by Emily O’Brien, Cuirt Production and Administration Assistant
Cúirt International Festival of Literature is still going strong. What began as a vital, small space for poets and readers from the west of Ireland grew into a worldwide exploration of what it means to read, write and love books. Now in its 36th year, the festival has featured many renowned writers, such as Seamus Heaney, Edna O’Brien, Patrick McCabe and Eavan Boland.
Cúirt is part of the rich culture Galway is famous for; the giant pencils which stand outside Tigh Neachtain’s every year are an indicator not only that the city’s annual literary festival is about to begin, but that spring has officially sprung – a welcome sight after a winter spent bundled up, reading and waiting for the sun to come out again.
Like many events, launches and festivals, Cúirt went digital in 2020, and what it lost being unable to bring people together around the city of Galway, it gained in becoming much more accessible.
This year’s festival is no different. Cúirt has put together a broad, diverse line-up, bringing authors and readers together via online broadcasts of both pre-recorded events and live events with Q&As, along with Zoom webinars with some of the world’s (and Ireland’s) most prestigious writers. This, along with a pay-what-you-can ticketing system, subsidised places for paid events, and a range of options for those with access requirements, is a tireless effort to make sure that the 2021 programme can be enjoyed by as many book-lovers as possible.
With authors like Marian Keyes, Maggie Nelson and Viet Thanh Ngyuen, as well as dazzling debuts from Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal, Roisin Kiberd and Derek Owusu, it’s a stellar line-up for 2021. Programmed events feature writers like Emma Dabiri, Blindboy Boatclub and Caelainn Hogan, who have shed new light on the Irish cultural scene, as well as those that foster conversations about representation and the culture of identity, like Disability Visibility and Finding Ourselves: Writing through the Queer Archive.
Cúirt will be introducing first-timers to its line-up as well as continuing to uphold emerging writers and publishers with events like the New Writing Showcase and the launch of ROPES Literary Journal.
This is just a small insight to the incredible programme that Cúirt has put together for its audience, which has become bigger than ever, and a great comfort in the wake of a global crisis.
The Cúirt International Festival of Literature will be held this year from the 21st to the 25th of April. The programme brochure can be found on their website: https://www.cuirt.ie/whats-on/