Festival Contributors

Festival Contributors

Enjoy the art of conversation, listen to musicians and appreciate film and theatre.

Dermot Bolger

This year’s festival is curated by

Born in Dublin in 1959, Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s best known writers. His most recent play, Last Orders at the Dockside, was staged by the Abbey Theatre in the 2019 Dublin Theatre Festival. His fourteen novels include The Journey Home, Tanglewood, The Lonely Sea and Sky, The Family on Paradise Pier and his just published, An Ark of Light. Bolger writes for Ireland’s leading newspapers, and in 2012 was named Commentator of the Year at the Irish Newspaper awards.

John Sheahan

one of Ireland’s
best-known musicians

John Sheahan is one of Ireland’s best known musicians. Born in Dublin in 1939, he was a member of The Dubliners from 1964 to 2012. He has played with musicians the world over and has guested on numerous folk, traditional and rock recordings. His own compositions, among them, The Marino Waltz and Autumn in Paris, have become essential elements of the Irish musical repertoire. Over the years, he has been in demand as a studio musician, and has contributed to the recordings of such artists as Kate Bush, Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton, Terence Trent D’Arby, and The André Rieu Orchestra.

John Minihan

world famous

John Minihan’s world famous photograph of having coffee with Beckett in a Paris cafe has become one of the iconic image of the twentieth century. In a rare public interview with Dermot Bolger, Minihan – one of Ireland’s most distinguished living photographers who is especially noted for his portraits of writers – discusses his friendship with Beckett, which started when he showed Beckett his famous photographs of the last ever wake to be held in his native Athy.

Joseph O’Connor

novelist, screenwriter,
playwright and broadcaster

Novelist, screenwriter, playwright and broadcaster, Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of nine novels including Star of the Sea, Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book novel 2011) and Shadowplay (June 2019). Among his awards are the Prix Zepter for European Novel of the Year, France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, an American Library Association Award and the Irish Pen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. Twice-Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey has written, ‘There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O’Connor is a wonder, and Shadowplay is a triumph.’

Christine Dwyer Hickey

one of Ireland’s
best-known writers

Christine Dwyer Hickey is one of Ireland’s best-known writers. She is the author of many novels, including The Cold Eye of Heaven that won the Irish Novel of the Year 2012 and nominated for the International IMPAC award; Tatty which was nominated for The Orange Prize and will be Dublin’s One City One Book choice for 2020. “Last Train from Liguria” was nominated for the Prix L’Européen de Littérature. Her work has been translated into many European languages. She will read from her latest novel, The Narrow Road, which is set in 1950 Cape Cod and deals with the marriage of the painters Edward and Jo Hopper.

Niamh Boyce

award winning author

Hennessy XO New Irish Writer of The Year in 2012, Niamh’s Boyce’s debut novel THE HERBALIST (Penguin), won Sunday Independent Debut of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and was nominated for an IMPAC. Her fiction and poetry have been broadcast, adapted for stage and anthologised, most recently in ‘The Long Gaze Back,’ ‘The Hennessy Anthology’ and ‘Hallelujah for 50 Foot Women.’ Her second novel, HER KIND (Penguin Random House) is based on the Kilkenny Witchcraft Trial of Alice Kytler. Nominated for the EU Prize for literature, the judges called Her Kind, ‘as searing a critique of our own times as is Arthur Millar’s The Crucible.

Manchán Magan

writer and documentary-

Manchán Magan is a writer and documentary-maker. He has written books on his travels in Africa, India and South America and two novels. He writes regularly for The Irish Times, reports on travel for various radio programmes, and has presented dozens of documentaries on issues of world culture for TG4, RTÉ & Travel Channel. He lives in his oak forest in a self-made hovel in Westmeath.

Sibéal Ní Chasaide

sean-nós singer

Sibéal, “A young woman of the new Ireland” (Irish Independent). Sibéal Ní Chasaide’s unique vocal qualities and singing style command attention wherever she appears. Her remarkable versatility in capturing mood her vocal technique with its rich overlay of sean-nós, makes her singing style immediately recognisable and unmistakable. Her album Sibeal , features a variety of songs sung both in Irish and English, with lush orchestrations by Irish composer Patrick Cassidy.

Enda Wyley

poet, teacher
and children’s author

Enda Wyley is a poet, teacher, and children’s author. She has published five collections of poetry with Dedalus Press; Borrowed Space, New and Selected Poems (2014), To Wake to This (2009), Poems for Breakfast (2004), Socrates in the Garden (1998), and Eating Baby Jesus (1993). A new sixth collection, The Painter on his Bike, is due from Dedalus Press 2019.

Wayne O’Connor


Wayne O’Connor is a Freelance illustrator based in Sligo. He works predominantly in Digital Mediums. His imagery is inspired by his interests in Mythology, Fantasy and Science Fiction games, film and literature.

Séan Ó Tuathaigh


Séan Ó Tuathaigh was born and raised in Sligo and has an MPhil in Creative Writing from TCD. Before that course, he taught English in Hanoi, Vietnam. After graduation, in 2016, he moved to the US for 18 months, where he worked as a refugee biographer in a resettlement agency and, following that experience, he wrote Outlanders.

Arthur Broomfield


Arthur Broomfield is a poet and Beckett scholar from Laois. His recent publications are his poetry collection Cold Coffee at Emo Court and The Empty Too. His poems have been widely published in Ireland, the UK and USA. Dr Broomfield was awarded his Ph.D in English literature by Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick in 2008.

John MacKenna


John MacKenna is the author of nineteen books (fiction, poetry and memoir); a dozen stage plays and four radio plays. He is a winner of the Irish Times; Hennessy and C Day Lewis Awards for literature and a Jacobs Radio Award for his documentary series with Leonard Cohen. He teaches creative writing at NUI Maynooth and lives in Co Carlow.

Paddy Fitzpatrick

singer, songwriter

Paddy Fitzpatrick is a prolific singer-songwriter of renown from Ballyfin, Laois. Paddy sings with a lived-in voice, a slightly husky more than a honeyed affair, in the vein of the great ballad singers of the 1960’s. Slieve Bloom Sean Nós captures the beauty and ruggedness of life in the Slieve Blooms.

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Festival Contributors

The Festival runs

in various locations in Portlaoise, Co Laois.

Tickets are on sale now at www.dunamaise.ie.

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