As the 2017 Cúirt International Festival of Literature draws to another highly successful close, Galway Arts Centre has appointed Emily Cullen as the new Programme Director of the festival. Emily, who earned a Ph.D. in English from NUI Galway in 2008, has a wealth of experience in arts programming and cultural management. Originally a native of Carrick-on-Shannon, she has been based in Galway since commencing her BA in the early 1990s. She began her career when she worked as theatre administrator with the professional Irish language theatre company, Amharclann de hIde in Dublin in the late 1990s. Subsequently, Emily was the inaugural Arts Officer of NUI Galway. During her tenure she founded the annual Múscailt festival, curated talks on contemporary art, brought a diversity of artists to the university campus – from Abbey theatre productions to a Belfast breakdance crew – and helped to create a thriving arts culture at NUI Galway. Emily was also Programme Director of the national Patrick Kavanagh Centenary celebrations in 2004, during which she initiated a national ‘Kavanagh Day’ of readings, the Raglan Road festival and many other cross-disciplinary events. The author of two poetry collections: In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013) and No Vague Utopia (Ainnir Publishing, 2003), Emily is also a writer, harper and scholar who has given international recitals and lectures on Irish literature and Creative Writing.

“All in the Cúirt team are delighted to have someone of Ms Cullen’s knowledge and experience on board” says Páraic Breathnach, Managing Director of Galway Arts Centre and Producer of Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

Cullen, who takes up her appointment on 8 May, says: ‘The Cúirt Festival has enriched and deepened my literary insight through the years, bringing great joy and memories of inspiring readings and events. It has been exciting to watch Cúirt develop into the expansive and truly international festival it is now. I’m honoured to be taking over as Programme Director at an especially exciting time as the festival enters its thirty-third year and as Galway advances towards its status as the European City of Culture in 2020.”