Kildare Readers Festival regular Dermot Bolger returns with Sunday Sessions for a conversation with our guests Billy Roche and Bernard Farrell about life as playwrights, seeing the work on stage and how plays appear and disappear. In this relaxed and intimate discussion, Dermot and guests will look at how past life experience has influenced their work.
Born in Dublin in 1959, the poet, playwright and novelist Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s best known writers. His fourteen novels include The Family on Paradise Pier, An Ark of Light and two novels that have just been reissued in softback – The Lonely Sea and Sky and a radical rewriting of his 194 book, A Second Life, which was among the first novels to explore the subject of secretive Irish adoptions. In 2022 he also published a new poetry collection, Other People’s Lives – poems written on walks during lockdown, reflecting on his life and the lives of others. His debut play, The Lament for Arthur Cleary, received the Samuel Beckett Award. Numerous other plays include an adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses and Last Orders at the Dockside, both staged by The Abbey Theatre. In 2021 he was the recipient of The O’Shaughnessy Poetry Prize from The University of St. Thomas in America and this year he was awarded an honorary degree in literature from The National University of Ireland.
The Wexford-born playwright Billy Roche first came to public acclaim with his famous Wexford Trilogy (A Handful Of Stars, Poor Beast In The Rain and The Belfry) first staged by The Bush Theatre in London and later filmed for the B.B.C. His many other plays include Amphibians (The Royal Shakespeare Company) and The Cavalcaders, originally staged by The Abbey and The Royal Court, which in 2022 was toured in Ireland by Druid. He wrote the screenplay Trojan Eddie (winner of the San Sabastian Film Festival) and other script writing credits include the RTE four-part series Clean Break. A novelist (Tumbling Down) and short story writer (Tales From Rainwater Pond), he is also an actor and musician who has been Writer-In-Residence at the Bush and Writer–In-Association at Druid and the Abbey Theatre and is a member of Aosdana.
Born in Sandycove, Co. Dublin, Bernard Farrell worked for Sealink until 1980 when he resigned to write fulltime for the theatre. His 21 stage plays have been premiered at the Abbey Theatre and Gate Theatre in Dublin, at Red Kettle Theatre Company and The Theatre Royal in Waterford and at The Laguna Playhouse in California.
These plays include I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell (Abbey 1979), Canaries (Abbey 1980), All In Favour Said No! (Abbey 1981), All The Way Back (Abbey 1985), Forty-Four Sycamore (Red Kettle Theatre 1992), The Last Apache Reunion (Abbey 1993), Happy Birthday Dear Alice (Red Kettle 1994), Stella By Starlight (Gate Theatre 1997), Kevin’s Bed (Abbey 1998), The Spirit Of Annie Ross (Gate Theatre 1999), Lovers At Versailles (Abbey 2002), Many Happy Returns (Gate Theatre 2005), and Bookworms (Abbey 2010) He has also written drama for both RTE and BBC television and his radio plays have represented Ireland at the Prix Italia. Many of his stage plays are in translation and have been performed extensively in North America, Europe and Australia. He is a member of Aosdana, a former board member of The Abbey Theatre and has received The John B Keane Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to the Arts. He now lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow.
Kildare Readers Festival is brought to you every year in October by Kildare County Library and Arts Service. For more information about KRF see https://kildarecoco.ie/library/KildareReadersFestival/