Dublin has three beautiful literary bridges built in recent times that are named after literary giants of the city: James Joyce; Seán O’Casey and Samuel Beckett.
Not everyone is aware that Dublin is a bilingual city, with all of our public signage in the Irish language as well as English. Our native language is very important to us and we are the home of publishers such as Cois Life; bookshops like An Siopa Leabhar; our libraries host Irish language conversation exchanges; and we are very proud of our poets, playwrights and novelists working in the language. Every year in March we celebrate the language with Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Week).
In 2018 Dublin hosted its first ‘MurderOne’ crime writing festival and hopes to grow this in the future, involving more and more Irish and international talent.
Every year Dublin celebrates Halloween in the most spectacular way with the Bram Stoker Festival during the October Bank Holiday weekend. Did you know that the author of Dracula was actually born in Dublin? This festival celebrates all that is Gothic and is a major date on the Dublin calendar for lovers of vampires and ghouls.
Dublin is home to the richest literary prize in the world, with the sum of €100,000 awarded to the winning author of a single work of fiction every year. The International Dublin Literary Award is also unique in that the longlisted and shortlisted titles are chosen by public libraries all over the world, making this a democratic and community-based prize, of which Dublin is very proud. This huge prize is not sponsored by private enterprise but by the City itself!
COLLABORATION WITH OTHER CITIES
Town Stitched by River
Town Stitched By River is a limited edition book with original contributions by Irish writers who have taken part in the International Writing program in Iowa City. Dublin has a close connection with Iowa City through its years of supporting Irish writers as part of its International Writing Program, which is where this idea was born.
This was organised by Dublin publisher Alan Hayes of Arlen House Publishing, a member of the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature management group, and made possible by contributions from Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, the University of Iowa, and John Kenyon of Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.
The book is a hand-printed limited edition work designed by Iowa City artist Shari DeGraw. The title is taken from a poem, ‘Iowa City Sestina’, by Irish poet Nell Regan, found in the volume. It begins, ‘This town is stitched by river –/that finds and winds its way through trees/whose leaves curl yellow and every poem/is found to contain it.’
Authors featured in the book include John Banville, Sebastian Barry, and Eavan Boland.
The book was issued in 2014 with events in Dublin and in Iowa City. The Iowa City event was held during the Iowa City Book Festival, and featured visiting Irish writers Siobhan Campbell, Stephen James Smith, Drucilla Wall, Eamon Wall, Joseph Woods, and Paddy Woodworth. These six were brought to Iowa City in partnership with Poetry Ireland. A subsequent poet exchange brought three more poets to the 2016 Iowa City Book Festival. Again in partnership with Poetry Ireland, the poets Afric McGlinchey, Jim Maguire, and the aforementioned Nell Regan participated in events during the festival.
This project has strengthened the relationship between Dublin and Iowa City, given the Irish poets a new audience, and exposed Iowa City-area readers to Irish literary culture.
International Literature Festival Dublin, founded in 1998, is Ireland’s premier literary event and gathers the finest writers in the world to debate, provoke, delight and enthrall. Attracting visitors from around the world annually, the May festival is a destination for those who wish to celebrate the very best of Irish and international talent.
With readings, discussions, debates, workshops, performances and screenings, the festival creates a hotbed of ideas. Whether it’s the mix poets, writers of fiction and non-fiction, lyricists, playwrights and screenwriters, International Literature Festival Dublin brings new faces and household names together in ways that surprise and inspire.
Children’s fiction is well represented and we are spoilt for choice with the calibre of Irish language writers.
Over the years the festival has hosted writers from all over the world: Arundhati Roy, Richard Ford, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jo Nesbo, to name but a few of the impressive names who have been involved, making this a truly international event.
The Dublin Book Festival, an annual November event, supports Irish writers and Dublin’s historically indigenous publishing industry, which continues to struggle in its competition with large international publishing conglomerates and online publishing resources. The Dublin Book Festival showcases the diversity of Irish publishing, and most importantly, its writers, in a fun and accessible environment, with the majority of the events being free – ensuring the festival is accessible to all. Irish publishers and their authors do not have an exclusive platform and the Dublin Book Festival is crucial in bringing the publishers and writers to their audience and readers. The festival has grown over the past twelve years and has emerged as one of Dublin’s largest book festivals offering something for everyone.
The Festival’s now famous Winter Garden and literary sanctuary of Smock Alley Theatre hosts many launches, rediscoveries, talks, panel discussions, meet & greets and receptions over the four days celebrating the power of the written word in all its many evolving forms. This festival encourages voices from the margins to redefine the written ‘core’ of publishing and highlights that plurality of voices is important for its longevity. Emerging authors take centre stage, Irish history is reassessed, our language lives on in printed form, and we showcase inspiring women of Irish literature.