The Lit Review |109| ILFD and Africa Day


International Literature Festival Dublin

This year’s ILFD wrapped up on the 29th May. This year’s event had some huge names, such as Ruby Wax, Paula Meehan, Colm Tóibín, Richard Ford and Werner Herzog, as well as our very own Headstuff Lectures. Richard Ford was a highlight of the event, speaking at length in Rotunda Hosptial’s Pillar Room about his new book, Between Them, which consists of two individual essays about each of his parents. This is familiar Ford ground, but thankfully he’s storytelling ability extends to public speaking and there is something incredibly soothing about his southern twang. Ford is set to appear later this week at the Borris House literary festival in Cavan, where he’ll discuss the Wire with it’s creator David Simon and Irish journalist Fintan O’Toole, a mouth watering prospect.

Another highlight of this year’s festival was undoubtedly the somewhat unusual headliner, renowned director  Werner Herzog. Indeed anybody hoping to hear ancedotes about Herzog’s near seven decades in the film business would have been sorely disappointed, as the two hours discussion focused almost entirely on the German’s literary output, something not helped by the fact that the host, Carlo Gebler, and indeed many audience members, seemed to be both very unfamiliar with and attempting to over-intellectualize during the Q and A period. Still, the event did become incredible enjoyable, largely owing to the headliner himself. The best way to describe the talk was very Herzog-esque, with the director emerging as a figure that manages to be simultainiously brave-arguing with North Korean border guards, irreverant-spending three months walking from Munich to Paris when he was told a mentor had a week to live and out of touch, being completely unaware that a new season of Twin Peaks existed.

Africa Day Inspires Poetry and Short Stories

As part of Aid Ireland’s Africa Day (Sunday 21st May), the Irish Times held an African-themed short story and poetry competition, which was open to primary and secondary school children as well as adults. You can read the winning works here – read ‘Penumbra’ by 16 year old Matthew Price, it’s fantastic.


The Listowel Writer’s Week runs from the 31st May to the 4th June, with events for both adults and kids. There is a wide range of events on for all kinds of writers and readers. Some of the events highlights include an informal chat with The Room author Emma Donoghue about her life as a writer and her work, a three-day workshop on songwriting with John Spillane, and a three-day workshop on novel planning with The Last King of Scotland author Giles Foden.


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