Rostrevor Literary Festival returns for 2019 with Irish language theme

Linda Ervine will take part in a discussion on the Irish language at this year's Rostrevor Literary Festival. Picture by Mal McCann
Linda Ervine will take part in a discussion on the Irish language at this year's Rostrevor Literary Festival. Picture by Mal McCann

THE fourth annual Rostrevor Literary Festival gets underway this Saturday, bringing together a diverse range of writers and poets in Co Down.

The free festival gets underway at 9.30am and will feature a roundtable discussion on this year's special theme 'the Irish language crossing the divide' at the festival's base, An Cuan on Shore Road.

Chaired by broadcaster, journalist and columnist Poilin Ni Chiarain, participants will include east Belfast language rights activist Linda Ervine, Newy-based Irish language voluntary teacher Seamus Mac Dhaibheid and poet, theologian and mediator Padraig O Tuama.

There will also be a reading and talk by Irish poet Paula Meehan, Ireland Professor of Poetry 2013 to 2016. Dublin-born Paula is one of our best known female poets, with her work garnering both popular and critical acclaim and translated into many languages across the world.

Lead festival organiser William Graham said: "This is another exciting year for Rostrevor Literary Festival, including the Irish language discussion.

"The overall programme represents something which the Rostrevor Festival has set out to do from the get-go, a kind of diverse collection, somewhat off-beat and alternative to other festivals in the land.

"Listening to these writers and poets, I hope, opens a literary window that in essence depicts life here and there.''

Saturday evening's programme will feature readings by the writers of the WomenAloud Community Group at Crawford's Bar, Rostrevor, at 8pm. On Sunday November 24, novelist Heather Richardson will host a workshop at An Cuan on writing historical fiction from 2pm to 4pm.

While the Rostrevor Literary Festival is a free event with no advance booking required, numbers are limited for the writing workshop: those interested in taking part are advised to contact csillatoldy@yahoo.co.uk as soon as possible to ensure their place.

Other Rostrevor Literary Festival guests include; Orla McAlinden, originally from Portadown, a Pushcart Prize nominee, Cecil Day Lewis emerging writer 2016 and the winner of the BGEIBA Irish short story; Internationally published Hungarian poet Csilla Toldy, who lives in Rostrevor and will launch her new short story collection Angel Fur; Belfast novelist David Park, whose latest novel Travelling in a Strange Land won the 2019 Kerry Group Irish Novel of The Year; Misha Glenny, a multiple award-winning writer, broadcaster and keynote speaker whose best-seller McMafia became a major drama series by the BBC and AMC; Veteran traditional musician Nigel Boullier from Bangor, whose book project Handed Down covers the east and centre of Co Down, the fiddle music and local dances.

:: Visit the Rostrevor Literary Festival page on Facebook.com for full programme details and latest updates