Skip to main content

Kildare Readers Festival 2021

Kildare Readers Festival is brought to you every year in October by Kildare County Library and Arts Service. We are delighted to partner with Kildare Readers Festival once again this year and live events at Riverbank Arts Centre are BACK! These events are all FREE, but booking is essential.

Tuesday, 5th October at 7pm – SHELVING

Why do artists and writers shelve or abandon particular projects – books, artworks, ideas? What does this tell us about how artists and writers work? What does it tell us about the systems in which they work, the expectations placed upon them, the kinds of work considered viable, valuable, worthwhile? For this event as part of Kildare Readers’ Festival, a number of practitioners from literature and the visual arts have been invited to present and talk about works they’ve previously shelved, abandoned, cannibalised, lost, forgotten, or reconfigured.
SHELVING will feature presentations/performances by three writers and artists: Darran Anderson, Claire-Louise Bennett, and Suzanne Walsh. This event is curated by the outgoing Maynooth University/Kildare Arts Office writers-in-residence Nathan O’Donnell and Susan Tomaselli.

Friday, 15th October at 8pm – John Bowman in conversation with Abie Philbin Bowman
With a shared love of history and debate John Bowman and Abie Philbin Bowman are ideal interviewer and interviewee. KRF are delighted to bring you this exclusive interview as they discuss John Bowman’s book Ireland the Autobiography:  One Hundred Years in the Life of the Nation, Told by its People. This absorbing and highly acclaimed book which has been researched over decades draws on eyewitness accounts, diaries and memoirs from the perspective of people who lived in these times, how they felt, their personal and societal experiences. These stories reflect how people were feeling whereas an official account can only tell us what happened.  The power of personal testimony continues to influence.

Saturday, 16th October at 10:30am – 10 Books You Should Read 
10 Books You Should Read continues to be a favourite event at Kildare Readers’ Festival. Its format is a simple one – the guests choose five titles each – conversation ensues, as recommendations – and the advocacy of same – volley back and forth. On this occasion KRF thought to have the conversation be amongst the keepers of our cultural collections. Simon O’Connor is the Director of the Museum of Literature Ireland and Jason McElligott is the Director of Ireland’s oldest public library, Marsh’s Library. BOOK NOW>>

Saturday, 16th October at 8pm – Luke Cassidy’s Iron Annie Cabaret
The Iron Annie Cabaret is a celebration of music, theatre and literature. Based on Luke Cassidy’s debut novel Iron Annie, it tells the story of Aoife, a major figure in Dundalk’s small-town underworld, and her fatal attraction to Annie, a magnetic and elusive force that barged into her life. Think Reservoir Dogs meets Thelma and Louise meets the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This production features performances by Eleanor McLoughlin as Aoife, accompanied by musical performances by folk duo the Dandelion Few and newly-formed rock band The Pickled Onions. Directed by Peter Moreton, artistic director of the Applecart Arts Centre (London), it is produced by Luke Cassidy, with production design by Marianne Thibault. The production is made possible with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland and Louth County Council. BOOK NOW>>

SUNDAY, 17 October at 3pm – The Alphabet of Birds
Sunday Mass and sea swimming; bird alphabets and stone collecting; Goya and Monet; the Stations of the Cross and the Sacred Heart of Jesus; bedrooms and bedsits; insomnia and parental love. Writer and artist Sara Baume covers wide ground in this spellbinding audio-visual essay. Ultimately, it’s a show about our obsessions and passions – the multitude of rituals that fill our daily lives with meaning.  Live readings of Baume’s new essay are interspersed with four short documentaries from Jamie Goldrick that feature artists Gary Coyle, Laura Fitzgerald, Sara Baume and Natalia Beylis. The essay and films are live scored by musicians Irene Buckley and Elaine Howley (Howlbux). The Alphabet of Birds is the second stage show from annual arts magazine Holy Show, who tour a new literary-hybrid production each year. Holy Show is generously funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. This production was also funded by the Western Development Commission as part of a project developed by Spot-Lit. BOOK NOW>>

To see all Kildare Readers Festival events (online and in other locations),  click here.

Please note, in line with new Government guidelines, you will be required to show your EU COVID Certificate and Valid ID for entry to the auditorium for this event.  Due to COVID safety and social distancing requirements, audience capacity for this event is reduced. The seats on sale for this event are individual tickets ( or groups of 2 or 4 people.) If you have any particular seating requirements please contact us at or telephone (045) 448327  Please see our Covid Safety information before your visit to Riverbank Arts Centre.