Thrilling line up for Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival

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Award winning author Donal Ryan

Award winning author Donal Ryan

It was with some concern that the members of the Committee of the Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival heard the news of Level 3 Covid restrictions in Dublin, meaning residents of the city and county could not travel. Even before the official announcement on Friday last, emails were being received from the Dublin-based writers due to appear on the opening night of the Festival, expressing their regret at not being able to travel.

The trio of women crime writers, Liz Nugent, Jo Spain and Catherine Ryan Howard, due to appear on opening night, October 1, were now effectively locked down in Dublin and would be unable to travel to Nenagh for the Festival.

So, what now for the “Mystery, Thrills and Suspense” event on the opening night?

Undaunted, the indefatigable Festival Chairwoman, Geraldine McNulty, swung into action and within 24 hours had located three new women crime writers – who were all delighted to be invited to Nenagh.

Writers Siobhán MacDonald, from Limerick, Cork solicitor and crime writer Catherine Kirwan and Cat Nolan from Wexford are the new line up for the Festival’s opening Crime Night.

MacDonald is published in the UK and Ireland and her latest crime novel “Guilty” was described by the Irish Times as “meticulous and unsettling…a terrifyingly dark, twisty thriller, skilfully plotted and stylishly written”.

Catherine Kirwan, originally from Wexford, is a practicing solicitor in Cork. Her debut crime novel “Darkest Truth” was Cork’s ‘One City One Book’ in 2019, and was also an Eason’s ‘Book of the Month’ and Graham Norton recommended it highly on The Graham Norton Show.

“We hope those who have booked for the original crime night will not be too disappointed, but we are delighted to have located new writers, including emerging writers, for the event to ensure that it goes ahead. We look forward to hearing from these writers who I’m sure will have insightful, fascinating stories to tell”, said Geraldine McNulty.

Nenagh Arts Centre will contact those who have already booked the original event to give them the choice to rebook or get a refund.

Geraldine McNulty wants to assure audiences that the rest of the Festival is unaffected by the new Covid restrictions and will go ahead. Tickets can now be booked at Nenagh Arts Centre, online or by phone, or in person. The Nenagh 800 event being staged as part of the Festival by the Nenagh Players, and featuring scenes from the award-winning “Trainees” about the fate of the Cormack Brothers will take place outdoors on Saturday, October 3 at 2pm and 4pm.

There will also be a talk about the events by the staff of the Heritage Centre and tickets, which are limited, must be booked in advance.

The Committee very much looks forward to welcoming literature lovers to “From Page to Stage” featuring the local acclaimed writer Donal Ryan with Andrew Flynn from Nenagh, founder of Decadent Theatre Company, to discuss Andrew’s adaptation of Donal’s novel “The Thing About December”. Donal’s new novel, “Strange Flowers” has just been published.

“The Guests from the West” event, featuring Elaine Feeney, Alan McMonagle, and Alice Lyons, interviewed by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald has not, of course, been affected by the new Dublin Covid restrictions. Our three guests are all poets, playwrights, and novelists so this is sure to be a very interesting event.

The Festival will close on Sunday, October 4 with two performances of “Tea and Cake with Jane Austen” in Ashley Park, Ardcroney, featuring novelist Rosa Servitova who, in a literary triumph, completed a Jane Austen manuscript which became “The Watsons”. She is joined by heritage expert Melissa Shiels who will present recreations of the major fashions of the Austen era.

The two performances take place at 1pm and 4pm and tickets must be booked in advance. You may also enjoy a stroll in the beautiful walled garden and grounds of Ashley Park House. For more information, www.dnlf.ie and nenagharts.com.