2 August, 2017 //

Readers’ Day

Join renowned writers for a relaxed and intimate day of readings and public conversations chaired by Dermot Bolger. This year’s line-up features award winning authors including; Lisa Harding, Sara Baume, Mike McCormack, Mary O’Rourke, Julie Parsons and John Banville. Authors will be available to sign books on the day.

Julie Parsons was born in New Zealand but has lived most of her adult life in Ireland. Her first novel, Mary, Mary (1998) was an instant critical and commercial success. Her subsequent novels, The Courtship Gift (1999), Eager To Please (2000), The Guilty Heart (2003), The Hourglass (2005) and I Saw You (2008) were all published internationally and translated into many languages. Julie’s new book The Therapy House – her first in almost a decade – is an atmospheric tale that takes the reader from Dun Laoghaire to Venice, a mix of contemporary crime and the dark divisions of the past.  The Therapy House represents a new expansive stage in Julie Parson’s writing career, a panoramic novel rich in character, intriguingly plotted and carefully drawn.

Lisa Harding is an actress, playwright and author. She played Connie in RTÉ’s Fair City and has performed at the Abbey, the Gate and many other theatres. Her short stories have been widely publishe. Her powerful debut novel, Harvesting, with deals with the sex trafficking of young girls into Ireland, has been widely acclaimed, with the Sunday Independent reviewer calling it “one of the most gut-wrenching, shiver-inducing pieces of fiction I have ever read. The word ‘compelling’ is too hackneyed when it comes to a novel such as this. Each line is gripping: mind and body are hooked into a world you don’t want to know exists, but which thrives under our very noses.”

Mary O’Rourke has been one of the most successful and influential women in Irish public life in recent decades; a former deputy leader of her party, the holder of several senior cabinet positions and a regular guest on radio and television. Her autobiography, Just Mary, was a No. 1 bestseller. Last year as she turned 80, Mary O’Rourke wrote a letter to 20 people, past and present, close and distant, living and deceased. Every letter is heartfelt in offering gratitude for the difference the recipient made to Mary’s life. At once universal and deeply personal, Letters of My Life is a book of consideration and appreciation. Mary O’Rourke will read from and discuss her reasons for writing this new book of letters with Dermot Bolger.

Born in Dublin in 1959, Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s best known writers. This is his fifteenth year to curate and present Reader’s Day. 2015 saw the publication of his Selected Poems, That Which is Suddenly Precious and last year he published his 13th novel, The Lonely Sea and Sky, a fictionalised homage to the Irish sailors of his father’s generation who undertook dangerous wartime voyages to Lisbon, sailing alone and regularly attacked despite being armed with nothing except an innate sense of decency. Bolger writes for Ireland’s leading newspapers and in 2012 was named Commentator of the Year at the Irish Newspaper awards. His adaption of Joyce’s Ulysses is being staged by the Abbey Theatre throughout Oct 2017.


Sara Baume grew up in East Cork and now lives in West Cork. Her early short fiction won the 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award, the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, the Rooney Prize for Literature and an Irish Book Award for Best Newcomer in 2015. Her debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She will read from and discuss her follow-up novel, A Line Made by Walking, which follows the fate of 25-year-old Frankie who works part-time in a Dublin art gallery but who, growing increasingly anxious, returns to rural Cork to live in her deceased grandmother’s creaking house, close to her family. With an artist’s gift for observation, Frankie recounts the beauty and the obliteration of the world as the seasons change around her, while struggling to understand her place in it. A Line Made by Walking is a celebration of the extraordinary in the everyday, and Baume’s prose elevates the ordinary and finds inspiration in the strange.

Mike McCormack is a Mayo-born award-winning novelist and short story writer who lives in Galway. His work includes Getting it in the Head (1995), Crowe’s Requiem (1998), Notes from a Coma (2005), and Forensic Songs (2012). In 1996 he was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. In 2016 he won the Goldsmiths Prize and the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award for best novel for his latest work, Solar Bones. Once a year, on All Souls’ Day, it is said in Ireland that the dead may return. Solar Bones is the story of one such visit. Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer, turns up one afternoon at his kitchen table and considers the events that took him away and then brought him home again. Funny and strange, McCormack’s ambitious and other-worldly novel plays with form and defies convention. A beautiful and haunting elegy, this story of order and chaos, love and loss captures how minor decisions ripple into waves and test our integrity every day.

John Banville is an Irish novelist, an adapter of dramas, and a screenwriter. His novel The Book of Evidence was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Guinness Peat Aviation award in 1989. His fourteenth novel, The Sea, won the Booker Prize in 2005. He has also been awarded the Franz Kafka Prize (2011); the Irish PEN Award (2013); the Austrian State Prize for Literature (2013) and the Prince of Asturias Award (2014). He has published a number of crime novels as Benjamin Black, most featuring Quirke, an Irish pathologist based in Dublin. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2007.

In 2016 he published Time Pieces: a Dublin Memoir, which describes the city which the aspiring writer first came to live in when he was eighteen and how, in a once grand but now dilapidated flat in Upper Mount Street, he wrote and dreamed and hoped. It was a cold time, for society and for the individual, but underneath the seeming permafrost a thaw was setting in, and Ireland was beginning to change. Alternating between vignettes of Banville’s own past, and present-day historical explorations of the city, Time Pieces is a vivid evocation of childhood and memory – that ‘bright abyss’ in which ‘time’s alchemy works’ – and a tender and powerful ode to a formative time and place for the artist as a young man.