22 - 25 February 2018

PARTICIPANTS 2018 (click profile pic for bio)

Sarah Breen
Kit de Waal
Billy Keane
Martha O'Brien
Dan Mooney
Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Philip Barrett
Lisa McInerney
Declan Shalvey
Kevin Barry
Blindboy Boatclub
Jana Fischerova
John MacKenna
Fergal Keane
Deirdre Sullivan
Lisa Harding
Pat Shortt
Roisin Meaney
Alice Kinsella


Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen created the Facebook page Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling which lead to them writing the novel of the same name. They originally conceived of the Aisling character when they shared a flat together in Stoneybatter. Observing certain traits, characteristics and quirks of a very particular type of Irish girl they recognised and identified with, they set up the Facebook page to gather their comical observations and it has since become a phenomenon, taking on a life its own. Like Aisling, both are ‘from down the country’.

Emer (@EmerTheScreamer) is a former Editor of The Daily Edge while Sarah(@SarahJayBee) is a Features Editor for The Gloss Magazine.

Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen will deliver the Limerick Literary Festival in honour of Kate O'Brien Key Note Lecture. They will present a conversation about their novel Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling. The lecture will be moderated, with the opportunity for the audience to ask questions at the end of the discussion.

Kate O'Brien lecture will take place at the Belltable at 2p.m, Sunday 25th February. Click here for tickets.



Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 60's and 70's. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017.

Kit de Waal will be at the Limerick City Gallery of Art at 10:30a.m, Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.



Billy Keane is a columnist with the Irish independent and has built a huge following over the 15 years he has been writing for the paper. Billy covers all the bases from his sports columns to life and general. His columns are usually humorous and at times acerbic but always entertaining.

Keane is the author of a highly acclaimed novel, The Last of The Heroes and he co- wrote Rucks Mauls and Gaelic Footballs with Moss Keane. Billy ghosted Billy Morgan's autobiography Rebel Rebel. His latest novel The Ballad of Mo and G was a best seller. Keane is a gifted communicator who sees humour in the strangest places. Billy runs the family pub John B Keane's in Listowel and had the honour of being the only bar ever to host Prime Time.

Billy Keane will be opening the festival at the Limerick City Gallery of Art at 6p.m, Friday 23rd February.. This is a free event.



Martha O'Brien is a Limerick-born mezzo-soprano studying under Sinead Campbell Wallace in the Conservatory of Music & Drama, where she received a First Class Honors BMus degree in vocal pedagogy and was awarded the Nuala Levins Trophy for Pedagogy.

In opera, Martha has played the role of Joacim in a staged production of Handel’s Susanna in Smock Alley Theatre as well as Cherubino in le nozze di Figaro, Zelatrice in Suor Angelica and JouJou in The Merry Widow. Martha recently performed in The Second Violinist by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh with Wide Open Opera at both the Galway International Arts Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival.

Other notable engagements include Opera Theatre Company's production of Don Giovanni with translation by Roddy Doyle and their revival of the 1907 Irish opera Eithne by Robert O'Dwyer. In June 2017, Martha contributed to Lyric Fm’s documentary “An Oriental Romance:Thomas Moore's Lalla Rookh with a recital of his lesser known work. In oratorio, performances include Handel's Messiah in Kilkenny Cathedral, Saint-Saens Oratorio de Noel & Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in St. Ann's Church and an Irish premiere of Mata Matsurrat's Requiem in St. Andrew's Church, Dublin. Martha has performed Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer in the John Field Room, NCH as well as a live broadcast with the RTE Symphony Orchestra for their DriveTime programme. In 2016, Martha participated as a Young Artist on the Boyne Music Festival Young Artist Programme, where she worked with Sophie Junker and Deirdre Brenner. Also in 2016, Martha was the winner of both the Showboat and Dermot Troy competitions in DIT and was part of the winning ensemble of the Veronica Dunne competition in the Feis Ceoil. She has had the privilege of singing in masterclasses with Patricia Bardon & Gidon Saks.

Martha is a vocal/pre-instrumental teacher in the Dublin School of Music as well as choral director for Twitterbugs children’s choir. Upcoming engagements include Irish National Opera’s inaugural production of The Marriage of Figaro and, also with INO, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman.

"As Music and Splendour" recital with Martha O'Brien will follow the official opening by Billy Keane at the Limerick City Gallery of Art, Friday 23rd February. Click here for tickets.



Dan Mooney is a writer, air traffic controller and amateur actor. His first novel Me, Myself and Them won the Luke Bitmead Bursary Award in 2016 and has since been bought by Harper Collin’s imprint Park Row books and is scheduled for publication the US this June.

His second novel A Rock and a High Place, a bleak comedy about suicide and friendship is due out in Ireland and the UK in April this year.

Through the City of Culture initiative in 2014 one of Dan’s screenplays, The Apparel made it to the festival circuit and national television under the mentorship of writer/director Gerry Stembridge.

Outside of writing Dan is active in the local drama community, performing with The Torch Players and The College Players in productions like Death of a Salesman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Constant Wife.

Dan, along with Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, will facilitate a workshop entitled ‘Getting a Novel Published - From Pitch to Publication’ at Narrative 4 from 11a.m to 1p.m on Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.



Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is an academic and a novelist, and this year at UL she has been Acting Course Director (autumn semester) for the MA in Creative Writing working in collaboration with Donal Ryan. Her first novel, Back to Blackbrick was published in 2013. A stage version has been presented at the Edinburgh Festival and at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End. Her second novel, The Apple Tart of Hope, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize and the CBI Book of the Year Award and received a Kirkus star having been published in the USA in 2015. Sarah is also winner of the 2016 Irish Writers’ Centre’s Jack Harte Award.

She has researched extensively on the writing process across a range of contexts and has designed and run writers’ retreats in Ireland, the UK and the USA. With Donal Ryan, Joseph O’Connor, Giles Foden, Eoin Devereux, Mary O’Malley, and others she is part of the team that delivers the annual UL Frank McCourt Creative Writing Summer School. She holds an award for excellence in teaching, and has worked to develop a particular focus on fostering strategies for self-aware writing habits and on ways of making space and time to write. She has recently completed her fourth novel, which will be published in March 2018. As a full time academic and parent of teenagers she writes fiction only under cover of darkness and she loves to support emerging writers sharing key ideas on how to manage time for creative writing in the context of a busy life.

Sarah, along with Dan Mooney, will facilitate a workshop entitled ‘Getting a Novel Published - From Pitch to Publication’ at Narrative 4 from 11a.m to 1p.m on Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.



Philip Barrett is an illustrator, designer and comic artist originally from Co. Donegal and currently based in Galway. In 2012 he illustrated the O’Brien press children’s book best-seller Where’s Larry? and in 2016 illustrated the follow-up Where’s Larry This Time?. His illustrations and comics have appeared in publications as diverse as the Irish Times and Rabble.

He has been self-publishing his comic Matter since 2001 and has contributed to numerous anthologies. Philip set up Blackshapes Books in 2014 to publish longer form graphic novel work of which to date he has published John Robbins Unlucky Unlikely and his own collection of comics In Bits.

Philip specialises in live-drawing and has provided illustrated reports at events for Google, TEDx Dublin, IRDG, the National Museum of Ireland and the Dublin Writers Festival among others. In association with his video partner he has produced numerous hand-drawn ‘televisualisation’ education and informational videos for clients such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scottish Social Services and Cancer Research UK.

Philip Barrett will partake in a graphic novel event at Ormston House from 3p.m to 5p.m on Saturday 24th February. This is a free event.



Lisa McInerney was born in 1981 and just about grew up to be a writer of contemporary fiction.

Formerly an award-winning blogger, her work has featured in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, Granta and BBC Radio 4 and in the anthologies The Long Gaze Back (New Island), Beyond The Centre (New Island) and Town and Country (Faber).

Her debut novel The Glorious Heresies (John Murray) was published in 2015 and explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland's twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family. The Glorious Heresies won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize. It was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award, longlisted for the 2016 Dylan Thomas Award, and named as a book of the year by The Irish Times, Sunday Independent and Sunday Business Post. It has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Czech, Serbian, Polish and Danish.

Lisa’s second novel, The Blood Miracles, was published by John Murray in April of 2017. She is currently a contributing editor at The Stinging Fly. Lisa is represented by Ivan Mulcahy of MMB Creative.

Lisa McInerney will be at the Limerick City Gallery of Art at 3p.m, Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.



Declan Shalvey is an Irish artist best known from his work on the MOON KNIGHT relaunch with Writer Warren Ellis for Marvel Comics. He has worked on many other series for Marvel such as VENOM and DEADPOOL as well as work with other publishers such as CONAN for Dark Horse Comics and NORTHLANDERS for DC/Vertigo.

Declan Shalvey will partake in a graphic novel event at Ormston House from 3p.m to 5p.m on Saturday 24th February. This is a free event.



Kevin Barry is the author of the novels Beatlebone and City Of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies The Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. His awards include the IMPAC Dublin City Literary Award, the Goldsmith’s Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize and the European Union Prize for Literature. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker and Granta and many other journals. His work has been translated into 16 languages. He also writes screenplays, plays and radio plays. His play Autumn Royal tours in 2018, while his first feature film, Dark Lies The Island, is also due out. He lives in County Sligo.

Kevin Barry will be at the Limerick City Gallery of Art at 2p.m, Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.

In association with Limerick Spring and Limerick Literary Festival, Kevin will also host with Blindboy Boatclub, an evening of readings and conversations in Dolans Warehouse. 7:30p.m - 9:30p.m, Saturday 24th February. SOLD OUT.



Blindboy Boatclub is Ireland's foremost satirist and most original comic voice. As one half of the Rubberbandits, pioneers of the aesthetic movement 'Gas C*ntism', he has released numerous hit singles, represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale, headlined the Globe theatre and garnered critical acclaim from all corners of the theatre and comedy worlds. Hit singles include 'Horse Outside' and 'Spastic Hawk' and popular television shows include The Rubberbandits' Guide and the Almost Impossible Game Show. Blindboy also campaigns in support of a variety of social issues, including male mental health.

His collection of short stories, Gospel According to Blindboy has recently been published on Gill Books.

In association with Limerick Spring and Limerick Literary Festival, Blindboy will host with Kevin Barry, an evening of readings and conversations in Dolans Warehouse. 7:30p.m - 9:30p.m, Saturday 24th February. SOLD OUT



Jana Fischerova holds a PhD in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from University College Dublin. Her work has been largely comparative. Her research interests include twentieth-century writing, mainly Irish and Czech, but also British and (Soviet) Russian. She is particularly interested in the relationship between literature and society, and in the subject of literary censorship. Jana is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin, and she also teaches English and Irish literature on the Access and Lifelong Learning programme at University College Dublin. She is currently editing a volume of Kate O’Brien’s essays and journalism.

Jana Fischerova will give a talk entitled The Prohibition of Mary Lavelle as a Turning Point in Kate O’Brien’s Career at the Belltable at 11:00am, Sunday February 25th. Click here for tickets.



John MacKenna is the author of nineteen books - novels, short-story collections; poems; memoir; biography and children's books. He has also written a dozen plays for stage and radio. A native of Co Kildare, he was educated at St Clement's College Limerick and UCD. Having taught for a number of years he worked as a senior producer and presenter in RTE for twenty-three years. He currently teaches creative writing at NUI Maynooth. He is a winner of the Irish Times, Hennessy and C Day Lewis Awards as well as a Jacobs Radio Award for his documentaries with Leonard Cohen. His most recent publication is Once We Sang Like Other Men (New Island)

John MacKenna will be at the Limerick City Gallery of Art at 4p.m, Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.



Fergal Keane was born in London and educated in Ireland. He is one of the BBC's most distinguished correspondents and an award-winning broadcaster and author. He has reported for the corporation from Northern Ireland, South Africa, Asia and the Balkans. He has been awarded a BAFTA, been named reporter of the year on television and radio, winning honours from the Royal Television Society and the Sony Radio Awards, most recently for his Radio 4 series Taking a Stand. Keane has won the George Orwell prize for literature, the James Cameron Prize and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the US Overseas Press Association. He is the author of a number of bestselling books including Letter to Daniel and his memoir All of These People.

Fergal Keane will be at the Limerick City Gallery of Art at 12p.m, Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.



Deirdre Sullivan is from Galway now living in Dublin and working as a teacher. She has established a reputation as a leading Irish YA author following her hugely praised Tangleweed and Brine, which won the YA Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2017. Her previous novel, Needlework, won the Honour Award for Fiction at the Children’s Books Ireland Awards and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2016. Her Primrose Leary series was also widely acclaimed; two of the Prim books were shortlisted for the Children’s Books Ireland awards; and the final one, Primperfect, was also shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature.

Deirdre Sullivan will be at the Limerick City Gallery of Art at 9:30a.m, Saturday 24th February. Click here for tickets.



Lisa Harding is an actress, playwright and writer. She has performed at the Abbey, the Gate, the Lyric theatres among others and on RTE, playing Connie in Fair City. She completed an MPhil in creative writing at Trinity College Dublin in 2014. Her short story Counting Down was a winner in the inaugural Doolin Writer’s Prize in 2013. Other stories have been published in The Dublin Review, Bath Short Story Award Anthology and Headstuff. Plays have been workshopped at The National Theatre, London and performed at Theatre503, Battersea Arts Centre and The Project Arts Centre. She has just been awarded an Arts Council Bursary for her second novel, Overspill.

Harvesting is her first critically acclaimed novel and there is strong interest from a bafta-award winning film director in adapting it for screen. It tells the story of two young teenage girls: one from Moldova and one from Dublin who get caught up in the underworld of sex trafficking in Dublin. It was nominated for best newcomer at the Irish Book Awards, shortlisted for the Kate O’Brien award and was chosen as a Unesco Dublin city of literature pick of 2017. It has just been picked up by one of France’s leading publishing houses, Gallimard Press in Paris.

Lisa Harding will take part, along with Roisin Meaney and Pat Shortt, in the Desert Island Books Event at the Belltable at 12:00p.m, Sunday 25th February. Click here for tickets.



Pat Shortt is an Irish actor, comedian, writer and entertainer.

Pat started in comedy when he left Art College. With Jon Kenny he created ‘D’Unbelievables’, Ireland’s most popular comedy duo. Together they performed their unique brand of comedy in theatres all over Ireland, Great Britain and The United States as well as various countries across Europe. They produced four critically acclaimed and sell-out shows as well as writing and producing chart-topping Videos. As a solo artist Pat’s first show was a sell-out. Called simply Pat Shortt Live it played more than 250 dates around Ireland. His second show “You Won’t Get Away With That Here” achieved equal success selling out shows all over the country.

An actor of note, Pat has appeared with Druid Theatre Company in their production of Martin McDonagh’s The Lonesome West. Movie titles include, Angela Mooney Dies Again (1996), This Is My Father (1998), Wild about Harry (2000), Saltwater (2000), Mapmaker (2001) Man About Dog (2004), Rory O’Shea Was Here (2004), Garage (2007), Strength and Honour (2007), Spacemen Three (2008), Soul Boy (2010), The Guard (2011), Breakfast Wine (2013), Life’s a Breeze (2013), Calvary (2014) and The Flag (2016). Television credits include, Father Ted (1995-6), The Fitz (2000), Killinaskully (2003-8), Mattie (2009–11), Moone Boy (2014) and Smalltown (2016).

Pat Shortt will take part, along with Roisin Meaney and Lisa Harding, in the Desert Island Books Event at the Belltable at 12:00p.m, Sunday 25th February. Click here for tickets.



Roisin Meaney was born in Listowel, Co. Kerry. She has lived in England, Africa and the USA; she now lives in Limerick. She began writing in 2001 and her first novel, The Daisy Picker, won a Write a Bestseller competition and was published in 2004. Since then she has become the author of several bestselling novels, including Two Fridays in April, After The Wedding, The Last Week of May, Love in the Making and One Summer, as well as several books for children. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, German and Italian.

Roisin Meaney will take part, along with Pat Shortt and Lisa Harding, in the Desert Island Books Event at the Belltable at 12:00p.m, Sunday 25th February. Click here for tickets.



Alice Kinsella was born in Dublin and raised in Mayo. She was educated in Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway.

Her poetry has appeared at home and abroad, in publications such as A New Ulster, Banshee Lit, Boyne Berries, Headspace Magazine, Hungry Hills Wild Atlantic Words Anthology, Icarus, Lagan Online, Live Encounters Magazine, Poethead, Poetry NI Holocaust Memorial Anthology, Skylight47, The Fem literary magazine, The Galway Review, The Irish Times, The Lonely Crowd, The Ofi Press, The Pickled Body, The Rochford Street Review, The Stony Thursday Book, and The Sunday Independent.

Her work has been listed for several competitions including Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition 2016, Jonathan Swift Awards 2016, and Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Competition 2017.

In 2016 she was the Assistant Editor of Looking at the Stars, a limited edition anthology of Irish writing edited by Kerrie O'Brien to raise money for the Rough Sleeper Team of the Dublin Simon Community.

Her debut play The Passing was staged as a part of What’s the Story at the Liberties Festival 2016. It went on to be performed at Cruthú Arts Festival and Temple Bar Culture and Arts Festival in the same year. The Passing was also performed as a part of Little Shadow Theatre’s New Irish Playbook in May 2017.

She was SICCDA Liberties Festival writer in residence for 2017 and received a John Hewitt bursary in the same year.

Her first collection, Flower Press is forthcoming on February 22nd 2018 by The Onslaught Press.

Poetry Readings by Alice Kinsella, from her new debut collection Flower Press will take place at The Granary, Limerick City Library at 11:00a.m, Friday 23rd February. This is a free event.