Son of Michael Hartnett to be keynote speaker at festival in Limerick

Michael Hartnett

Éigse Michael Hartnett 2018 will offer a rich and varied programme during the annual three-day literary and arts festival which runs in Newcastle West from 12 – 14 April.

Established to honour the work and literary legacy of one of the Co. Limerick’s most famous sons, the poet Michael Hartnett who died in 1999, Éigse Michael Hartnett has developed into a warm, friendly, intimate and stimulating festival which often surprises.
And this year’s offering is no different, with a number of new additions to the programme.
Among those taking part this year will be novelists John Boyne and Mike McCormack, author and academic Declan Kiberd, poets Robyn Rowland, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Edward O’Dwyer and Patrick Moran with musical contributions from singer songwriter Emma Langford, the Capricio String Quartet and Limerick’s Yukeladies.
This year is also special because we will be joined in our celebrations by Michael’s family and his son Niall will deliver the key opening address.
Éigse 2018 seeks to explore and celebrate the link between Michael Hartnett, food, cooking and the kitchens he survived in Lower Maiden Street, Camas and further afield. We will celebrate Hartnett and his love of food or at least of cooking.
His good friend and fellow poet Tony Curtis once noted about Hartnett: “While I couldn’t say he loved eating, he did love cooking”. And as the late poet and essayist, Denis O’Driscoll noted of Michael: “His tastes in poetry, as in food, could range far beyond Munster.”
A special event entitled ‘Pulled Pork and Poetry’ will feature a cookery demonstration by award-winning chef, Tom Flavin, Executive Chef at the Limerick Strand Hotel with appropriate readings from Michael Hartnett’s poetry by Edward O’Dwyer.
A poetry workshop with Robyn Rowland and aimed at adults is another new feature on this year’s programme. Robyn will also work with students in the town’s two second-level schools.
And in an interesting collaboration with the Newcastle West Film Society, there will be a screening of the film, Song of Granite, featuring the legendary singer Joe Heaney.

Éigse 2018 is also collaborating this year with the HearSay Creative Audio Festival in Kilfinane to bring Cluas Eile, a surprising journey into the power and magic of the spoken work, which can be taken via a four-door installation in the Square.
A key feature of any Éigse however is the awarding of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award on opening night. Two previous winners of the award, Jo Slade and James Harpur, are this year’s judges and there has been a huge submission.
The award carries a purse of €4,000.
Éigse Michael Hartnett will be officially launched by Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary on Thursday 12 April at a public event in Newcastle West Library.
The winner of this year’s Michael Hartnett Poetry Award will receive the award that evening also and Michael’s son Niall Hartnett will deliver the opening address.
Established in 2000 by Limerick County Council and funded jointly by Limerick City and County Council and the Arts Council, the award marks Michael Hartnett’s contribution to literature in English and Irish.
The Michael Hartnett Poetry Award is awarded in alternate years to books of poetry in the Irish and English language.

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