Join us for this year’s Ten Books where former Irish Censor, John Kelleher and self-declared ‘dirty-minded historian’ and host of the Censored podcast Dr Aoife Bhreatnach discuss their top picks from the world of banned books.
Dr Aoife Bhreatnach is a researcher, writer and podcaster. Since March 2020, she has written and presented Censored podcast, which explores the censorship culture of twentieth-century Ireland. In each episode, Aoife tells the story of a banned book, reading out the rude bits and rating the filth with censorship bingo. The censor’s ambition is demonstrated by a blacklist that includes all kinds of publications, from literary classics to pulp fiction and memoir.
Episodes feature great writers like John McGahern alongside bestselling ‘fluff’ like Forever Amber. Now in its seventh season, the podcast also examines how social censure affected playwrights, visual artists and television producers. Knowledgeable and amusing guests join Aoife to discuss infamous moments in Irish culture such as the Playboy Riots and the Bishop and Nightie.
The podcast, with over 50,000 downloads, was one of the Dublin Book Festival ‘literary podcasts we love right now’ in 2021. Aoife has spoken to the Ryan Tubridy Show and Ireland AM about searching for the rude bits in banned books. The Irish Independent, Evening Echo and Irish Times have published articles on the podcast. In May 2021, Aoife appeared on RTÉ’s Cosc, a programme about the banning of John McGahern’s The Dark.
Her historical writing includes a book Becoming Conspicuous: Irish Travellers, Society and the State (2006) and several journal articles. She has held post-doctoral fellowships at Oxford and Maynooth universities. Her academic research interests include social welfare policy, death and burial.
A veteran of the film and television industry in Ireland and internationally, John Kelleher has produced many award-winning feature films and tv series, including Eat the Peach (which he co-wrote) and the seven-hour series, Strumpet City. He has also produced many documentary series, including the 12-hour BBC/RTE series, ‘Ireland, A Television History’ and feature documentaries, including ‘The Artist and the Wall of Death’, which was premiered at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh and Charlie Bird: Loud and Clear, which was broadcast in June on RTE1.
He has been Controller of Television Programmes at RTE1, Managing Director of The Sunday Tribune, Director of the Irish Film Classification Office (formerly the Film Censor’s Office) and he was a founder shareholder of the Windmill Lane consortium which won the TV3 franchise in 1989.
He established the leading Irish independent film and television company, John Kelleher Media in 2011, which has produced, among others, Wonder House, A Disconnected Rhythm, The Guarantee and The Bailout. He is a director of Wildcard Distribution and has been a director of Ardmore Studios, Troy Studios and Creative Europe.
He is currently Festival Director of the Fastnet Film Festival and is a regular broadcaster on The Hard Shoulder programme on Newstalk.
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/