Arts

Northern writers, musicians and painters to take part in world's biggest Irish festival

Armagh novelist John McAllister will be talking about his Sergeant Barlow books at the Milwaukee Irish Fest in August Picture: Arthur Gibson

IT BILLS itself as the biggest celebration of Irish/Celtic culture in the world and Armagh writer John McAllister will be heading to the Milwaukee Irish Fest on the shores of Lake Michigan later this summer to share his craft.

The creator of the popular Sergeant Barlow trilogy of novels about a policeman in Ballymena in the 1960s, McAllister is to give a talk about his writing in The Hedge School festival event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's largest city.

The festival takes place from August 16-19 this year and is expected to attract more than 120,000 visitors.

"This is the biggest event I have been asked to speak at and I will be talking to them about the last book in the series, Barlow Laid Bare," said McAllister.

"After Milwaukee, I will be heading to Gatlinburg in Tennessee to do research for my new American novel which has been supported by an Arts Council grant."

Apart from McAllister's writing tutorial, the north of the island will be represented by former Belfast singer/songwriter Seamus Kennedy who has lived and worked in the US for nearly 30 years.

Other northerners talking part are The Bogside Artists – consisting of muralists Tom Kelly and brothers William and Kevin Hasson – who depict key event of the Troubles in their collection, The People's Gallery.

Folk pop group, The Screaming Sisters – Joan, Angela, Gráinne and Marie Thérèse Diver – from Bundoran in Co Donegal will be also be performing.

Appearing alongside Irish-American singers, dancers and bands will be original founding Wolfe Tones member Derek Warfield with his group The Young Wolf Tones.

The mandolin player composed and recorded over 60 ballads and songs over the years and now tours Ireland, Europe and the States with his five-piece band.

Chart-topping Dublin-and-London-based Irish rock band The Coronas, who begin touring next month, are scheduled to play three gigs at the festival.

:: For more see irishfest.com

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