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Top Names for Book Festival

Clare Champion, Friday, 29th December 2006

A number of internationally renowned authors have been confirmed to participate in the inaugural Ennis Book Club Festival for 2007. Just some of the major names who are scheduled to take part in the festival running from March 2-4 are playwright and novelist Patrick McCabe, author of The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto; Edna O'Brien, a County Clare novelist, short story writer, playwright and screenwriter; Fergal Keane, a BAFTA-winning BBC journalist; Charlie Bird, RTE chief news correspondent and author of This is Charlie Bird; Denis Cotter, an acclaimed restaurateur and cookery book author; Ré 0 Laighlis, the biggest selling contemporary writer in the Irish language and novelist Carlo Gébler, who was shortlisted for the Booker Award in 2000. Other authors scheduled to participate during the three-day event include, poet and broadcaster, Michael Coady, winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry in 1979; Rita Ann Higgins, a poet and dramatist; PJ Curtis, professional broadcaster, record producer, author and music historian; Dermot Healy, a novelist, playwright and poet; poets Mary O'Donnell, Mary O'Malley and Rosita Boland; writer Niall Williams; short-story writer Evelyn Conlon and award-winning author, Anne Enright.

The Ennis Book Club Festival 2007, which is being supported by Clare County Library, will be a social and literary gathering to bring together some of the 150 library book clubs and 300 private book clubs that exist nationwide.

The festival programme will feature author visits, readings, lectures, workshops, exhibitions and cookery demonstrations, Irish language drama, library book sales, musical entertainment, sale of Irish language books and youth theatre performances in various venues around Ennis. Other events include a presentation on the Kate O'Brien Papers by archivist Roisin Berry, a walking tour of the historic town of Ennis, a talk by Sean Ó Ceallaigh on Eamonn MacGiolla lasachta and a presentation on the John McGahern Papers by archivist Fergus Fahey of NUl Galway.

According to Frances O'Gorman of the Ennis Book Club Festival Organising Committee, "We are delighted to have so many renowned authors confirmed for the festival. They will, no doubt, contribute greatly to what will be a diverse festival programme of events. We are keen to give the book clubs an eclectic mix that won't be found at any other literary festival and that reflects the reading passions of many in the country." She added, "We are equally delighted to have secured the participation of so many contributors from County Clare. During the three-day programme of events we will see contributions from Clare natives Rosita Boland, Edna O'Brien, Eddie Stack, PJ Curtis and Sean Ó Ceallaigh. Meanwhile, writer Niall Williams has lived in West Clare for many years."

Commenting ahead of the festival, Ciana Campbell of the Festival Organising Committee said, "The festival presents a unique opportunity for book club members to meet and exchange ideas about all aspects of literature. Book Clubs from Ireland and the UK are invited to get together in Ennis to share their joy of reading, to meet authors, to discuss books and to have a weekend break with friends. Non book club readers are also invited to come along and to find out how to go about setting up a club in their own area."

Meanwhile, the Festival Organising Committee has just announced details of an early bird weekend ticket, which offers book clubs access to festival events at a reduced price. Further details on ticket prices and the festival are available at www.ennisbookclubfestival.com, telephone 087-9723647 / 085-7758523 or email info@ennisbookclubfestival.com.

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