List of confirmed 2017 festival contributors (so far…)

Cecelia Ahern, novelist.

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. At twenty-one, she wrote her first novel PS, I Love You, which was sold to forty-seven countries. The film of the same title, starred Hilary Swank in the leading role. PS, I Love You was one of the biggest-selling debut novels of 2004, reaching number 1 in Ireland and in the UK Sunday Times bestseller list. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and her novels have sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series, including the Emmy award winning ABC comedy series, Samantha Who?.  She and her books have won numerous awards, including the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You.

Richard Blanco, poet.

Born on February 15, 1968, in Madrid, Spain, Richard Blanco, of Cuban heritage, immigrated to the United States and eventually worked as a civil engineer. He turned to writing and studying poetry and has become an award-winning author with books like City of a Hundred Fires and Directions to the Beach of the Dead. Blanco is America’s fifth inaugural poet, writing for President Barack Obama’s 2013 ceremony. He’s also the first Latino, first immigrant, first openly gay and youngest person to be the inaugural poet for the United States.

Mary Lawson, novelist.

Crow Lake, her first novel, published when Lawson was 55, sold in 25 countries. It spent 75 weeks on the bestseller list in Canada, won the First Novel Award, was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by the New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail. The Other Side of the Bridge, her second novel, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and was a Richard and Judy Summer Read in the UK. Her latest novel, Road Ends, has been recently published to critical acclaim and is a finalist for the Folio Prize.

Mike McCormack, novelist.

Recent winner of the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize for Fiction for his third novel Solar Bones, Mike McCormack is an award-winning novelist and short story writer from Mayo. His previous work includes Getting it in the Head (1995), Notes from a Coma (2005), which was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award, and Forensic Songs (2012). In 1996 he was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and in 2007 he was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship.

Francesca Melandri, Italian novelist.

Francesca Melandri was born in Rome in 1964. She started writing very young, working first as a screenwriter, and has worked on films and television series, as well as a number of prize winning documentaries. In 2010 she published her first novel, Eva dorme (Eva sleeps), set in the border regions of Northern Italy and Austria, a sweeping story about family, forgiveness, conflict and the search for truth. The novel, which won several literary prizes in 2010 and 2011, has been translated in German, Dutch, French and English. Her second novel, Più alto del mare, was published in 2012 and it has also won several literary prizes.

Christopher Lloyd, world history author, educationalist.

Christopher Lloyd (born 1 April 1968) is a historian, educationalist and author, best known for his sweeping narratives on big history (the history of the world). He is the author of the best selling book What on Earth Happened: The Complete Story of the Planet (Bloomsbury, 2008), which has sold 500,000 copies.

Eoin Devereux, Professor in Sociology, UL.

Eoin Devereux is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Eoin’s books include ‘Understanding the Media 3rd edition (Sage, 2014) a textbook for undergraduate media students, and an edited collection called Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates (Sage, 2007). Both are published by Sage – London.

Thomas Pakenham, historian.

Thomas Pakenham is a historian, arborist and author who wrote the critically acclaimed The Scramble for Africa, which won the WH Smith Award and the Alan Paton Award. He is also the author of The Boer War, The Mountains of Rasselas (Orion, 1998) and The Year of Liberty (Orion, 1997). Thomas is the chairman of the Irish Tree Society, and loves planting trees for both profit and decoration. His latest book The Company of Trees: A Year in a Lifetime’s Quest, is published by Weidenfeld (September 2015). Thomas lives in County Westmeath, Ireland, with his wife.

Doireann Ni Ghriofa, poet.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual writer working both in Irish and English. She frequently participates in cross-disciplinary collaborations, fusing poetry with film, dance, music, and visual art. Awards for her writing include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Michael Hartnett Prize, the Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary and a Wigtown Award for Gaelic poetry (Scotland). Her third book Clasp was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Award 2016. She writes “with tenderness and unflinching curiosity” (Poetry Magazine, Chicago).

Olivia O’Leary, journalist.

A familiar face on our screens and voice on our radio and in our newspapers over the last thirty years, we know Olivia O’Leary from RTÉ’s Prime Time and its predecessor Today Tonight, from the BBC’s Newsnight and from BBC Radio 4’s Between Ourselves. Her broadcasting career is interlaced with her journalistic career with The Irish Times and The Sunday Tribune. Most recently she was back on RTÉ with Later with O’Leary and on radio with In My Life and her slot on Five-Seven Live.

Bill Whelan, musician.

Renowned composer, producer and arranger Bill Whelan has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. His grammy winning album of music for Riverdance The Show is certified Platinum in the US, Ireland and Australia. His orchestral work, The Seville Suite was specially commissioned for Expo ’92. The Spirit Of Mayo, was first performed in 1993 by and 85-piece orchestra in Dublin’s National Concert Hall. As a producer he has worked with U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, Richard Harris, The Dubliners, Planxty, Andy Irvine, Patrick Street, Stockton’s Wing, Davy Spillane and Bulgarian/Irish band, East Wind.

Liz Nolan, broadcaster.

Liz Nolan hails from Dublin, and trained in voice, oboe and piano at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Following a degree in English literature (TCD Hons.) and M.Phil. in Music (DIT/TCD), Liz was appointed academic lecturer and singing teacher at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.  A Diploma in Arts Administration (UCD) led to Liz’s appointment as Education & Outreach Officer at the Association of Irish Choirs. In 2001 RTÉ lyric fm beckoned, where Liz has presented a wealth of key shows including Classic Drive, A World of Song and Lunchtime Classics, alongside numerous acclaimed arts features. She now presents Liz Nolan’s Lyric Notes, 10-12pm on 96-99 RTÉ lyric fm.





limerick literary festival