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KILDARE READERS’ FESTIVAL – Sunday Morning Session: Judith Mok & Michael O’Loughlin in conversation with Dermot Bolger

Sunday 8th October, 2023 - 10:30

free, booking essential
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Writer and soprano, Judith Mok was born in Holland and studied at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. She has toured the world as a classical soprano, moving to Dublin in 2002, where she is a leading voice coach working with noted singers from the classical and pop worlds. Her books include the novels De Beul (2000) and Gael (2006), and her extraordinary memoir, The State of Dark, (2022). She is married to the writer Michael O’Loughlin.

Like many children of Holocaust survivors, born in a postwar Holland to Jewish parents trying to rebuild their shattered lives, Judith Mok was raised with the emotional trauma of having no extended family. Over 100,000 Jews from Holland were killed in the Nazi camps, including the diarist Anne Frank, who befriended Judith’s aunt Saar in Auschwitz in 1944. But despite the constant presence of the past in whispered conversations, Judith had little information about the hundreds of her family members who had died in the camps.

While performing all over the world as a classical singer, she was continually confronted with the Holocaust. A phone call made from her Dublin home in 2017 leads to Judith’s discovery of the terrible fate of her family. The State of Dark is a moving, beautifully written memoir of a Second-Generation survivor, as the Holocaust continues to be a living presence in European life and culture.

The poet, translator, critic, screenwriter and commentator, Michael O’Loughlin was born in Dublin in 1958. His poetry collections include Stalingrad: The Street Dictionary (1980), Another Nation (1996), In This Life (2011), Poems 1980-2015 (2017) and Liberty Hall (2021). He has lived in Barcelona (where he first met his wife, writer and soprano Judith Mok); in Amsterdam and, since 2002, has lived in Dublin. From the youthful collections which ushered in a new urban aesthetic in Irish poetry, to his later explorations of European history and identity, O’Loughlin has earned a reputation as one of Ireland’s most important poets, whose work has an exceptionally strong international outlook and a fierce dedication to social and historical justice.

ISL/Irish Sign Language interpretation will be available for this event.


Sunday 8th October, 2023
free, booking essential
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Riverbank Arts Centre Auditorium
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Riverbank Arts Centre
Main Street
Newbridge, Ireland
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045 448327
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