The 28th Kate O’Brien Weekend, Limerick.
24th – 26th
Belltable Arts Centre, 69 O’Connell Street, Limerick & the Lime Tree Theatre, Mary Immaculate College
Theme : Tell It Slant
The Kate O’Brien Weekend will take place in Limerick from 24th – 26th February 2012. The theme for the 2012 weekend is ‘Tell it slant’ a quote from an Emily Dickinson poem about telling the truth;
Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth’s superb surprise;
As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
The Kate O’Brien Weekend brings together readers and contemporary writers in a relaxed environment to discuss ideas, styles and topics that make up the work of today’s writers. It is an invaluable opportunity for the solitary reader to meet and discuss current writing and to interact directly with writers they may or may not have read.
The weekend will be officially opened by Abbot of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman Benedictine monk, teacher, lecturer and writer. This will be followed by the showcasing of new work by composer Fiona Linnane, Contralto Sarah Ellen Murphy and writer Mary Coll who collaborated to create a song cycle based on themes and characters from Kate O’Brien’s novels. The accompanist as usual will be Limerick’s acclaimed Colette Davis.
Saturday morning will begin with Dr. Loic Guyon whose talk will look at the way love spoke its name through the ages in French literature.
This will be followed by sociologist Dr. Niahm Hourigan who will take a contemporary look at intimacy and integrity in post Celtic Tiger Ireland.
After the first coffee of the day, Poet Katherine Towers, who was recently named as the winner of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize will talk about how poetry surprises writers and readers.
After lunch, the well known Irish author, John Boyne who will read from his new novel The Absolutist
He will be followed by Frank McNally, well known journalist with the Irish Times, whose Irishman’s Diary can always leave you wondering how he knows what he knows!
Susie Boyt, novelist, columnist with the Financial Times and daughter of Lucian Freud, has published four novels. In the summer of 2003 she started writing a fortnightly fashion column called Consumer Culture for the Life and Arts section of the Weekend Financial Times. In 2006 the column became weekly and broadened its range from consumer culture to life in general and particular and like Frank McNally, can be moving, inspiring, funny and poetic.
The day will finish with a summary of all the speakers talks by Prof. Margaret Harper. Prof. Harper is particularly interested in the theme of the weekend and her inaugural lecture in UL in November 2011 was entitled – I heard her tell the story another way’: Vision and Play in Irish Studies.
Due to the huge demand for tickets for Sundays’ events, the Kate O’Brien Weekend will move to the new Lime Tree Theatre at Mary Immaculate College on South Circular Road in Limerick. The morning will begin with John Horgan presenting the lovely Music Miscellany that is now an integral part of the Kate O’Brien weekend. He will introduce audiences to the music that was contemporary during O’Brien’s life.
This will be followed by a lively discussion about one of O’Brien’s books, Mary Lavelle between two poets Vivienne McKechnie and Knute Skinner. The book Mary Lavelle, is about a beautiful young Irish woman, who travels to Spain to see some of the world before marrying her steadfast fiancé John. But despite the enchanting surroundings and her three charming charges, life as governess to the wealthy Areavaga family is lonely and she is homesick. Then comes the arrival of the family’s handsome, passionate – and married – son Juanito and Mary’s loyalties and beliefs are challenged. Falling in love with Juanito and with Spain, Mary finds herself at the heart of a family and a nation divided. Vivienne and Knute will bring this book to life in their discussion.
Limerick’s annual literary event continues to be popular even after 26 years and has over the years extended its programme to include opera, music and art. It is an important element of Limerick’s cultural calendar and is organised by passionate readers of contemporary literature. It provides a chance for learning and questioning and gives new and established writers an opportunity to discuss their work in direct contact with audiences. The weekend is funded by The Arts Council, Limerick City Council, O’Mahony’s Bookstore, The University of Limerick, Kleiser Pianos and many loyal local individuals and businesses over the years.
Helen Dunmore Orange Prize winner, in reflecting and thanking the committee for her participation in 2011 said ‘It is a huge amount of work to organise something on the scale of the Kate O’Brien weekend, and a real skill to do this while keeping the sense of exploration, exuberance and indeed serendipity’
The Kate O’Brien Weekend will continue to explore, be exuberant and welcome serendipitous opportunities.
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Tickets available from Belltable Arts Centre, tel : 061 310633 or