Cúirt International Festival of Literature 

Mark your calendars, bookworms and bibliophiles! The Cúirt International Festival of Literature is a literary haven waiting to be explored. Held every April in the vibrant city of Galway, Ireland, Cúirt transforms into a week-long wonderland for anyone who loves the written word.

Tuesday Events

Alice Kinsella: The Fragmentary Self: On Form and Identity

Renowned poet Alice Kinsella guides you through exploring the concept of selfhood through the fragmented nature of the poetic form. This workshop delves into techniques for crafting poems that capture the complexities of identity.

Poems for Patience Launch – Victoria Kennefick

Celebrate the launch of a brand new poetry collection. The talk promises to be an insightful exploration, Victoria Kennefick will weave in her experiences alongside interviews with renowned writers like Colm Keegan, William Keohane, and Rúairí Conneely. Through these discussions, she’ll shed light on how writers approach form, and how it intersects with themes of class, gender, and race in their work.

New Writing Showcase

This platform gives emerging writers a chance to share their work and receive valuable feedback from a supportive audience. Featuring this year’s new writers, Mia Vance, Gráinne Condron and Tadhg Carey, as well as the winners of the annual Cúirt New Writing Prize: Emily Iseult Duggan(fiction), Hannah Ní Chonghaile (Irish language) and Lucy Holme (poetry).

Book Launch – Seaborne

Book launch of the highly-anticipated novel by Nuala O’Connor, ‘Seaborne’, published by New Island Press, is about a novelty-seeking, contrary, stubborn and bisexual woman called Anne Bonny. Anne is neurodivergent, brave, capable of deep and enduring love and hell-bent on a voyage of self-realization.

Collaborative Poetry Collection

The last event of the day is a new collaborative poetry collection by Jo Burns and Emily Cooper. ‘The Conversation’ is an invented dialogue between three of Picasso’s lovers and subjects: Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar and Françoise Gilot. Unmasking the women behind the paintings, Jo and Emily explore what it means to be an artist, a muse, and a woman, within the intimate secrets and confessions of the page. 

Exhibition: ‘A Deep Well of Want’: Photographs and Archives of McGahern Country

Stepping outside the realm of writing, this exhibition offers a visual exploration of the literary landscape that inspired John McGahern, a celebrated Irish author, held at University of Galway Library and curated by Dr. Barry Houlihan.

Wednesday events

Innovating the Lyric

This workshop by Daljit Nagra equips you with how to craft unique personalities, motivations, and backstories that breathe life into your fiction. It’s a fun and friendly session to explore ways that poetry can push the lyric tradition boundaries.

Making Poems from History

Sacha White discusses the possibilities of combining historical source material with your own writing. Drawing on documents and records, archives and even oral histories, you will be able to experiment with form and voice to create unique poems that simultaneously reach into the past and towards the future

Panel Discussion

If you are a fiction enthusiast, the infamous authors, Jan Carson and Patrick deWitt will be in conversation with Jessica Traynor. Jan talks about her new short story collection, ‘Quickly, While they still have Horses’, where she explores the thrill of growing up, love, parenthood and loss – with her trademark profound compassion and warm wit, on the other hand, Man Booker 2011 prize winner, Patrick, for his novel ‘The Librarianist’, talks about the melancholic reflection on love and loneliness that sparkles with keen observations of human nature. 

Thursday Events

Improving Your Draft

Led by Una Mannion, this workshop delves into the essential tools of editing. Learn how to polish your prose, identify weaknesses, and strengthen your narrative for maximum impact.

Deflections, Deceptions, and Misunderstandings: How Poems Reveal More Complex Truth Than Can Easily Be Borne

Join poet Brenda Shaughnessy to discover how poems can navigate complex emotions and hidden truths through layered language and playful techniques. Through her verses, the complexities of human experience gets revealed. Each poem invites readers to reconsider their perceptions and embrace the uncertainty of life.

Frames of Reference

It brings together Polly Barton and Jacques Testard to explore the art of translation. Attendees gain insights into Meyer’s works, the challenges of translation, and the importance of promoting translated literature. Through engaging discussions, the event celebrates the power of language to transcend borders and unite diverse voices.

Lineage of Secrets

Authors, Molly Hennigan and Clair Wills and panelist, Aoife Barry delve into the complexities of familial dynamics and the power of storytelling to reveal the past.

Imram – Róise Ní Bhaoill

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of the Irish language with author Róise Ní Bhaoill. This workshop delves into the world of “Imram,” a unique Irish literary genre focusing on voyages and journeys.

Elaine Feeney – Poetry Collection

Join Elaine Feeney and Susannah Dickey as the former launches her new poetry collection, All Good Things You Deserve. She is set to explore the themes of love, loss, and resilience. Through captivating readings and insightful discussions, Feeney offers a nuanced exploration of the human experience, shining a light on the intricacies of relationships and the pursuit of happiness. 

Friday Events

Bryan Washington: Family Meal

Bryan Washington’s fiction novel, Family Meal’s discussion with Michael Magee is an eagerly anticipated event at the Cuirt International Festival of Literature. This event showcases the talent and insight of the acclaimed author as he discusses his literary works and creative process. Attendees have the opportunity to gain unique perspectives on themes such as identity, culture, and belonging.

Growing Up in the Troubles – Máiría Cahill and Martin Doyle

This panel discussion features Máiría Cahill and Martin Doyle, who will explore themes of identity, memory, and the complexities of growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Poetry Reading – Leontia Flynn, Erika Meitner and Scott McKendry

Their poems in the festival of literature bring emotions to life and make you think about life in new ways. Through Leontia Flynn, Erika Meitner and Scott McKendry’s readings, they show how powerful words can be; from deep thoughts about life to beautiful descriptions of the world, their poetry will touch your heart. This event celebrates the beauty of poetry and encourages everyone to appreciate the magic of words.

Family Affair – Una Mannion and Paul Murray

The two authors, Una Mannion and Paul Murray will be in conversation with Sinéad Gleeson about their collaborative fictional work, Family Affair, which is about the lives of characters grappled with love, loss, and the complexities of familial relationships. Through their distinct voices and compelling storytelling, the authors invite readers on a journey of discovery, exploring themes of identity, redemption, and the enduring ties that bind us to those we love.

Let the Light Pour In – Lemn Sissay

BAFTA-nominated, award winning writer and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay has authored many collections of plays and poems and is set to perform his latest collection, Let the Light Pour In in the festival of literature. Through his verses, Sissay tries to illuminate the darkness, offering hope and inspiration to those navigating their own paths. Light the Light Pour In serves as a beacon of strength and solace, reminding readers, the power of perseverance and the beauty of embracing one’s true self.

Saturday Events

Kid’s Storytime – Méabh McDonnell

Free event at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop at 11am. Special storytime sessions with author and bookseller Méabh McDonnell, will enchant not only kids but adults too with the best featured tales of Irish writers.

Omnivore: Food, Writing, and Art

It combines the cooking skills of Bryan Washington and Jess Murphy with creative input from Jennie Moran and Louise Kennedy. Through delicious recipes, captivating stories, and beautiful artwork, this book celebrates the joy of eating and sharing meals. It’s a delightful exploration that inspires readers to enjoy food in all its forms and flavors.

Poetry and Resistance – Rafeef Ziadah

Explore the evocative power of language! 

Through her powerful verses, Refeef Ziadah shines a light on the struggles of marginalized communities in Palestinian countries and inspires change. Her poetry urges readers to stand up against injustice and fight for a better world. This workshop delves into the beauty and techniques of poetry, helping you craft poems that bring resistance poetry to life.

Editing and Revising your Work – Thomas Morris

This workshop in the festival of literature guides you through the process of transforming personal experiences into compelling narratives. Learn techniques for storytelling, exploring memory, and shaping your unique voice.

Sunday Events

Author Signings and Book Sales

Many authors participating in this festival of literature will hold book signings and sales throughout the day. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet your favorite writers, get your books signed, and discover new voices.

Festival Wrap-Up Events

The festival of literature will hold closing ceremonies, poetry and short story readings, or panel discussions to mark the end of the successful event.


Any ongoing exhibitions, like “A Deep Well of Want: Photographs and Archives of McGahern Country,” will likely remain open on the 28th, offering a chance to delve deeper into the literary world.

On the last day, you can celebrate the festival of literature’s conclusion with performances by various artists, connect with fellow book lovers, and discover hidden gems among the remaining events.

When: 23rd April – 28th April

Where: The Mick Lally Theatre,O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, MacNeill’s

Cost: €5 – €20

Tarla Vaidya
Tarla Vaidya

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