Nick Middleton

Nick MiddletonNick Middleton is a geographer, writer and presenter of television documentaries. He teaches at Oxford University where he is a Fellow of St Anne’s College.

He is the author of seven travel books, including the 2001 bestseller, Going to Extremes (Pan) and its follow-ups Surviving Extremes (Pan, 2004) and Extremes along the Silk Road (J Murray, 2006). Each of these sets of adventures, which looked at some of the world’s least hospitable environments and those who live there, was filmed as a major television series, which he wrote and presented for Channel 4 in the UK and National Geographic Channel in most other parts of the world. His most recent series, Britain’s Worst Weather (tx February 2007), is also for Channel 4.

A Royal Geographical Society award-winning writer, Nick’s interests span the entire subject of geography. He also works, teaches and communicates on a wide variety of environmental issues for a broad range of audiences, from policy-makers to five year-old children. His books in these areas include The Global Casino: An Introduction to Environmental Issues, and the UN Environment Programme’s World Atlas of Desertification.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Alexandra Tolstoy

Alexandra TolstoyAlexandra Tolstoy received an MA (Hons) in Russian from the University of Edinburgh. After graduating she was accepted on the graduate training scheme at Credit Suisse First Boston, as an Eastern European equities broker. However, this life was not for her and she resigned after a year and spent the next couple of years working and travelling abroad. During this time she and a friend spent six weeks walking the old Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route through Spain.

Alexandra is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 1999 she was a member of the team that completed the Silk Road Expedition. An eight-month journey, travelling solely by horse and camel, this expedition retraced 5,000 miles of one of the former trading routes that make up the ancient Silk Road. The expedition received extensive coverage in the British press and Alexandra wrote a book on the journey, The Last Secrets of the Silk Road, commissioned by the English publisher Profile. It was published in March 2003 and came out in paperback in March 2004. It has also been published in America, Italy and Holland.

After the Silk Road Expedition Alexandra moved to Moscow, where she wrote her book and continued to travel in Central Asia. In 2002 Alexandra and a friend rode 3,000 miles on horseback through Mongolia and Siberia. On this and the Silk Road Expedition Alexandra was accompanied by Shamil Galimzyanov, a Russian show-jumper from Uzbekistan, and in September 2003 they were married in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in London. Together they now organise riding holidays in Central Asia, selling them through the British travel agent Wild and Exotic.

Shamil and Alexandra began a third expedition in April 2004, riding Akhal Teke horses from Turkmenistan to Moscow. The aim was to retrace an expedition undertaken by 28 Turkmen riders in 1935, who rode the 2,700-mile journey in an incredible 84 days. Due to foot and mouth disease in Russia they were unable to complete the expedition that year, but they resumed it from the Kazakh/Russian border in late 2006, riding into Moscow’s Red Square on November 16th. Alexandra has received a second contract from Profile to write an account of the journey, to be titled The Horses of Heaven.

Alexandra and Shamil currently live in Moscow, where Alexandra is writing her book, as well as working as an interior designer. She also works for BDI, a brand development company that assists European companies wishing to develop their business in the former Soviet Union. Her latest client is Yo! Sushi, the successful British restaurant chain, for whom Alexandra has secured a Russian franchise partner.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Jon Halliday

Jon Halliday is a historian of Russia and was a former Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London. Halliday authored a biography of filmmaker Douglas Sirk, and has written and edited seven other books. He and his wife, Jung Chang, live in Notting Hill, west London. Together they researched and wrote the highly critical biography of Mao Zedong, Mao: the Unknown Story.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Jung Chang

Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British writer, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in mainland China.

Her 832-page biography of Mao Zedong, Mao: The Unknown Story, written with her husband, the British Soviet historian Jon Halliday, was published in June 2005 and is a highly critical description of Mao Zedong’s life and work.

Web Site:

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website

Paul Clements

Paul ClementsPaul Clements is the author of four travel books about Ireland, as well as works of biography and criticism, and is a contributing writer to three guidebooks to Ireland. His latest book, Wandering Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way: From Banba’s Crown to World’s End (2016) is based on a journey along the west coast by car and bike, on horseback and on foot. Burren Country: Travels through an Irish limestone landscape is a collection of essays described as a love letter to the Burren published in 2011 by the Collins Press. The Height of Nonsense: The Ultimate Irish Road Trip (2005) and Irish Shores, A Journey Round the Rim of Ireland (1993) have both been reprinted in 2016. Paul’s acclaimed biography on the travel writer, actor and singer Richard Hayward, Romancing Ireland, was published in 2014 by Lilliput Press and adapted for BBC television. He has written and edited two books about the travel writer and historian Jan Morris. In 2012, he edited an anthology The Blue Sky Bends Overall, a celebration of ten years of the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. A regular contributor to The Irish Times, he has written many ‘Irishman’s Diaries’ on cultural life and heritage, and reviews Irish local history books.

Join Paul Clements on a meandering journey through a quarter century of travelling and writing about the changing face of modern Ireland. For his latest book, Wandering Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Paul retraced the footsteps of his first travel book of 1991 based on a coastal hitchhike. In an illustrated talk, he reflects on the social, cultural and physical changes that have taken place in that time: the new landscape of wind turbines and phone masts, the fact that extreme weather is the new normal, and that coffee is the new wine. We learn about the Celtic seagod who was a swashbuckling companion on his journey, hear about the Power of Three, and his trip through LSD; and just who uses phone boxes these days? Looking back from the second decade of this century, the past – even the recent past – seems a foreign country where things were done differently.

Twitter: @clementswriting

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Liam Ó Muirthile

Liam Ó MuirthileLiam Ó Muirthile was born in Cork city in 1950, the first of nine children. He attended Clochar na Toirbhirte, Scoil Chríost Rí and Coláiste Chríost Rí. He has spent time in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht since he was in secondary school. Liam then went to UCC on a City Corporation scholarship. He spent a year in France during this time and went on to get a BA in French and Irish. Seán Ó Riordáin and Seán Ó Riada were very influential in UCC at this time and Seán Ó Tuama was Professor of Irish. Michael Davitt, Nuala Ní Dhomhaill and Gabriel Rosenstock were contemporary students of Irish and they launched the acclaimed poetry publication Innti.

In 1972 Liam left Cork and made his way to Dublin. After a brief stint in Gael-Linn he moved on to RTÉ. He was a full-time member of the news-staff from 1973 to 1991, working on radio and television. He left RTÉ in 1991 to devote his time to creative writing in Irish. He has been a full-time writer and freelance journalist since then. He contributed a weekly column to The Irish Times from 1989 to 2003.

His first collection of poetry was Tine Chnámh and it received the Ó Riordáin Prize at the Oireachtas. He was presented with the Irish-American Cultural Foundation Prize (1984), the Butler Award (1996), the Arts Council Prize (2001) and Gradam Chló Iar-Chonnacht (2000) for his poetry collection Walking Time and Other Poems.

Liam is also a dramatist. Amharclann de híde produced his play Tine Chnámh in Dublin in 1993, Fear an Tae was produced in the Andrews Lane Theatre in 1995 and Liodán na hAbhann in 2000. His novel Ar Bhruach na Laoi won the major fiction award in the Oireachtas (1995). Liam is a member of Aosdána and lives in Dublin.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Nick Danziger

Nick DanzigerNick was born in London but grew up in Monaco and Switzerland. He developed a taste for adventure and travel from a young age, and, inspired by the comic strip Belgian reporter Tintin, took off on his first trip to Paris aged 13. Without passport or air ticket he managed to enter the country and travel around, selling sketches to make money. Nick’s initial ambition was to be an artist, and he attended art school, got an MA and representation from a gallery. But his desire to travel remained – he applied and was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship in 1982 and used it to follow traditional ancient trade routes – he travelled on foot or traditional local transport from Turkey to China and documented his adventures in his diaries. The diaries formed his first book, the best selling Danziger’s Travels, and he never looked back.

He has since travelled around the world taking photographs and in 1991 made his first documentary in Afghanistan, War Lives and Videotape, based on children abandoned in the Marstoon mental asylum in Kabul. It was shown as part of the BBC’s video diaries and won the Prix Italia for best television documentary series. Nick has since travelled the world taking photographs and making documentaries about people he has met. He has published four books, including his latest, ‘The British’, for which he returned to his roots.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

Donald Brady

Donald Brady Author

Donald Brady is a former County Librarian, historian and author of numerous historical books. He will speak on Gerald Villierstown Stuart (1869-1951): Author, Politician and Businessman.

Donald has delivered a paper at every festival since 2005. Donald never disappoints.

Donald Brady was born in Cavan and obtained his B.A. in History and English at Maynooth. He was County Librarian for County Waterford from 1982 until 2010. He served as director of the West Waterford Heritage Week in 1991 and 1992. He was the co-ordinator of Waterford County Council’s Famine Commemoration Programme and served on the National Committee charged with the protection of the Woodstown Viking Settlement.

He has edited major Waterford histories including, Hansard’s History of Waterford and Smith’s History of Waterford. Some of his more recent books are W.E.D. Allen & Other Essays, and A Study of the Life and Work of Regina Maria Roche.

Details of this year’s festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.

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About Lismore Immrama

Immrama is held in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland, on a weekend in June each year since 2003. Immrama has been dedicated to the art of Travel Writing, Good Music, and Fine Entertainment since its inception. Over the centuries many people have made journeys to and from Lismore and we hope that you will enjoy your lmmram in Lismore.

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