In 2020, many of our most basic assumptions about connecting with each other have been profoundly challenged. In a time when physical contact is no longer safe, or when we are stranded from those we love, or when the electric charge of a first touch with someone new is indefinitely postponed, what we might once have taken for granted takes on new meaning. 

Join us for the opening night of our 2021 festival where we will be joined by writers, thinkers, storytellers and musicians, reflecting on their experiences of finding, losing, and maintaining connection throughout the past year.

Our MC for the evening, Louise Bruton, will join Lisa McInerney, storyteller and writer Oein DeBhairduin, non-fiction writer and mental health advocate Arnold Thomas Fanning, TikTok sensation and writer Una-Minh Kavanagh , songwriter Maija Sofia, and data scientist and PENxCommmon Currency Writer in Residence Suad Aldarra for what will be a diverse and fascinating snapshot of life in Ireland during the strangest year of our lives. 

Oein DeBhairduin is a creative soul with a passion for poetry and preserving the literature of the Travelling Community. He is a board member of several Mincéirí community groups, including the Irish Traveller Movement and Mincéir Whidden. By pairing activism with cultural celebration, he recalls old tales with modern connections.

Úna-Minh Kavanagh is a Gaeilgeoir from Co. Kerry. Her book, Anseo, is about growing up in Kerry, the Irish language, identity and racism in 2019. Úna-Minh now edits and is a member of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Anti-Racism Committee. She also live-streams broadcasts in both English and as Gaeilge.

Suad Aldarra is a Syrian storyteller, data scientist, and software engineer based in Dublin, Ireland. Suad is the PENxCommon Currency Writer in Residence for the festival and is currently writing a book about home and identity after being long-listed for the Penguin Random House WriteNow 2020 programme.

Maija Sofia Makela is an artist from Co. Galway who works through music, performance and text in order to explore myth and mysticism; her debut album Bath Time was nominated for the RTÉ Choice Award Irish Album of the Year. She received a Next Generation Bursary for music in 2020 and is artist in residence at Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh.

Lisa McInerney‘s debut novel The Glorious Heresies was published in 2015 and went on to win the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize. The Blood Miracles, was published in 2017 and the third book in the trilogy, The Rules of Revelation, will be released in May 2021.

Arnold Thomas Fanning was born in London and raised in Dublin. His stage plays include the acclaimed McKenna’s Fort. Mind on Fire is his first book.

This is a live broadcast event. It will not have a Q&A.

Event Location

Online (YouTube)

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