Writing And Ideas At Borris House In Carlow


The lovely Borris House in Co Carlow is once more to be the backdrop for a wonderful variety of literary, cultural and journalistic discussions. The ‘Festival of Writing and Ideas’ will run over the weekend of the 14th and 15th June. It is part of the Carlow Arts Festival, though it is run independently of it and is curated by Vivienne Guinness, Eleanor O’Keeffe, Catherine Heaney and Hugo Jellett. I was also interested to note that they put all of this together without Arts Council Funding which is a great achievement.

I’ve been looking through the programme to see what’s on offer this year and I discovered what is generally known as an ‘All Star Line Up’ which makes visitors to the festival spoilt for choice. If you buy a day ticket for either Saturday or Sunday (35e) which is excellent value then you can go along to any or all of the events or if you prefer, tickets are available to buy individually.

The two day programme is packed with both Irish and international luminaries of the literary and cultural world. I’ve picked out a few from Saturday’s programme to give an idea of what’s on but do take a look at the full line-up on the festival web site. The event begins at noon with a discussion between journalist Mariella Frostrup and John Banville about his ‘double life’. Banville’s other life as crime writer Benjamin Black should provide an interesting topic. Later in the day, Mariella Frostrup will be the one in the hot spot, when Sinead Gleeson asks her about her role of weekly Agony Aunt in the Observer magazine.

Before that, Sinead Gleeson gets to talk to one of the stars of the now classic Blackadder, Tim McInnery about the series and what he did next (according to the blurb it involves Irish Wolfhounds which sounds intriguing). Family collaboration is the focus of an event in which father/daughter team Katrine and John Boorman talk about working together. Their recent collaboration Queen and Country came about as a result of  Katrine Boorman’s documentary about her father’s work in 2012.

Saturday also sees a book launch (a free event) held in the Bookshop tent. Roy Foster will be launching a new edition of essays, The Appleman and the Poet by Hubert Butler (1900-91) and giving a short talk about the author and his work. John Banville has said of Butler that he was ‘… one of the great essayists in the English language, the peer of Hazlitt, Robert Louis Stevenson and George Orwell’. On Saturday afternoon and free (to holders of tickets for any event) will be a pop-up dram a event performed by members of Carlow Little Theatre Society. The ten-minute piece will be Day of Reckoning by Barry McKinley.

There will be much more to see over the weekend. Sunday’s events include discussions with Joseph O’Connor and Donal Ryan and poetry from Ruth Padel. ‘Soundings Holy Trinity’ will feature music and words hosted by Lisa Hannigan and Dylan Haskins. It sounds like a great way to spend a weekend and in a splendid location too. Now all we need is the weather so we can have a picnic. Talking of good weather, an event camping option is available this year and you can email for details and reservations.

For more information: http://festivalofwritingandideas.com/ and on Twitter @Writingandideas

Image courtesy of festivalofwritingandideas.com



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