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Kildare Readers Festival 2020 – all online!

Kildare Readers Festival is brought to you every year in October by Kildare County Library and Arts Service, culminating in busy closing weekend of events and activities at Riverbank Arts Centre.  The festival aims to connect readers with authors and artists, working to bring the very best from the world of literature to audiences through the provision of exciting, innovative and accessible events. This year the Festival is jam-packed with great events and will be entirely online!

See the full programme at

OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea: Patrick Freyne and Abie Philbin Bowman
Have you ever had a stupid idea? Patrick Freyne has tried a lot of stupid ideas in his life, but it is safe to say that writing a book has not been one of them. Former aspiring rock star, equine liberator and a feature writer for the ‘Irish Times’, Patrick’s first book OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea, published on September 17th, received glowing reviews and as an author he has shown that there isn’t much ‘room to improve’. Our other guest, a man no stranger to a stupid idea or two, performing religious comedy in Pakistan during a state of emergency for example, is comedian, RTÉ Radio 1 regular with his podcast Humans of Politics and hack of all trades, Abie Philbin Bowman. Join us for what promises to be a dynamic and enlightening interview.
VIMEO LINK live on Monday, 12 October @ 9pm

a lesson in celestial symmetry
This newly commissioned piece by Sue Rainsford blends prose and images in an exploration of deficiency and nourishment, destruction and regeneration, and the patterns of cause and effect that move through matter.
VIMEO LINK live on Tuesday, 13 October @ 7:30pm

We are all made of stories: Oein DeBhairduin with Ruth Smith
Why the moon travels is community activist Oein DeBhairduin’s debut collection of stories originating from the Irish Traveller community, the Mincéirí. Beautifully illustrated by fellow Traveller Leanne McDonagh, this book is thought to be the first of its kind published in Ireland. It was published by Skein Press who strive to amplify the voices largely absent from Irish literature. Pull up a chair and join us for a discussion about this lyrical collection of stories celebrating a culture rooted in a profound respect for tradition, the natural world and family.
VIMEO LINK live on Tuesday, 13 October @ 9pm

Annemarie Ní Churreáin Conversations: Kimberly Lojewski
In the first talk of this series commissioned for Kildare Readers Festival, Annemarie Ní Churreáin is joined by writer Kimberly Lojewski whose debut story collection, Worm Fiddling Nocturne in the Key of a Broken Heart is filled with whimsical fairy tales of princesses and farm girls turned dark, and dark tales of mistreated sideshow freaks turned whimsical.
VIMEO LINK live on Wednesday, 14 October @ 7:30pm

Writers-in-Residence: Susan Tomaselli and Dr. Nathan O’Donnell
Maynooth University Department of English and Kildare County Council Arts and Library Services are thrilled to announce the appointment of Susan Tomaselli and Dr Nathan O’Donnell as writers-in-residence for 2020/2021.
Join us for a conversation between Susan and Nathan as they will discuss their work, their plans for this year’s residencies and more.
VIMEO LINK live on Wednesday, 15 October @ 9pm

Annemarie Ní Churreáin Conversations: Patrick Chapman
Donegal poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin talks poetry craft and process with poet, fictionist, and scriptwriter Patrick Chapman in the second of a series of talks commissioned for Kildare Readers Festival. Patrick’s most recent poetry collection is Open Season on the Moon (Salmon, 2019).
VIMEO LINK live on Thursday, 15 October @ 7:30pm

Cauvery Madhavan and Margaret Scott in conversation
Cauvery Madhavan’s third novel The Tainted, picked by An Post Irish Book Awards as one of their Top 5 Summer Reads, has been described by Sebastian Barry as a “wonderful story written by a wonderful writer”. Join Cauvery and author Margaret Scott in a conversation about writing and stories.
VIMEO LINK live on Thursday, 15 October @ 9pm

Annemarie Ní Churreáin Conversations: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
In our final commissioned talk for this year’s Kildare Readers Festival, poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin speaks with critically acclaimed poet, fiction writer and essayist Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. Jeffers’ most recent work The Age of Phillis is based upon fifteen years of research on the life and times of Phillis Wheatley (Peters), a formerly enslaved person who was the first African-American woman to publish a book. Her first novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, is forthcoming from Harper in 2021.
VIMEO LINK live on Friday, 16 October @ 7:30pm

Edel Coffey and Naoise Dolan: Exciting Times
Naoise Dolan’s debut novel Exciting Times has garnered huge praise and attention since its publication earlier this year and has announced her as a wonderfully sharp and comic new voice in Irish literature. The novel follows Ava, a young Irishwoman, grappling with love, relationships and class as she tries to make a life for herself in Hong Kong. Naoise joins journalist and broadcaster Edel Coffey to discuss her book, its inspiration and what lies ahead in her writing career.
VIMEO LINK live on Friday, 16 October @ 9pm

Ten Books
This year our ever popular Ten Books goes online! Our two guests will select five books each that they would recommend and delve into the stories to illustrate why we should give them a try.
VIMEO LINK live on Saturday, 17 October @ 11am

Dennis O’Driscoll Awards
Regarded as one of the best European poets of his time, Dennis O’Driscoll was a poet, essayist, critic, editor and mentor who made Naas, Co Kildare his home until his death. The Dennis O’Driscoll Literary Bursary Award is open to both established and emerging writers and critics in all genres. The award for professional writers is to augment their professional practice, particularly research towards the production of new writings. The award for emerging writers supports their professional development/training opportunities. We introduce this year’s awardees who will read their work, adjudicated by Kildare native singer-songwriter and podcaster Megan O’Neill.
VIMEO LINK live on Saturday, 17 October @ 2pm

Marita Conlon-McKenna with Margaret Scott
Margaret Scott is joined by one of Ireland’s best-loved authors, Marita Conlon-McKenna. Her first book, which was read by so many of us, was the classic children’s book Under the Hawthorn Tree. Marita’s new adult novel, The Hungry Road is set during The Great Irish Famine and is a story of courage and the strength of the human spirit.
VIMEO LINK live on Saturday, 17 October @ 9pm

Sunday Sessions with Dermot Bolger and Christine Dwyer Hickey
Kildare Readers Festival regular Dermot is back this year for a relaxed and intimate conversation with award-winning author Christine Dwyer Hickey, whose book Tatty is the UNESCO Dublin One City, One Book choice for 2020. Not to be missed!
VIMEO LINK live on Sunday, 18 October @ 11am