Saturday, 1 June 2013

Dublin Writers Festival

I spent a happy week volunteering at Dublin Writers Festival. I met lots of lovely people. Readers are such nice people, ready to chat and talk about books. Very patient queuers too, which was useful. Some queues I saw were way long.

First on Tuesday I went to the Jon Ronson event in the lovely theatre in Liberty Hall. The place was packed and the balcony was full too. Jon talked about investigative comedy. He tackles serious issues under the cover of comedy and talked about some of the situations he found himself in. Check out some of his clips on YouTube for a flavour and buy his newest book, Lost At Sea, which takes him from the Klu Klux Klan to LA drug barons to psychics. I have a theory that because he is a small, unassuming man in appearance, he can get away with a lot more than bigger guys as he does not come over as threatening.He was massively generous and patient with the huge queue to sign his books, talking to everyone who all came away with a big smile.

Thursday I went to Caitlin Moran, a hero of mine, hard core feminist and funny and irreverent, she says out loud many things I've thought for years, some of which I've never said out loud. The National Concert Hall was sold out, which with the chorus seats also open, is about 1,300 people, some of them were men too! Again, massively generous with her time at the signings and there must be loads of photos of her posing with her fans now, young and old.

Friday I went to see the Scottish poet Robin Robertson who was wonderfully dry and clever at Smock Alley, introduced by Paul Perry. I missed hearing Frank McGuinness but the reaction to his reading was very positive. I bought Robin Robertson's newest collection, The Wrecking Light, at the Gutterbookshop after. Check out his poem called A&E about going to hospital post heart surgery. Gruesom. I loe his sea poems too, the language is wonderful.

Saturday I went to an event in the Chester Beatty Library (love that building) talking about reading and sharing the reading experience with Christina Dwyer Hickey, Naomi Alderman and a very engaged audience.

After that Anthony Cronin's epic poem Titanic, first published more than fifty years ago, with musical colaboration by the traditional musician Donal Lunny. The music made the hair on your arms stand to attention. Great response from the audience at the United Reform Church.

On Sunday I had an early start at the GutterBookShop who had unfortunately started the day with a breakin and a visit from the guards. So I took some story books outside in the sunshine and read to the small group of children who came to storytime. We all enjoyed it immensely. One book we read was Where the Wild Things Are and I had kids roaring their terrible roars and rolling their terrible eyes fit to burst. I'd happily do it again and so would some of the other volunteers I talked to. So let's do that again!

Then hotfoot up to the Dublin Writers Centre to catch a chat with the indefatigable Programming Director Liam Browne talking to Thomas Keneally about one of his favourite books, Voss by Australian Laureate Patrick White.

Lastly a children's event in the Ark with writer Sally Gardner. A lovely lady but I felt she did not engage at all well with the children or their parents. Not every writer is a good speaker.

There were lots of events that I would like to have seen, Brownbreadmixtapes and others at the festival club, Rebecca Solnit, Tracey Thorne, The Faber Social and the Dennis O'Driscoll event at The Gate in particular.

Roll on next year. And find a slot for me to read, why don't you?

No comments: