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Writing a Home in the World


Adrian Dunbar.jpg

Actor Adrian Dunbar at the 2019 Iron Mountain Literature Festival.

Two of Ireland’s best-loved and popular authors, Marian Keyes and Michael Harding, were special guests at this year’s Iron Mountain Festival at the Dock Arts Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim on Saturday October 5th and 6th where they read from their work and discussed writing, social media, literary and popular fiction and their lives as writers.

The festival will also featured Professor Luke Gibbons who gave the inaugural John McGahern Memorial Lecture on aspects of McGahern’s writing in ‘'At Home in the World: John McGahern, the Local and the Global'’ and the way in which his work balances a fidelity to the local with an openness to the stranger, the newcomer, the outsider. Celebrated actor Adrian Dunbar, read from McGahern’s work and discussed his career in theatre, film and television. A remarkable live performance inspired by Offaly writer Ian Maleney’s acclaimed book of essays ‘Minor Monuments’ mixed words, film, sound and smell to explore memory (and the loss of memory), belonging and the meaning of home. Writers Alice Lyons and Una Mannion both of whom have novels forthcoming in 2020 and 2021 respectively talked about their work with Rhona Trench all three of which teach at the newly formed Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture at IT Sligo. Alice and Una also led writing workshops on Saturday morning. The festival concluded with a series of readings with music in Ballinaglera, at the foot of the Iron Mountain, Sliabh an Iarainn on Sunday October 6th.

Dublin writer, Zoe Comyns, who was born in Kiltyclogher, received the 2019 John McGahern Award fir Literature.

Over the past three years the Iron Mountain Literature Festival has established itself as a landmark gathering of strong and original voices in literature, music, architecture, ecology and history. Rooted in the landscape of John McGahern’s home place and the beautiful borderlands near Sliabh an Iarainn (the Iron Mountain), the festival celebrates some of the best and most original of local and international writing in fiction, poetry and writing of all genres.

The annual Iron Mountain Session will featured Mary McPartlan, Néillidh Mulligan, Mohammad Saif-Khan, Edwina Guckian and Vincent Woods. This takes place in conjunction with the Ballinaglera Traditional Music Festival in Skerry Rynn’s Bar, Ballinglera.

The Iron Mountain Literature Festival was established in 2016 and has been described by American writer Annie Proulx as “one of the most interesting and varied literary festivals I have seen... every minute was filled with memorable and engaging people - a genuinely remarkable literary experience.”  

Since its establishment the festival has brought a host of eminent writers and artists to Leitrim: guests have included novelist Anne Enright, folklorist and author Henry Glassie, poets Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Tess Gallagher, historian and author Thomas Pakenham and novelists Mike McCormack amd Kathleen Hill.

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