Bill Whelan is a composer for theatre, film and orchestra. His 1997 Grammy Award winning music Riverdance continues to be performed around the world. The show embarked on a 25th anniversary tour of the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom last year. To date, 22 million people have seen Riverdance The Show live. As a producer in the studio he has worked with U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, Richard Harris, The Dubliners, Planxty, Andy Irvine, Davy Spillane and Bulgarian/Irish band, East Wind. His music for film includes scores for Dancing At Lughansa starring Meryl Streep, Some Mother's Son featuring Helen Mirren and Lamb with Liam Neeson. Bill is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and holds two honorary doctorates and is a member of Aosdana. He recently released his memoir The Road to Riverdance. He is an Honorary Freeman of the City of Limerick, where he was born.
Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual writer. Written on the rooftop of a free car-park in Cork, her prose debut A Ghost in the Throat went on to be described as "powerful" (New York Times) and "captivatingly original" (The Guardian). It won the James Tait Black Prize and Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, while the US edition was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book of 2021. Doireann is also author of six critically-acclaimed books of poetry, each a deepening exploration of birth, death, desire, and domesticity.

Photo credit: Brid O'Donovan
Maylis Besserie was born in Bordeaux and now lives in Paris. She works as a producer for the radio channel France Culture. Besserie's connection with Ireland started when her family sent her to spend summers in Cork. Yell, Sam, If You Still Can (Le Tiers Temps) was her first novel and won Le Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, 2020. Scattered Love (Les amours dispersées) recounts the end of days of William Butler Yeats and will be published in translation by Lilliput in June 2023. Photo credit: Francesca Mantovani / Editions Gallimard

Donal Ryan, from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, is the author of six novels and a short story collection. He has won several awards for his fiction, including the European Union Prize for Literature, the Guardian First Book Award and four Irish Book Awards, and has been shortlisted for several more, including the Costa Book Award and the Dublin International Literary Award. He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2013 for his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, and again in 2018, for his fourth novel, From A Low and Quiet Sea. In 2021 he became the first Irish writer to be awarded the Jean Monnet Prize for European Literature. His work has been adapted for stage and screen and translated into over twenty languages. His seventh book, The Queen of Dirt Island, was published by Doubleday in August 2022 and was an instant number one bestseller. A law graduate and former civil servant, Donal has lectured in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick since 2014 and lives in Castletroy with his wife Anne Marie and their two children.

Claire-Louise Bennett grew up in Wiltshire in the southwest of England. After studying literature and drama at the University of Roehampton in London, she settled in Galway. She is the author of Pond and Checkout 19. Her fiction and essays have appeared in many publications, including Harpers, the New Yorker, The White Review, Granta, and Frieze. She is currently a Beckett Creative Fellow at the University of Reading.

Photo credit: Mark Walsh

Poet and academic Sean Hewitt was born in 1990 in Warrington, UK. His debut collection of poetry, Tongues of Fire (Jonathan Cape, 2020) won The Laurel Prize in 2021, and was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Dalkey Literary Award and the John Pollard International Poetry Award. His memoir, All Down Darkness Wide (Jonathan Cape, 2022) won The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2022, and was shortlisted for Biography of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, and for Foyles' Book of the Year in Non-Fiction. He lives in Dublin.
Casey King is an Irish crime writer from Co. Cork. Her debut novel, Grave Deceit, a female-led gritty gangland thriller set in Dublin, is due for release in Spring 2023. With a Diploma in Policing Studies, Casey is often the first call for fellow crime writers when including police procedure in their best-selling and award-winning novels. Throughout her career in the Irish police force, she has worked on numerous gangland operations, drug investigations, and has held various other roles. As well as completing a H Dip in Coaching/Coaching Psychology at University College Cork, she's also fully qualified Mindfulness Based Wellbeing Teacher. Casey loves motivating those who have the will and potential to write; there is always a way.
Clíona Ní Ríordáin is Professor of English at the University Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, where she teaches Irish literature and translation studies and convenes the Master's programme in Irish Studies. Among her publications are the anthology Jeune Poesie d'Irlande-Les poetes du Munster (Illador, 2015) with Paul Bensimon and a volume of essays, Memoranda to MacNeice (PUR) with Anne Goarzin. Her most recent book is English Language Poets in University College Cork 1970-1980 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Photo credit: Conor Horgan
Kay is Editor of the RTE Radio 1's arts and culture show, Arena which is presented by Sean Rocks. She also reports on arts events, is an entertainment reviewer for the Brendan O'Connor show and occasionally steps into the presenter role on Arena. She has worked in RTE since the mid 1990s, working as producer on Today with Pat Kenny, Tonight with Vincent Browne and Saturday with Claire Byrne. Kay was the Co-Ordinator of RTE's 1916/2016 centenary commemoration. Along with her love of the arts, Kay enjoys all sports, particularly Limerick hurling.

Niall MacMonagle, teacher, critic and journalist hasedited several anthologies including the Leaving Certificate textbook Poetry Now, TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader, the Lifelines anthologies and Windharp: Poems of Ireland since 1916. He writes a weekly art column for the Sunday Independent and was awarded a Doctorate of Letters, honoris causa, by UCD, for services to Literature.

Founder and Artistic Director of Opera Workshop, Shirley has had training in both theatre and opera, at Rose Bruford College, Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, London. Shows created and produced for Opera Workshop include The Countess' Salon, Opera What The Fuss!, The Trouble with Virtue, Abandoned at Limerick's Sailor's Home and No 2 Pery Square by Fiona Linnane. Most recently Shirley produced and directed Twisted Tales for Opera Workshop. The production of short, edgy contemporary operas by Fiona Linnane and Luke Byrne, ran at The Coach House, No 2 Pery Square in October 2022. She has worked as a performer, director, teacher and mentor with companies as diverse as Opera Theatre Co., Opera Holland Park, Basingstoke Haymarket Theatre, Glyndebourne Opera, Live Music Now, Accademia Solti Te Kanawa, Half Moon Young People's Theatre Co., and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Shirley was also engaged on the Women's Conducting Programme at the National Concert Hall, led by conductor Alice Farnham. Shirley enjoys regular cover presenter time on RTE lyric fm.
Fiona Linnane is a composer, based in Limerick, specialising in opera and vocal music. She is director of Limerick New Music Ensemble and represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin. Recent work includes three new pieces for choir Bog Wish and Peat (for Ancor Chamber Choir, Limerick), Stolen Song (for The Plurabelles Girls' Choir, Dublin) and Clean Air (for NUIG Alumni Ensemble, Galway) supported by an Arts Council of Ireland Music Bursary Award in 2022. In 2021 she completed the opera No.2 Pery Square a site responsive work devised in collaboration with, and commissioned by, Limerick based opera production company Opera Workshop. The Limerick City and County Council awarded her with Individual Arts Bursaries in 2018 and 2019, for work in opera and art song, including adding to her award winning song cycle with poet Mary Coll, Songs for Kate O'Brien. Linnane is widely sought after for her work in arts in education. Her work has twice been recipient of the Arts in Education Documentation Award and she has undertaken training at European level through participation in the International Teacher Artist Partnership Professional Development (I-TAP-PD)

Emilie Pine is Professor of Modern Drama in the School of English, Drama and Film in University College Dublin. She has published widely as an academic and critic and is the author of the award-winning essay collection, Notes to Self, which has been translated into fifteen languages. Her most recent book is the novel, Ruth & Pen, which tells the stories of two women on a single day.

Photo credit: Ruth Connolly

Sheila Armstrong is a writer from the northwest of Ireland. She spent ten years in publishing and now works as a freelance editor. Her first collection of short stories, How To Gut A Fish, was published in 2022 and her debut novel, Falling Animals, will follow in 2023.

Olivia Fitzsimons is from Northern Ireland now living in County Wicklow with her husband and two children. Her writing has been awarded Literature Bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, and a Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris/Literature Ireland Residency. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, The Cormorant, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The Quiet Whispers Never Stop, is her debut novel, and was shortlisted for the 2022 Butler Literary Award.

Maggie is both a literary scholar and a qualitative researcher. She has published widely in twentieth century and contemporary fiction, including articles on Kate O'Brien in the Irish University Review, the journal Nordic Irish Studies, and the collection Irish Urban Fictions. She has contributed to several interdisciplinary research projects, including ReStorying Ageing: Older Women and Life Writing, and Mascage: Representations of Masculinities and Ageing in Contemporary European Literatures and Cinemas. She received a PhD in English from Maynooth University before spending 10 years lecturing and researching in other institutions including the University of Limerick, and is now a researcher in the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at the University of Galway.
Emily Cullen is the Meskell UL-Fifty Poet in Residence at the University of Limerick where she lectures on the MA in Creative Writing. She has published three collections of poetry: Conditional Perfect (Doire Press, 2019), In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013) and No Vague Utopia (Ainnir Publishing, 2003). Conditional Perfect (Doire Press, 2019), was included in The Irish Times round-up of "the best new poetry of 2019." Emily, who gained a PhD in English in 2008, is also a cultural producer and harper who has performed throughout Europe, Australia and the United States, and recorded on a number of albums. Emily has served as Director of the Patrick Kavanagh Centenary (2004) and Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature (2017-2019).
Zoe Conway and John McIntyre are a husband and wife folk duo known for their exciting blend of eclectic fiddle and guitar music. Zoe and John bring to the stage sympathetic arrangements of traditional Irish music, compositions and songs, old and new. They possess a rare facility to draw pieces into their repertoire from other genres such as classical, jazz and world music and express this material in way which not only displays the sheer range and knowledge of both instrumentalists but also exhibits the wonderful versatility of their instruments. Described as "simply one of the best folk duos on the planet" (BBC), they have released two recordings to date, have toured worldwide and have performed for dignitaries including Irish Presidents Mary Mc Aleese and Michael D. Higgins.  
Limerick native ​​Dermot Whelan is a Radio and TV Presenter, Author, Comedian, and Meditation Expert. Dermot co-presents the hugely popular weekday Dermot and Dave Show on Today FM. He has won "Best Music Presenter" for 2020, 2021 and 2022 at the annual IMRO Radio Awards.


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