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About the Festival



Liz Kelly

Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival was established in 2009 and takes place annually at the end of March. Preview events are held to celebrate International Women's Day on March 8th. The Festival is produced by dlr Libraries, the Libraries section of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Our poetry strand incorporates the Irish Times Poetry Now Award and the Shine Strong Award. There is also a strong Family and Schools programme. The current Festival Director is Liz Kelly.

Liz has over 20 years’ experience as an arts and culture programmer and manager. She has worked as an advisor and programme manager to The Arts Council, currently also works as a cultural producer at Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture and has held numerous consultancy roles with arts organisations. Liz has also been a local authority arts officer and has also held the position of CEO in a number of arts organisations. She has worked as lead programmer of both the national and local Bealtaine Festivals. She was appointed programme director at Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival in 2017. She is originally from Kerry (for which we forgive her) and grew up in the countryside in a house full of books and storytellers.

The aim of the Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival is to celebrate writers and the art of writing in the company of readers of all ages. Each year, we choose from a vast reservoir of contemporary fiction, non-fiction and poetry, to build a programme around human stories, exploring how we live and connect through literature and ideas.

Within the County of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown dwells a diverse community and our intention in crafting the Festival programme is to respond to that diversity, to touch the zeitgeist and to invite new audiences in to encourage discussion, debate and reflection on literature and ideas. The younger readers' programme invites young audiences to consider their role as citizens in our ever-changing society and our poetry strand focuses on the ‘condition of poetry, a permanent and universal condition, one of those whole-person to whole-person encounters that keep us human eternally' - poet Thomas McCarthy.

The reason for the enduring appeal of the Festival is its close connection with and celebration of the rich literary heritage of the County. We celebrate this heritage through collaborations with leading composers and bring contemporary literature and our readers into the heart of our Festival; programming with the new, the challenging, the edgy and the provocative in mind. Our hope is to enhance the existing relationship with dlr readers as well as attract a wider audience from across Ireland as well as further afield. We have, we believe, created something unique that does not overlap with other Irish Festivals and which appeals to wider Dublin and national audiences through threading fiction, poetry and non-fiction events together over the course of the Festival weekend.

Over the years, Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival has welcomed Margaret Drabble, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Sebastian Barry, Anne Enright, Colum McCann, Caitlin Moran, Joseph O’Connor and Mohsin Hamid. Poetry Now, currently presented as part of The Lyric Note strand, has been running for over 20 years and has featured many of the great poets of our time including Seamus Heaney, Paula Meehan, Michael Longley, Anne Carson, Nick Laird, Jackie Kay and Robert Pinsky.

Latterly, we have developed a distinct Non-Fiction strand – Present Tense – to examine key issues of the day and previous participants include Pankaj Mishra, Maria Alyokhina, David McCullagh and Angela Davis. Previous highlights of the Family and Schools Programme have included Judith Kerr, Shane Hegarty, Francesca Simon, Eoin Colfer and PJ Lynch, Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre, Atinuke Akinyeme, Robert Muchamore, Vivian French, Derek Landy, Nicola Davies, Sarah Maria Griffin and Dave Rudden, in addition to our Adopt an Author programme for primary schools in the County. Previous

The brochure for the 2018 festival is available here and the 2019 festival here.