the voluntary committee are hard at work during what Ciana describes as the “crucial time.”

They are currently busy finalising plans as well as contacting businesses, organisations and individuals for inclusion in the brochure. They are hopeful that this year’s event will be even more successful than the last.

“Last year was bigger than we expected and we had more events than ever before. The ticket sales were very good. We would be optimistic about how things will go, but really you don’t know. People’s spending power is down. We do try to keep the costs as tight as possible, and because we are volunteers running it we can keep it quite competitive, but there are really significant costs in running the weekend. We are hoping though to match the ticket sales again this year,” she said.

As part of the festival, the third annual Carers’ Poetry Competition has been launched in partnership with Caring for Carers Ireland, the Ennis Book Club Festival and the Clare Three-legged Stool Poets.

This year the theme of the competition is “Dreams” a topic that it is hoped will inspire

the many Family Carers around the country to put pen to paper.. Poems must be your own original work and no longer than 30 lines. The competition will be judged by the Clare Three Legged Stool Poets. Entries should be submitted no later than Friday February 7 to Brigid Barron, Caring for Carers Ireland, National Office, 2 Carmody Street Business Park, Ennis, or email to t bbarron@caringforcarers.org. Entrants should also include a short biographical note.




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