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Keenan and McCarthy guests at Rostrevor literary festival

Authors and former Beirut hostages Brian Keenan and John McCarthy will be guests at Rostrevor Literary Festival on November 26

AUTHORS and former brothers in captivity Brian Keenan and John McCarthy are among noteworthy names on the bill of the inaugural Rostrevor Literary Festival, which takes place next week.

Located at the foot of Slieve Martin, overlooking Carlingford Lough and with views of both the Mournes and the Cooley Mountains, the setting could hardly be more dramatic. And although the festival is a first for the Co Down village, Rostrevor has some notable literary associations, with CS Lewis having considered it "my idea of Narnia" – there's a Narnia trail in Rostrevor's wonderfully scenic Kilbroney Park – and James Joyce having name-checked it in Ulysses.

Kilbroney Integrated Primary School plays host to the festival which brings together a diverse range of authors and poets. The morning programme, to be chaired by folk singer Tommy Sands and broadcaster Denis Tuohy, will will have a Middle East theme. Special guests are former Beirut hostages Keenan, whose books include An Evil Cradling, and McCarthy author of You Can't Hide The Sun: A Journey Through Palestine.

The afternoon poetry session will be opened by Belfast writer Ciaran Carson, author of nine books of poetry and four prose works, and the winner of several major awards. Other poets appearing will be award-winnning Newtownards woman Moyra Donaldson, whose collections include Snakeskin Stilettos, Beneath The Ice, and The Horse's Nest, and Csilla Toldy, a Hungarian-born writer resident in Rostrevor whose writing has won awards in her home country and in the United States.

Also appearing in the afternoon session is author, management consultant and peace campaigner Tony Macaulay, whose books include the memoirs Paperboy and Breadboy, about growing up in Troubles-era Belfast.

:: Rostrevor Literary Festival; Saturday November 26, 10am-5pm. This a free one-day event. For more details see the Rostrevor Literary Festival Facebook page.

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