“The word festival comes from the place where the word for feast crosses into the word for joyful, happy, honouring, celebratory.”
Ali Smith.

Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival is delighted to announce that all events for adults & children will go on sale on February 8th 2018

7th February 2018

The festival runs from March 21st to March 25th 2018 and is programmed by Liz Kelly and produced by dlr County Council.

‘At this year's Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival will explore themes and ideas that have been preoccupying all of us through the words of some of our finest writers – novelists, poets, musicians and non-fiction writers. A particular highlight this year will be the Lyric Note during which we celebrate the close connection between writers and musicians, making an imaginative leap of our own in the company of some exceptional minds and voices. We live in a world in which the tectonic plates of power and culture are shifting rapidly and in Present Tense, we take a closer look at this changing world and encourage you to join us on the journey. We've got younger readers in mind too with a range of readings and draw-alongs for schools and families throughout the five day festival’.
Liz Kelly

The Lyric Note celebrates the close connection between writers & musicians
As part of this series world class Uilleann Piper David Power hosts some of Ireland’s favourite poets Tomas McCarthy, Mary O Malley and Leanne O Sullivan in an event marking 40 years since the publication of Tom’s first collection The First Convention. Two Forward Award winners Sinead Morrissey and Michael Symmons Roberts also join us on Wednesday 21 followed on Thursday 22nd by an evening with singer Ceara Conway, poets Louis de Paor, Doireann Ni Ghriofa and fiddle maestro Caoimhin O Raghaille.
The Waste Land is directed by Adrian Dunbar with composition by Nick Roth, dlr’s composer in residence, in association with the T.S. Eliot Foundation

A Way with Words
We open the weekend events on Friday 23rd with our inaugural A Way with Words.
Best-selling author Joseph O’Connor will read and respond to Mountains to Sea Festival themes for 2018. Reflecting on past, present and future, we are thrilled to welcome Joseph O’Connor, a treasured friend of the Festival as our guest author for this unique event in the company of Philip King and Scullion. Each year we will invite an author to respond to the Festival themes, supporting the cultural profile of the County and feeding the public appetite for new experiences.

Cities and Stories
In this strand, novelists and poets share their insights into the places and journeys that have shaped them and their writing.
Novelists John Banville, Jennifer Johnston, James Kelman, Ali Smith and Alice McDermott will all read at this year’s festival. John Banville will discuss Mrs Osmond with Maureen Kennelly of Poetry Ireland and Jennifer Johnston will discuss her work with Roddy Doyle. Selina Guinness will host Head over Heels, taking a sideways look at love stories with Eithne Shortall, Gwendoline Riley and we ‘rediscover’ Jamie O Neill’s At Swim Two Boys. Elizabeth Day joins Bailey’s winner Lisa McInerney for a discussion of class in their novels and Donal Ryan makes a return visit in the company of Sarah Winman to talk about their writing lives and their latest novels.

Present Tense
This non-fiction strand opens with International Women’s Day on March 11th
‘Pressing for Progress’ will discuss women and economic power with Dawn Foster, we celebrate Northern Ireland’s women writers at the Northern Broads event with Susan McKay. Vincent Browne hosts award winning foreign correspondent Maggie O Kane for a discussion of her life and work on the frontline looking at her recent campaigning work.

On Sunday morning 25th March in our new Sunday Seminar slot Architects and writers Marwa Al Sabouni, Darran Anderson join economist Dan O Brien and Professor Siobhan Garriganfor a discussion of the Battle for Home when we will look at the meaning of home and in Marwa’s case what home means in Syria from where she practices and writes having survived the continuing civil war. We consider what the future holds for democracy with Danny Dorling, Liam Kennedy, Elizabeth Day and Ivana Bacik with Margaret E Ward in the chair. Also in Present Tense, we welcome Professor Jacqueline Rose, Booker Judge and one of the leading public intellectuals of our time whose Women in Dangerous Times provides a launch pad for discussion with one her own favourite authors Eimear McBride with Susan McKay hosting the conversation.

Expect a lively discussion of poetry and politics from Siobhan Campbell, Nessa O Mahony and Sandeep Parmar and follow that with Costa Award winning Jon McGregor for his show base don his Costa winning novel Reservoir 13. We’re delighted too to welcome Blake Morrison for a discussion with Niall McMonagle about his new The Executor.

Leading international human rights activist and author Dr Angela Davis will talk about her passion for human rights with Catriona Crowe and Scottish poet Jackie Kay will read from her latest work alongside Paula Meehan with Doireann Ni Bhriain in the chair for a stimulating poetry discussion and reading.

Children’s Events
Scientist Barry Fitzgerald explores the world of Superheroes , environmentalist and author Nicola Davies take us under the sea and Sophy Henn opens the very young up to world of colour and courage. Atinuke takes us home to Nigeria and into the wonderful world of Anna Hibiscus and the always intriguing Dave Rudden pays a return visit with his new book – again hot off the presses. Marie Louise Fitzpatrick and Michael Emberly lead everyone in a family draw along on Sunday morning 25th March.

Previously announced
Events previously announced include novelist Ali Smith who will discuss her seasonal quartet of novels with Sinead Gleeson, debut novelist Gail Honeyman with her sensational Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. American Laureate Robert Pinsky joins us with Olivia O Leary with his particular take on the state of his beloved US and the importance of poetry in all of our lives. James Kelman will discuss his work with Niall MacMonagle. RTE;’s David McCullagh will discuss Irish Civil War personal & political history with BBC’s Feargal Keane


Mountains to Sea is delighted to announce Liz Kelly as new director

25th April 2017

Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival is delighted to announce Liz Kelly as the new Director of the 2018 festival. Liz Kelly has over 20 years experience as an arts and culture manager. At present, she is Curator of Literature and Performing Arts with the Age and Opportunity Bealtaine Festival, a freelance post which she has held since 2013. She was Programme Director of the Ennis Book Club Festival from 2014 to 2016. She has worked for a range of organisations including as Executive Director of glór, Ennis, Cumann Náisiúnta na gCór producing Irish Youth Choir, The Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick; The Vanburgh Quartet and Limerick City Gallery of Art. She has worked with numerous local authority arts offices and for The Arts Council in various management roles and as an adviser. She is a graduate of UCD and the University of Limerick where she is an adjunct lecturer at the Kemmy Business School and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.