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Stellar line-up for book club festival

BOOKER Prize-winning author, Anne Enright, as well as playwright, film and theatre director, Peter Sheridan, will be among the contributors to the fourth Ennis Book Club Festival, which takes place from March 4 to 6.

Clockwise from front; Patricia Callaly, Paula Shiels, Mary Donnelly, Mary Coneelly, Frances O’Gorman and Ciana Campbell, committee members, at the launch of this year’s Ennis Book Club Festival. Photograph by Declan MonaghanDetails of this year’s event were launched in the Old Ground Hotel during the week. The festival is supported by Clare County Library and the three-day programme of events is expected to attract hundreds of book-club members and book lovers from all over Ireland and the UK to Ennis.
The festival programme features author visits, readings, musical entertainment, lectures and workshops in various venues around Ennis. It also includes the Irish Book Club of the Year Award and a professional development workshop for library staff.
Among the Irish contributors to the festival will be Anne Enright, Booker prize-winning author; Pauline McLynn, stage and screen actor and author of eight bestselling novels; Peter Sheridan, playwright, film and theatre director, and recipient of the Rooney Prize for Literature; Paul Murray, Irish author of Skippy Dies which has been selected as the third best fiction book of the year by Time magazine; Eamonn Sweeney, journalist and author of Down Down Deeper and Down: Ireland in the 70s and 80s and the bestselling Road to Croker; David Norris, Senator and Joycean scholar; Dr Eibhear Walshe, author and senior lecturer in the Department of Modern English at University College Cork and John Curran, author of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks.
International contributors include Doug Stanton, US author of Horse Soldiers and New York Times bestseller In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors; Blake Morrison, former literary editor of The Observer and The Independent on Sunday, Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College and author of The Last Weekend and Things My Mother Never Told Me and David J Lynch, senior writer with Bloomberg News, former war correspondent, and author of When the Luck of The Irish Ran Out: The World’s Most Resilient Country and Its Struggle to Rise Again.
There will also be poetry readings by Vona Groarke and Tom Conaty, while well-known broadcaster Marie Louise O’Donnell will be choosing 10 books you should read.
The 2011 festival also features the Irish Book Club of the Year Award, which was won in 2010 by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) Audio Book Club from County Dublin. The closing date for entry is January 14. Entry forms are available in libraries, bookshops and on www.ennisbookclubfestival.com.
Meanwhile, the festival is inviting library staff nationwide to a workshop on marketing strategies for libraries. The professional development workshop, which will be presented by Nancy Dowd co-author of Bite Size Marketing and director of marketing for the New Jersey State Library, has been designed specifically for library staff and will feature realistic marketing techniques for the busy librarian.
The festival will also feature a Clare Youth Theatre performance of Ex Libris, the launch by the Clare Three-legged Stool Poets of the late Brendan O’Byrne’s poetry collection, Reality the Graveyard of Dreams. The young winners of The Clare Champion’s short story writing competition will also be reading their work.
Festival chairperson Ciana Campbell said this year’s three-day programme of events promises to be as exciting and wide-ranging as the previous four festivals. “The numbers attending the festival has grown year-on-year and we expect up to 3000 people from throughout Ireland, the UK and beyond to travel to Ennis this March,” she explained.
She added that the festival’s continued success is complemented by the increasing number of book clubs being established throughout Ireland.
“We conducted a survey of more than 120 existing book clubs throughout Ireland in late 2010 and found that approximately 45% of these were established during the last five years,” she said.
Tickets for all events will be on sale shortly. Further festival information is available from www.ennisbookclubfestival.com, on www.twitter.com/ebcf, by emailing info@ennisbookclubfestival.com or by phoning 087 9723647/085 7758523.


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