2019 Events


Kildare Readers Festival Launch Event

Introducing Kildare's recently appointed Writers-in-Residence Annemarie Ní Churreáin and Sue Rainsford, who will read from their work and talk about their writing and hopes for their Kildare residency.

  • When: Monday, September 30th – 7pm
  • Where: Woodbine Books, Kilcullen | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: No booking is required for this event.

Orla McAlinden and Lynn Buckle: Outliers: Women in Contemporary Fiction

Orla McAlinden and Lynn Buckle: the vet and the activist. This lively discussion will feature readings from two of Ireland’s top female writers in their respective fields of historical fiction and literary activism. Hear about their campaigns, research, and writing methods as they discuss women in contemporary fiction, women’s struggles of the past and present, and the moral duty of literary novels.

  • When: Tuesday, October 1st – 7pm
  • Where: Naas Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Book Launch: Timeless in Kildare - Ink Tank Creative Writing Group

Newbridge Community Library's resident creative writing group Ink Tank launch their debut prose and poetry collection. The launch will include readings from the book and refreshments. The book will be available to purchase on the night.

  • When: Friday, October 4th – 7pm
  • Where: Newbridge Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Protest Writing Workshop with Lynn Buckle

Identify a cause or issue and learn how to effectively integrate it into your fiction or poetry. Practise your writing skills as you learn how to execute your fiction or poetry on a social action model. Discover new writing techniques and ways to share your ideas with a wider society.

This workshop is suitable for all genres and any level of writing ability. Topics covered include defining your cause and aims, finding the hook and the story, research, allies, ethics and getting heard.

  • When: Saturday, October 5th – 10am
  • Where: Kildare Town Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

The Muskerry Queen of Song

Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin is one of the most important historical figures in Irish traditional music. Bhí mórthionchar ag a hamhráin agus a stíl amhránaíochta ar na glúnta d'amhránaithe Éireannacha agus Gaelacha. Bíodh agus gur chaith sí a saol go léir sa Ghaeltacht i mBaile Bhuirne ar theorainn Chorcaí agus Chiarraí, her notoriety spread far and wide from the late 1940s onwards when songs recorded by Seamus Ennis were played on the BBC series As I Roved Out. Subsequent recordings by the renowned American ethnomusicologist, Alan Lomax, cemented her reputation.

Tabharfaidh an craoltóir Donal Dineen trí a saol agus a hoidhreacht muid in the company of her granddaughter and renowned singer Eilish Ní Thuama, plus a special guest sean–nós singer, and Kildare native, Eithne Ní Chatháin.

The Muskerry Queen of Song was put together and first presented as part of St. Patrick's Festival 2019.

  • When: Saturday, October 5th – 7pm
  • Where: Renehan Hall, South Campus, Maynooth University | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Pickings and Choosings: Celebrating the Work of Dennis O’Driscoll

Join us on a new guided walk to celebrate the work of Poet, Essayist and Critic, Dennis O’Driscoll. En route, you can enjoy readings from Dennis’ work which includes nine collections of poetry including; essays, literary quotations and notably Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney. All walkers will be invited to read their own favourite pieces while enjoying refreshments at Maudlins Hotel afterwards. Parking at Maudlins Hotel or at Monread Park/Monread Centre. All welcome.

  • When: Sunday, October 6th – 11am
  • Where: Meet at the Dublin Road entrance to Naas Racecourse | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: No booking is required for this event.

Michael Mullan Cancer Fund Writing Competition - Prize-Giving Event

The winners of the annual writing competition in aid of the Michael Mullan Cancer Fund will be selected by; Martin Malone, Caroline Farrell and John MacKenna and winners announced at this special event in Newbridge Community Library. Prizes will be awarded for Short Story, Flash Fiction and Poetry, and a selection of the winning entries will be read aloud. All welcome.

See michaelmullancancerfund.com for further details.

  • When: Wednesday, October 9th – 7pm
  • Where: Newbridge Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: No booking is required for this event.

Short Story Panel

Maynooth Community Library will host a stimulating panel on the world of short stories with three eminent authors in the field. Joining us for the discussion will be Lucy Sweeney Byrne, John Mackenna and a special guest.

  • When: Wednesday, October 9th – 7.30pm
  • Where: Maynooth Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Irish Folk Tales with Steve Lally

In this session of Storytelling Steve Lally will weave a series of tales from his native County Kildare. He will introduce you to ‘The Kildare Pooka’, ‘The Wizard Earl’ of Kildare and ‘Moll Anthony - The Wise Woman of Kildare’. He will also tell tales of Dan Donnelly ‘The King of the Curragh’, the Banshee-like ‘White Lady of Kildare’, Auld Nick himself and a few more surprises too.

  • When: Thursday, October 10th – 6pm
  • Where: Athy Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Kilcullen Library and Woodbine Books present Patricia Gibney

Kilcullen Library in association with Woodbine Books is excited to present a special evening with Mullingar author, Patricia Gibney. Patricia is a successful crime novelist whose work includes the police procedurals The Missing Ones, The Stolen Girls, The Lost Child, and No Safe Place.

  • When: Thursday, October 10th – 6pm
  • Where: Woodbine Books, Kilcullen | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Writing for Wellbeing - Workshop with Mari Gallagher

In this workshop with Mari Gallagher (Becoming a Mother: Reflections on Adoptive Parenthood) everyone is equal as a writer, irrespective of previous writing experience. The inner critic is silenced and words are encouraged to flow onto paper, inspired by a variety of writing exercises. People who journal regularly experience improvement in both physical and mental health. Allowing the inner scribe to run free removes writer’s block and releases creativity. Please bring notebook and a pen.

  • When: Friday, October 11th – 2pm
  • Where: Athy Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Duality - Book Launch

Writer Shauna Gilligan and Artist Margo McNulty began their collaborative process when they met whilst residing in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig. From there the pair continued their joint exploration of the concepts of shrinking buildings and land memory in The Curragh. Throughout the project they visited the area together at various times of the day in order to capture the changing landscape and to allow the structure of their collaboration to evolve and emerge.

From their responses to The Curragh, collaboration was born in the form of yet another new narrative, and the result is Duality. Shauna and Margo will launch Duality (Redfox Press) at the Kildare Readers’ Festival in Kildare Town Library with a reading and Q&A session.

  • When: Friday, October 11th – 7pm
  • Where: Kildare Town Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

The KRF Book Brunch with Hazel Gaynor and Antoinette Tyrrell, in conversation with Margaret Madden

Margaret Madden (book blogger at BleachhouseLibrary) will be joined by Kildare authors, Hazel Gaynor (The Girl from Savoy, The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter) and Antoinette Tyrrell (Home to Cavendish) for a light afternoon conversation about their work and writing historical fiction with complimentary brunch served to our audience.

  • When: Saturday, October 12th – 12noon
  • Where: Leixlip Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Mythology and Me with Lynn Buckle

Enjoy a visual and literary feast in this richly illustrated talk on Greek mythology, the ancients in contemporary literature, and the artistic influences on the work of author Lynn Buckle in her novel The Groundsmen (époque press, 2018). Identity, gender and power inform her work and writing and can be traced back to the epic tales of the ancients. Sit back and enjoy an evening of art, mythology and readings, followed by Q&A.

  • When: Tuesday, October 15th – 7pm
  • Where: Maynooth Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Movie Night: The Wind that Shakes the Barley, with discussion by Liz Gillis

This year Kildare Readers’ Festival embarks on a new venture - Movie Night will explore famous books, events or themes through the medium of film. For 2019 we have teamed up with the County Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee to screen Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley, a somewhat controversial exploration of the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War.

Author and historian, Liz Gillis will be in attendance to discuss her book on the Hales Brothers from Cork, whose story mirrors that of the central characters of the film, Damien and Teddy O'Donovan. Lord Edward's Own from Monasterevin will police the theatre, so beware and be sure to be on time! Patrons are encouraged to wear period costume!


When All Is Said: An evening with Anne Griffin, in conversation with Henrietta McKervey

Celbridge Library looks forward to welcoming Anne Griffin for an evening of discussion about her debut novel When All Is Said. Anne Griffin will be in conversation with acclaimed author, Henrietta McKervey (What Becomes Of Us, The Heart of Everything).

  • When: Thursday, October 17th – 7pm
  • Where: Celbridge Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Dachau to the Dolomites - with author Tom Wall

Tom Wall will talk about his first book, Dachau to the Dolomites: The Untold Story of the Irishmen, Himmler’s Special Prisoners and the End of WWII. It concerns a dramatic but little-known story of a group of prominent Nazi SS hostages transported from various concentration camps to a remote Alpine valley in the final days of the Third Reich. Five Irishmen were among the 160 prisoners whom Himmler and other SS leaders attempted to use as barter to save the regime or, as a final resort, themselves. Theirs is an astonishing and epic tale encompassing heroic endurance, escape, betrayal, tragedy and love.

  • When: Thursday, October 17th – 8pm
  • Where: Newbridge Community Library | Directions
  • Reserve a Place: Email | Phone

Douglas Kennedy in conversation with Rick O’Shea

Kildare Readers’ Festival presents a special event honouring acclaimed writer Douglas Kennedy, international bestselling author of The Big Picture, The Pursuit of Happiness, and The Heat of Betrayal. Douglas will discuss his successful career with radio personality and noted champion of literature, Rick O’Shea. Rick has previously curated the Imagine Arts Festival and has hosted multiple Irish book festivals.


Ten Books with Stefanie Preissner and Ferdia Mac Anna

Join us for the ever popular Ten Books You Should Read! Our two guests will select five books each that they would recommend and delve into the stories to illustrate why we should give them a try.


Joseph O Connor, Kit De Waal and Henrietta McKervey

The Kildare Readers’ Festival is delighted to welcome back celebrated novelist, screenwriter, and playwright Joseph O'Connor (Star of the Sea, Ghost Light, Shadowplay), who will be joined by Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2017 winner Kit De Waal (My Name is Leon, The Trick to Time) for a discussion moderated by acclaimed author Henrietta McKervey (What Becomes Of Us, The Heart of Everything). Fans of literary fiction will be treated to an in-depth discussion on various aspects of the working author, including; crafting characters, creating temporal settings, weaving narratives and their thoughts on the writing life.


The First Page: Writing That Compelling Opening to Your Next Short Story

Pauline Clooney, founder of the Kildare Writing Centre, will lead a workshop about 'openings' and how to make sure that the reader turns the first page and continues with your story. Using a guided free-write as a stimulus, the group will explore the elements of craft expected on the first page of a story, culminating in an opening to their next short story. All levels of experience welcome.


Persona Poetry Workshop with Christodoulos Makris

Participants will be guided by Christodoulos Makris to make use of public texts to compose poetry in the personae of a range of current figures. This is a fun and interactive workshop, with the techniques employed adaptable to writing other kinds of poetry. Participants will also create an 'exquisite corpse' (a communally composed poem). Christodoulos is acclaimed as one of the leading practitioners of experimental poetry. All levels of experience welcome.


Hot Off The Press: Workshop Sharing & Dennis O'Driscoll Literary Awards presentation

Join the participants from 'The First Page' and 'Persona Poetry' workshops led by Pauline Clooney and Christodoulus Makris for a sharing of work created that very afternoon - so 'hot off the press' that it might burn your fingers!

We will also present the prestigious Dennis O'Driscoll Literary Bursary awards 2019 to an emerging and professional writer from County Kildare. Come and meet the awardees who will read some of their work, adjudicated by Alan McMonagle, while remembering Dennis O'Driscoll - regarded as one of the best European poets of his time.


Holy Show presents Minor Monuments: a live audio-visual essay with Ian Maleney

Set around a small family farm on the edge of a bog, a few miles from the river Shannon, Minor Monuments is a live audio-visual essay unfolding from the landscape of the Irish midlands. Taking in the physical and philosophical power of sound and music, and the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a family, Ian Maleney questions the nature of home, memory, and the complex nature of belonging.

The show weaves live reading with voice recordings, music, the ambient sound of the landscape from Ian’s home place, and original film footage shot by Jamie Goldrick.

A thought-provoking and quietly devastating meditation on family and loss, Minor Monuments is a beautiful and unique literary experience. Based on the widely acclaimed book of the same name published by the unstoppable hit-makers, Tramp Press.


Something Wicked This Way Comes with Niamh Boyce, Stacey Halls and Martina Devlin

'Tis the season of Samhain and the Kildare Readers’ Festival will celebrate with an exciting panel discussion examining the depiction and characterisation of witches within the canon of literature. Whether it's horror fiction or historical non-fiction, Witches and Wiccan culture have provided rich material for authors and scholars throughout the years. On hand for a riveting discourse on the topic will be acclaimed novelists Stacey Halls (The Familiars), Niamh Boyce (The Herbalist, Her Kind), and Martina Devlin (Truth & Dare, About Sisterland, The House Where It Happened).


Sunday Morning Sessions with Dermot Bolger and John Boyne

Kildare Readers’ Festival is elated that Dermot Bolger (An Ark of Light, The Family on Paradise Pier) will return to our ever popular Sunday Morning Sessions for a relaxed and intimate conversation with acclaimed novelist and short story writer, John Boyne (The Hearts Invisible Furies, The Absolutist, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas). In a not-to-be-missed pairing, Dermot will provide an insight into John Boyne’s work and life experience that has led to his success.


Emilie Pine and Arnold Fanning in conversation with Emily Hourican

The Kildare Readers’ Festival welcomes a duo of celebrated Irish authors, Emilie Pine (Notes to Self) and Arnold Thomas Fanning (Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery), for a candid panel discussion on the most intimate of literature endeavours: memoirs. This event will be moderated by author and magazine editor, Emily Hourican (How to Really Be a Mother).