Now in its fourteenth year, The Dublin Writers Festival has become something of an institution. Running until the tenth of June, there is still a wealth of events taking place each day, with seats to many of the talks still available, despite a series of sell-out shows earlier in the week from the likes of Richard Dawkins, Alain de Botton and Josh Ritter. So what remains? If you’ve missed out so far, tonight there’s the launch of the latest editions of ‘The Stinging Fly’ and ‘The Moth’ at Odessa on Dame Court to get you psyched up for the rest of the week. If you feel you’d stand out in the Children’s Haiku workshop (which does in fact sound pretty appealing) then get down to one of the talks. The festival has pledged to once again bring together the ‘finest writers in the world to debate, provoke, delight and enthrall’, and the guest list is certainly star-studded. Tonight, Mike Scott of the Waterboys take to the stage – and of course ‘The Whole of the Moon” is pretty much guaranteed to wedge itself into the subconscious of all those in attendance for the foreseeable future.
But if perhaps, you find the Waterboys too whimsical, then potentially a trip to Liberty Hall on Friday will be more to your taste. James Fearnley, accordionist extraordinaire, and longest standing /longest suffering member of the Pogues will be discussing his memoir ‘Here Comes Everybody’. Certainly, the evening will no doubt be rammed with a fair few wild anecdotes, though in testament to it’s veracity, Shane MacGowan himself did comment that Fearnley’s account is “just how I imagine I’d remember it”.
Whilst lyricists and musicians alike pepper the festival, there is of course an enormous literary presence. Mark Haddon, author of the acclaimed ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’, speaks in the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Trinity College on Friday Night, and Tim Parks will occupy the same venue the following day. On Sunday, the Gate will play host to the poets Wendy Cope and Dennis O’Driscoll and the pair’s bittersweet reflections, both noted as being comparable to that timeless melancholic Philip Larkin, are sure to complement one another. Following their event (no mean feat certainly) is the author Jeanette Winterson, who will round off the festival with a look at her life and work; from her first novel ‘Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit’ to most recent, ‘Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?’ so named after a sentiment expressed by Winterson’s mother in Oranges. No doubt her conclusion to the wide-ranging series of events, of both house hold names and new faces will be as eloquent and engaging as the role of concluding speaker demands, and an attestation to the eminence of the selection of the speakers who have taken part in the festival.