Writers and swimmers Chantal Thomas, Emily Hasler and artist and swimmer Vanessa Earl will be joined in conversation by William Keohane, as they dive into the connections between swimming and creativity, wild bodies of water, and writing. 

Chantal Thomas’s memoir, Memories of Low Tide, recounts a visit to her mother, a life-long swimmer, in a coastal town in France. Thomas embarks in a journey of self-discovery through the exploration of her surroundings, maritime geography, coastal culture and swimming. Emily Hasler’s latest poetry collection, Local Interest, tackles the rapid changes of rivers and landscapes as they face natural and manmade threats. These poems explore the south Suffolk and north Essex landscapes, and the connections between the permanent and the ephemeral, in both nature and life, in a world that feels at the brink of disaster. Vannesa Earl is currently working on a multidisciplinary collaboration called SALT, between the swimming community of Galway, musician Robbie Blake and poet Mary Madec, that celebrates our connection to the sea. 


Duration 1 hour

Chantal Thomas is a French writer, screenwriter and historian. She has taught literature in a number of American universities and is the author of over 20 books. In 2002 she won the Prix Femina for her novel Farewell, My Queen (2004), also adapted as a film by Benoit Jacquot. She received the Roger-Caillois and Prince de Monaco prizes for her entire work and was elected a member of the Académie Française in 2021. Memories of Low Tide , translated by Natasha Lehrer, (Pushkin Press, 2020) is her latest book.

Emily Hasler lives beside the River Stour on the border of Suffolk and Essex. In 2009 she won second prize in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including the Rialto, Poetry Salzburg, Warwick Review and Horizon Review, and have been anthologised in Dove Release, Birdbook, Clinic 2 and Herbarium. In 2014 received an Eric Gregory Award. The Built Environment, her critically-acclaimed first collection, was published in 2018. Local Interest, her latest poetry collection, will be published this year by Liverpool University Press.

Vanessa trained at the Parisian theatre school L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq after completing a degree in Drama and English at Liverpool University. During the last twenty years she has worked as an actor, theatre-maker, change maker and coach, working with companies such as The Clod Ensemble, the RSC and the National Theatre. Arts Participation and the power of personal story to create change strongly informs her practice. Currently she is developing a choric Ode in collaboration with composer Robbie Blake and poet Mary Madec, for her project SALT, inspired by personal stories from local sea swimmers and dippers.

William Keohane is a writer from Limerick, Ireland. His essays have been published in British GQ, Banshee, The Stinging Fly, and The Tangerine and his poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review and Queering the Green, an anthology of post-2000 Queer Irish poetry. He is the writer-in-residence at Ormston House.

Event Location

An Taibhdhearc

19 Middle St, Galway, H91 RX76

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The main auditorium is step free, and there are accessible toilet facilities. There are two accessible parking spaces either end of Middle Street and three spaces on Saint Augustine Street opposite. There is a Loop system. HEPA filter will be in use