Saturday, September 3, 2011

MOUNTAINS TO SEA dlr FESTIVAL OF BOOKS

As I write this, Dunlaoghaire's Mountains to Sea Festival of Books (www.mountainsto sea.ie) is in full swing. This is its third year and it goes from strength to strength. The fact that it's a festival of books rather than the more usual writers is intriguing, and some of the most revered authors of the present time are reading from their latest works and discussing their methods of working.

I have to be selective as greedily I want to attend everything and there is only so much I can absorb.

The Festival opened with Michael Ondaatje, author and poet, reading from his latest book, The Cat's Table, although he is still probably best known for The English Patient. There is nothing quite like listening to an author of his calibre reading the words he has created.

I'm going to hear my friend Christine Dwyer Hickey read from her latest, The Cold Eye of Heaven which has received rave reviews and loads of publicity. I am looking forward to reading it as I've already made a brief acquaintance with her hero Farley through the auspices of Amazon's Kindle; sharing platform with her is Belinda McKeon who is being internationally lauded for her first novel Solace which I read through the night in one sitting.

I'm also attending Roy Foster in conversation with Gerald Dawe on Yeats and his Inheritances; as well as History Ireland Hedge School with Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland magazine.(www.historyireland.com)

As a writer I find listening to award winning authors to be both a salutory and rewarding experience - salutory because I realist how far I've to go as a writer and rewarding for the sheer joy of listening to created words.