Welcome to Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival 2021! This year, we are not taking any chances and whilst we can’t put on our usual 60 events across 4 days in our Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown venues, we've curated a special online edition taking place on 27th and 28th March 2021 with our International Women’s Day #ChoosetoChallenge on March 8th.
When we entered 2020 with all the hope a new year brings, no one could have predicted the reality that was to come. Certain years are so eventful they are regarded as pivotal in history and this past year will certainly join this list. It will long be remembered and studied as a time when more than 1.5 million people globally died during a pandemic, racial unrest gripped the world, and democracy itself faced extraordinary tests. No one could escape the virus and vitalness of 2020 and it continues, as we expect the unexpected in 2021. It is hard to keep up.
For many of us, the year presented immense challenges in our personal and professional lives but it also offered an opportunity to stop and notice the world around us, to catch up and to reflect. To be ‘Of The Moment’ because…well…what else could we do?
We learned to meet with friends and family, to share milestones, to work and to engage with the world through computer screens. Above all, many of us had time to read and DLR libraries together with the public library service throughout Ireland have met the increased demand for books, workshops, book clubs and reader’s events.
During this year’s two day Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival, we invite you to meet our guest writers from the comfort of your own home. Each is Of The Moment in his or her individual way, whether it’s Professor Noam Chomksy reflecting on the uniqueness of this moment in human history or Rebecca Solnit talking about everything from the environment to feminism. We welcome President Joe Biden’s biographer and New Yorker writer Evan Osnos who will share some insights into why he believes that this President is well equipped to address this particular moment in the USA. Psychiatrist Professor Jim Lucey joins us to share with us ten powerful steps to maintaining balance and wellness in our daily lives, helping us achieve overall health and wellbeing, ready for the challenges life presents to us.
Books for many of us are a salve for the challenges we face and we celebrate great writer’s abilities to keep us afloat, sometimes lighting the way to a new path. We welcome Cathy Rentzenbrink to hear about Dear Reader, her joyous exploration of how books can change the course of a life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another. Maggie O’Farrell joins us to discuss one of the past year’s most widely read novels Hamnet which at its heart, is a book about grief and the means by which people find their way through it.
We can look forward to some dazzling debuts including Danielle McLaughlin’s After the Fall, Raven Leilani’s Luster, Una Mannion’s A Crooked Tree and Louise Kennedy’s much anticipated short story collection The End of The World is a Cul de Sac. We welcome new historical novels Life Sentences from Billy O’Callaghan and The Sunken Road from Ciaran McMenamin, both utterly gripping from the opening page. We’re planning events for family events too, so watch this space.
We have commissioned a very special episode of Books for Breakfast, Enda Wyley and Peter Sirr’s very popular podcast to open the festival, complete with Toaster Challenges and we will present film poems over the two days where poetry meets film making with some striking results. We welcome Treasured friends of the festival, and poets John McAuliffe and Martina Evans join us too. They will share some new work with us and reflect on life in post-Brexit Britain where they both live.
This is Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival’s very first ‘virtual’ festival and we hope to see everyone in person again in 2022. In the meantime, we hope that you will join us and enjoy everything that the festival has to offer as much as we look forward to your company – whether real or virtual.
So do join us, we’ll see you on a screen near you, very soon.