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What’s On: Don’t Miss The Dalkey Book Festival This Weekend

The infamous Dalkey Book Festival, described as “the best little festival in the world”, takes place every year in June and the 2017 celebrations kick off tomorrow, Thursday 15th June until Sunday, June 18th. It’s a place for book lovers, writers, storytellers, daydreamers and thinkers. Below are only some of the highlights over the next few days.


Thursday, June 15th

Author Sebastian Barry, 6pm, The Secret Garden, €15

Dalkey native Sebastian Barry is the only novelist to have won the coveted Costa best novel award twice, and he will be talking about his book Days Without End with BBC Radio 4’s Andrea Catherwood.

The Future is Female, 9pm, The Secret Garden, €15

Author Catherine Mayer has recently published her latest book, the brilliant Attack of the 50 Foot Women, and at this event with Irish Times columnist Jennifer O’Connell, will argue that gender inequality is detrimental to men and women alike and that inequality has severe negative economic implications for all of us.

Friday, June 16th

Hyeonseo Lee: The Girl with Seven Names, 4pm, Seafront Marquee, €12

Hyeonseo Lee risked her life to escape North Korea when she was only 17 years old. This powerful speaker, writer and human rights activist will recount her inspiring and moving story.

Author Colm Toibín, 7pm, Seafront Marquee, €15

The beloved Irish author will talk to Miriam O’Callaghan about his life and literary work.

Saturday, June 17th

Who’d be a Writer? Don’t Quit The Day Job, 11.30am, Finnegan’s, €15

Bestselling writer and winner of many awards, Donal Ryan despite his enormous success, has gone back to his day job to meet the rent.  Also speaking will be Sharad Paul, a career physician who makes time to write fiction as well as non-fiction. They are in conversation with Paula Shields.

Desire, the Kama Sutra and other Stories Saturday 2.30pm, Town Hall, €15

From the Kama Sutra to DH Lawrence and Anaïs Nin, when it comes to the bedroom, a little fiction goes a long way! Seema Anand and Mariella Frostrup will be in conversation with Jennifer O’Connell.

Sunday, June 18th

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and other Stories, 1pm, Seafront Marquee, €10

The bestselling author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières talks to Martina Devlin about his most recent novel The Dust That Falls from Dreams and reads from his latest collection of poetry, Of Love and Desire.

The Dalkey Orchive with Paul Howard (aka Ross O’Carroll-Kelly) 7pm, Seafront Marquee, €20

Everyone’s favourite Southsider returns to his home turf. “Ireland’s pre-eminent satirist” and “one of the world’s funniest writers”, Paul Howard, said recently that his job is “a very odd thing: it’s essentially to sit in an office and think in the voice of an idiot for 10 hours a day.”


The festival was founded by Sian Smyth, and David McWilliams in 2010 and Dalkey itself has a rich literary heritage. The birthplace of George Bernard Shaw, schoolhouse of James Joyce and playground to Samuel Beckett, the event keeps this literary heritage alive, attracting new writers, classic writers and those who love simply have a love of reading and a great story. For full details of the festival line-up, see dalkeybookfestival.org

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