“When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.” – James Joyce
The Irish are notorious writers – writers that have produced some of the most profound and beautiful works of literature, both in the English and Irish languages, and so it is, to me, befitting that Dublin finally holds a title for that honour.
Dublin Book Festival, 2011
I am convinced that, somewhere, at the very center of Dublin’s inner core, there is a book. Still clinging to her crown as UNESCO City of Literature 2010, Dublin has perhaps seen more than an average number of literary events in the past 6 months (though, really, literary events are about as ubiquitous in Dublin as pints of Guinness), culminating in next week’s Dublin Book Festival, taking place from March 2-6, 2011 in venues around Dublin.
Now in its fourth year, the Dublin Book Festival attracts some of the big wigs of the Irish publishing industry, as well as, of course, hordes of book nerds from all over the place who just want to get in on a little of that Irish literary magic. The Dublin Book Festival’s events range from book launches and readings to lectures (“Dublin, Its Place in Poetry” looks particularly interesting to me), workshops and lots of activities and readings for children and young adults – a growing fiction genre in Ireland and around the world.
To me, one of the main draws of attending the Dublin Book Festival – aside from getting an insider’s perspective on Irish literature, of course – is the chance to visit some of Dublin’s wonderful literary and historical sites, which serve as venues for the fest. For instance, the gorgeous National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street will host several discussions (including “Dublin, Its Place in Literature with Irish Times critic Eileen Battersby, poet Anthony Cronin and novelist Dermot Bolger), and historic Dublin City Hall. The charming Gutter Bookshop will also host a few discussions, as will Cube at the Project Arts Centre and the Mercantile Hotel.
Exploring Literary Dublin
If you’re going to miss out on the Dublin Book Festival this year, don’t worry, there are plenty of other bookish events going on in the city throughout the year. For instance, the Dublin Writers Festival 2011 takes place from May 23-29, 2011, with more a focus on Irish writers and less on the Book Festival’s industry take.
And even on any given week in Dublin, there is going to be some selection of readings and lectures going on around town – Dublin Tourism keeps a good list. Or you could opt to see a famous Irish play, of which there is bound to be one happening at one of the many cultural stage venues around the city. The Abbey Theatre is a great place to start, as is the Samuel Beckett Theatre at Trinity College.
And of course, don’t forget to visit the Dublin Writers Museum, which pays very appropriate homage to all of the amazing authors that have called Dublin home.