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Thursday 7th October

In this programme Festival Director Vincent Woods introduces this year's events; Cllr. Paddy O'Rourke, Cathaoirleach Leitrim County Council, presents the 2021 John McGahern Award and actor Stephen Rea reads from the work of John McGahern and discusses his memories of the Leitrim writer.

Friday 8th October

In this programme Festival Director Vincent Woods is joined by Kerri Ní Dochartaigh who reads from her work and discuss her experience of growing up in Northern Ireland and making a home and new life in Mayo; Rita Ann Higgins reads from her most recent book "Pathogens Love a Patsy", which dissects the last 18 months of life in Ireland during the Covid-19 crisis with her trademark wit and insight; while novelist Eoin McNamee, author of a series of remarkable works set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland‘, reads from a work-in-progress and previews the themes for The John McGahern Memorial Lecture which he will deliver to a public audience in Carrick-on-Shannon later this year.

Saturday 9th October

In this programme Vincent Woods speaks with Jeanine Cummins about her best-selling novel ‘American Dirt’ and discusses her observation of the migrant crisis at the US-Mexican border and the tensions in post-Trump, culture-warring America.


Nelofer Pazira pays tribute to her late husband, the journalist and writer Robert Fisk, and discusses her own work as a film-maker and writer and considers the situation in her home country of Afghanistan now that the US has withdrawn and the Taliban are back in power.

Sunday 10th October

'To The Mountain' is a series of commissions of Leitrim artists by The Iron Mountain Literature Festival and Leitrim County Council made possible through the support of The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media under the Local Live Performance Programming Scheme 2021.


This scheme was established to support the work of artists and bring live performance back to audiences around the country. As well as being presented live at an event in Carrick on Shannon, each commission was filmed in a site specific location appropriate to each commission.


Ailie Blunnie is a musician and songwriter from Carrick-on-Shannon, with a songwriting style that pushes the boundaries both sonically and lyrically.  Her debut album West to the Evening Sun, was released in 2017. She will present the premiere live performance of a new song for this event.

Michael Harding is a playwright, novelist and Irish Times columnist. His most recent book is Chest Pain: A man, a stent and a camper van. Michael lives in Timpaun, near Drumshanbo.

Róisín Kelly is a striking new voice in poetry. Her first collection, Mercy, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2020. Róisín grew up in Leitrim and now lives in Cork.

Alice Lyons is a poet and novelist, notable for her incorporation of the visual into poetry. Her novel Oona was published by the Lilliput Press in 2020.

Patrick McCabe is a novelist and author of many works including Breakfast on Pluto and The Butcher Boy. Pat lives in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Stephen Murphy is a celebrated performance poet whose work has a significant online following. His first full collection From the Sea Hound was published in 2019. Stephen lives in Drumkeeran.

Seamus O’Rourke is a playwright, actor and writer from Carrigallen. His memoir Standing in Gaps was published in 2020. Seamus will play the part of the father, S. B.O’Donnell, in a new production of Philadelphia Here I Come at Cork Opera House in October.

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