I attended a couple of events at the recent Dublin Book Festival in the Smock Alley Theatre and both were well attended and very interesting. The festival, which ran for six days, has been a great success (according to busy staff! ) with writers from home and abroad involved in readings and interviews. The friendly, casual atmosphere was also a great opportunity to speak with authors and get books signed. I managed to speak with John Givens (one of the authors reading his work in ‘A Medley of Stories’) about his story set in Japan and he was very approachable and happy to talk.
The reading was held in the Banquet Hall which is a beautiful space that has been renovated to its former glory. The old building is celebrating its 350th anniversary and the bright, winter sun really brought the tall, stained-glass windows to life. If you are in town then a visit to see Ireland’s first great theatre is a rewarding experience. Put it on your list of ‘things to do’ in Dublin.
For a short story writer like myself, the interview conducted by Eithne Shortall (Chief Arts Writer for the Sunday Times Ireland) with three of its leading exponents was very informative and entertaining. This was held in the main theatre, which with its bench seating (and soft cushions, thankfully!) and fine acoustics, was how I hoped it might be – and it didn’t disappoint. It was a lively discussion with plenty of light moments and I came away with some interesting ideas – food for thought.
The Festival is a great part of the cultural life of the city, and as book festivals go they definitely ‘got it right’ and long may it grow and prosper.