The International Literature Festival Dublin 2023: Program, Authors and Ceremony 

The International Literature Festival

It is in the heart of Dublin, in Merrion Square Park, that the International Literature Festival Dublin will take place, from 19 – 28 May. Under the watchful eye of Oscar Wilde’s sculpture, book lovers will meet our best contemporary writers.

Authors and performers from all across the world 

Readings, conversations, debates, and guided tours awaits you along with music performances and even yoga classes. The program contains over 180 events featuring authors, screenwriters, musicians, and DJs from over 28 countries. Everyone is welcome to the festivities as it includes readings for kids and families, and workshops on the writing process for the creative minds. 

If a large part of the authors and performers comes from across the world, the festival also makes room for the Irish artists. Luke Harding’s book, Invasion: Russia’s Bloody War and Ukraine’s Fight for Survival, gives an understanding of the situation in Ukraine. Along with Ukrainian human rights scholar Nadia Dobrianska and professor of politics at the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University (DCU) Donnacha Ó Beacháin, he will analyse the largest conflict in Europe since 1945. Three of Ireland’s crime fiction specialists, Catherine Ryan Howard, Claire Allan and Jane Casey will come together for an insight in their nerve-racking novels. 

the international literature festival dublin

Among the many events, 36 alone are dedicated to family and kids. Image by @kabreuph via Instagram.

‘It’s always such a pleasure to meet people’

This year, author, screenwriter and comedian Monica Heisey will discuss Really Good, Actually, her debut novel about the life crisis of a young divorcee. A first book that was challenging for the writer “Television writing, which is my main job, is so collaborative, but the first stages of writing a novel, before your editors come on board, really is just you on your own at your desk going slightly deranged.”

She will meet her readers on Saturday 20 May. “It’s always such a pleasure to meet people who got something out of the book. I love hearing the different parts that spoke to different readers.” The Canadian writer jokes, “Plus, everyone always tells me their best breakup stories.” 

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Monica Heisey will discuss her debut novel Really Good, Actually. Image by Rachel Sherlock.

Sophie White, an Irish author, will also attend the festival by talking about My Hot Friend, a funny and relatable book on female friendships. “I wanted to write about something other than boy meets girl”, she says, “Few years ago, I was writing an article for a magazine about friendship breakups and asked on social media if anyone experienced friendship breakups. And I got so many responses.”

“So many people had broken up with friends and never discussed it in terms of it being a really significant painful breakup. A lot of them had a lot to say about it. Like how it affected them more deeply than any of their romantic relationship breakups, how they experienced grief. And by writing an article on this subject I realised that there was something in this pain of losing best friends.”

Sophie is also very excited to meet her readers on Friday 19 May. “I just feel great that my work is making a difference or that people are relating to it. That is really gratifying and that urges me to continue”, she says. She also can’t wait to meet none other than…Monica Heisey herself.

My Hot Friend by Sophie White photo on the right

Sophie White will talk about her new novel My Hot Friend. Image by Evan Doherty.

A big celebrity this year

Some events are already sold out, like the in-person event on Saturday 20 May with the famous actor and writer Stanley Tucci who will talk about his novel Taste : My Life Through Food. A memoir that shows again his old interest in cooking as he has already written two cookbooks filled with Italian recipes and family memories : The Tucci Table and The Tucci Cookbook.

In his third book Taste, he offers a glimpse of his life through food, from his mother’s slow-cooked ragu, to the burger bars in Manhattan when his career as an actor began. His event at the International Literature Festival Dublin is one of the highlights that even the writers wouldn’t miss. It’s “top of the list” for Monica Heisey who considers herself a “big Stanley Tucci fan”. 

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Writer and gourmand Stanley Tucci will attend the festival this year. Image by Gerhard Kassner.

The Dublin Literary Award Ceremony

On May 25, a novelist will be receiving the Dublin Literary Award. Titles are nominated by public libraries in major cities in the world to a shortlist of only six novel. Cloud Cuckoo Land from Pulitzer Prize–winning author Anthony Doerr, Kim Thúy’s Em, an odyssey through Vietnam War, Ivana Sajko’s Love Novel that takes us inside a failing marriage, Marzahn, Mon Amour, the funny story of a chiropodist by Katja Oskamp.

Fernanda Melchor’s Paradais explores the hardships of two teenagers in the Mexican society and Percival Everett’s The Trees that addresses racism in a detective story. But don’t leave right after the ceremony as you can take part in a conversation with the 2023 winner and receive a copy of the winning book.

Marylou Prevost
Marylou Prevost

After a Master's degree in journalism and one year as a journalist in France, I landed in Dublin to write for Babylon Radio. I mostly love writing about cultural events in Ireland.

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