Venue: Temple Gate Hotel
Date: Friday, 04 March at 14.00
€10/€5 (students)

Marita Conlon-McKenna opens Festival proceedings this year with a reading and discussion of her new novel due for publication this spring. Set in 1916, Rebel Sisters, tells the story of the three Gifford sisters, Grace, Muriel and Nelly, each of whom found herself caught up in her country’s struggle for freedom. Muriel fell in love with writer Thomas McDonagh, artist Grace meets the enigmatic Joseph Plunkett, and Nellie joins the Citizen Army and takes up arms, fighting alongside Countess Constance Markievicz. Hear all about them when Marita reads from and discusses her new novel at the 2016 Ennis Book Club Festival opening event.

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Venue: Temple Gate Hotel
Date: Friday, 04 March at 15.00

Virginia Woolf’s The Hours connects three women over three different time periods and explores the complex relationship between author and reader. Clare Youth Theatre, under the direction of Theatre Artist Eleanor Feely, conceived the piece in 2013, with Theo Hynan Radcliffe, a member of the youth theatre, adapting the script. The youth theatre, in turn, refined and worked on the production towards this performance. The piece provides a fitting prelude to Dr Anne Byrne’s fascinating discussion of Virginia Woolf’s husband’s subsequent pen friendship with Dublin housewife, Nancy Nolan.

Free Event

Venue: Temple Gate Hotel
Date: Friday, 04 March at 15.30

Dr Anne Byrne, NUIG, gives a fascinating insight into the early letters of Nancy Nolan, Dublin housewife and fan of author Virginia Woolf, to Virginia’s husband Leonard Woolf (1943-1944). Nancy’s admiration for the life and literature of Virginia Woolf first prompted her unsolicited four-page letter to Leonard in 1943, two years after the death of Virginia. The correspondence that ensued offers a keen insight into her own love of literature and to women’s lives in mid-20th-century Ireland.

Free Event

Venue: glór
Date: Friday, 04 March at 18.00
€22*

Join us for the official Opening of the Festival and of HOPE at the glór gallery. HOPE is the result of an open call to Cork, Limerick, and Galway printmakers to respond to the theme of HOPE – selected by Michael Byrne. Music provided by Music Generation Clare.

*Opening Events Package (includes copies of Penguin Debuts)

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Venue: glór
Date: Friday, 04 March at 19.00
€22*

Meet two Penguin Debuts — Vanessa Ronan and Kit de Waal. Both are to be published in summer 2016. Ronan’s Last Days of Summer has been recommended by Professor Joseph O’Connor as “a seriously gripping debut from a major talent”.   Kit de Waal’s My Name Is Leon, in turn, has been chosen by The Guardian as one to watch for 2016. Get your hands on a free copy of both novels, exclusively at glór, on Festival opening night.

This session will be hosted by Liz Nolan, Lyric FM.

*Opening Events Package (includes copies of Penguin Debuts)

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Venue: glór
Date: Friday, 04 March at 20.00
€22*

We are delighted to welcome Marian Keyes in conversation with Fiona Looney. Marian needs no introduction as a novelist, columnist, and hugely entertaining and insightful panellist. Join us in glór as she and Fiona discuss her insights on life, love, and cake — just in time for the publication of Marian’s new collection of essays Making it Up as I go Along.

This event is kindly supported by the Old Ground Hotel.

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Venue: Old Ground Hotel
Date: Friday, 04 March at 22.30
€5 on the door if not part of the Opening Events package

The Singing Café is an award-winning musical extravaganza of popular songs from the work of James Joyce. Devised and performed by Darina Gallagher and Sinéad Murphy, Songs of Joyce, captures the music of Joyce’s Dublin through a theatrical soundscape of parlour song and music hall, to bawdy ballads, sea-song and folksong. Encompassing the cheeky `Seaside Girls', the nostalgic `Love's Old Sweet Song', the pertinent `The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo' and the beauty of Michael Balfe's `I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls'.