Jan Morris

Jan MorrisJan Morris was born in 1926 of a Welsh father and an English mother, and when she is not travelling she lives with her partner Elizabeth Morris in the top left-hand corner of Wales, between the mountains and the sea.

Her books include Coronation Everest, Venice, The Pax Britannica Trilogy (Heaven’s Command, Pax Britannica, and Farewell the Trumpets), and Conundrum. She is also the author of six books about cities and countries, two autobiographical books, several volumes of collected travel essays and the unclassifiable Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere. A Writer’s World, a collection of her travel writing and reportage from over five decades, was published in 2003. Hav, her novel, was published in a new and expanded form in 2006. Her most recent book is Contact!

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

Damien Lewis

Damien LewisDamien Lewis has spent twenty years reporting from war, disaster and conflict zones around the world, chiefly as a TV journalist but also writing for the quality press. He has written a dozen non-fiction and fictional books, topping bestseller lists, and is published in some thirty languages worldwide. He was recently chosen as one of Britain’s ‘twenty favourite authors’ for the Government’s World Book Day, and his books have won a number of awards. Two of his books have been made into feature films, with a number of others presently under development, and he is scripting one or more of those movies.

Damien Lewis became an author largely by accident, when a British publisher asked him if he’d be willing to turn a TV documentary he was working on into a book. That film was shot in the Sudan war zone, and told the story of how Arab tribes seized black African slaves in horrific slave raids. Lewis had been to the Sudan war zone dozens of times over the past decade, reporting on that conflict for the BBC, Channel 4 and US and European broadcasters.

His slavery documentary told the story of a young girl from the Nuba tribe, seized in a raid and sold into slavery in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city, and of her epic escape. The publisher asked Lewis if the Nuba girl would be willing to write her life story as a book, with his help as co-author. The book that they co-wrote was called ‘Slave’, and it was published to great acclaim, becoming a number one bestseller and being translated into some 30 lanc guages worldwide. It won several awards and has been made into a feature film Over the preceding fifteen years Lewis had reported from many war, conflict and disaster zones – including Sudan, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Burma, Afghanistan and the Balkans. He (and his film crew) traveled into such areas with aid workers, the British or allied military, UN forces or local military groups, or very much under their own steam. He reported on the horror and human impact of war, as well as the drama of conflict itself. Often, he worked alone. Often, he filmed his own material over extended periods of time living in the war or conflict zone.

During a decade spent reporting from around the world Lewis lived in deserts, rainforests, jungles and chaotic third world cities. In his work and travels he met and interviewed people smugglers, diamond miners, Catholic priests ‘gone native’, desert nomads, un-contacted tribes, aid workers, bush pilots, arms dealers, genocidal leaders, peacekeepers, game wardens, slum kids, world presidents, heroin traffickers, rebel warlords, child prostitutes, Islamist terrorists, Hindu holy men, mercenaries, bush doctors, soldiers, commanders and spies. He was injured, and was hospitalised with bizarre tropical diseases – including flesh-eating bacteria, worms that burrow through the skin and septicemia – but survived all that and continued to report.

It was only natural that having seen so much of global conflict he would be drawn to stories of war, terrorism, espionage and the often dark causes behind such conflicts when he started writing books. Having written a number of true stories, in 2006 he was chosen as one of the ‘nation’s 20 favourite authors’ and wrote his first fiction, Desert Claw, for the British Government’s Quick Read initiative. Desert Claw tells of a group of ex-Special Forces soldiers sent into Iraq to retrieve a looted Van Gogh painting, with a savage twist to the tale. That fiction was followed up by Cobra Gold, an equally compelling tale of global drama and intrigue and shadowy betrayal.

Damien Lewis’s work, books and films have won the Index on Censorship (UK), CECRA (Spain), Project Censored (US), Commonwealth Relations (UK), Discovery-NHK BANFF (Canada), Rory Peck (UK), BBC One World (UK), BBC-WWF Wildscreen (UK), International Peace Prize (US), Elle Magazine Grande Prix (US), Victor Gollanz (Germany), and BBC One World (UK) Awards. He is a Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Web Site: www.damienlewis.com

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

Tim Severin

Tim SeverinTim Severin has sailed a leather boat across the Atlantic in the wake of St. Brendan the Navigator, captained an Arab sailing ship from Muscat to China to investigate the legends of Sindbad the Sailor, steered a replica of a Bronze Age galley to seek the landfalls of Jason and the Argonauts and of Ulysses, ridden the route of the first Crusader knights across Europe to Jerusalem, travelled on horse back with nomads of Mongolia in search of the heritage of Genghis Khan, sailed the Pacific on a bamboo raft to test the theory that ancient Chinese mariners could have reached to the Americas, retraced the journeys of Alfred Russell Wallace, Victorian pioneer naturalist, through the Spice Islands of Indonesia using a 19th century prahu, and traced the origins of Moby Dick, the great white whale among the aboriginal sea hunters of the Pacific.

One of his recent quests has been to identify the ‘real’ Robinson Crusoe whose true adventures marooned on a desert island in the Caribbean provided material for the fictional exploits of the world’s most famous castaway.

He has written books about all these adventures, which have won him the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, The Book Of The Sea Award, a Christopher Prize and the literary medal of the Academie de la Marine. He has been a regular contributor to the National Geographic Magazine.

He has also recorded his journeys in documentary films which have become classics of exploration and adventure. At film festivals they have won prizes for Best Cameraman, Best Film of the Sea and Best Adventure Film. Collected under the title Time Traveller, they have been screened on Discovery Channel, Sky Television, and National Geographic TV.

In January 2005 he published Viking, Odinn’s Child, the first volume in his historical fiction trilogy (Macmillan). Odinn’s Child entered the best seller lists, and was followed by Viking, Sworn Brother, and Viking, King’s Man. The trilogy has been translated into languages ranging from Portuguese to Korean. His latest historical novel is Buccaneer. Set in the late 17th century, it is the second in an action-packed series recounting the Adventures of Hector Lynch, Pirate on his voyages to the farthest shores of the then known world.

Tim Severin holds the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He has been conferred with the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Trinity College, Dublin, and by University College, Cork.

Tim Severin is available for lectures and has an archive of still photographs and documentary films covering his various voyages.

Web Site: www.timseverin.net

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

Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt. OBE

Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt. OBEBorn in the UK in 1944, just after his father was killed in the war. Brought up in South Africa and schooled in Eton College where he failed his A Levels. At the height of the Cold War, Sir Ranulph joined the Royal Scots Greys (Tanks) and went on to join the SAS in 1965/1966. At the time he was the youngest Captain in the British Army. Between 1968-1970 he fought Marxist Terrorists and received the Sultans Bravery Medal from HM the Queen. Between 1984 and 1990 Sir Ranulph was Vice President of PR and Adviser for Western Europe to Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp. In 1970 he married his childhood sweetheart and together they launched a series of record breaking expeditions that kept them ahead of their international rivals for three decades.

Some of these huge challenges include:

  • First to reach both Poles (with Charles Burton).
  • First to cross Antarctic and Artic Ocean (with Charles Burton).
  • First to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis (with Charles Burton).
  • Led the first hovercraft expedition up the longest river in the world (the Nile) in 1968/1969.
  • Achieved world record for unsupported northerly polar travel in 1990.
  • Led the team that discovered the lost city of Ubar on the Yemeni border in 1992.
  • Achieved world first in 1992/1993 by completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Continent (with Mike Stroud). This was the longest unsupported polar journey in history.
  • In 2003, only 3 months after a massive heart attack, 3 day coma and double bypass, Ranulph Fiennes (with Mike Stroud) achieved the first 7x7x7 (Seven marathons in only seven days on all seven continents).
  • March 2005, climbed Everest to within 300m of summit raising £2 million for the British Heart Foundations new research MRI scanner.
  • March 2007, Sir Ranulph climbed the North Face of the Eiger and raised £1.8 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care’s delivering Choice Programme
  • Winner of the Greatest Britons 2007 Sport (beating the other main nominees Lewis Hamilton and Joe Calzaghe)
  • May 2008, climbed Everest (Nepal-side) to within 400m from the summit raising £2.6m for Marie Curie Cancer Care
  • Care Delivering Choice Programme Marie Curie 2008 ‘Above and Beyond Award’ Winner
  • Successfully summited Everest May 2009 raising a total of £6.2 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care

French Parachute Wings 1968, Dhofar Campaign Medal 1968, Sultan of Oman’s Bravery Medal 1970, Man of the Year 1982, Livingstone Gold Medal Royal Scottish Geographical Soc 1983, Gold Medal NY Explorers Club 1984, Fndr’s Medal RGS 1984, The Polar Medal 1984 with Bar 1995 by HM the Queen (first wife was first female recipient), ITV Award for event of the decade 1990, Explorers Club (Br Chapter) Millennium Award for Navigation 2000, Oldie of the year 2004; Hon DSc Loughborough Univ; Hon Dr: UCE 1995, Univ of Portsmouth 2000, Univ of Glasgow 2002, Univ of Sheffield 2005.

Eighteen books including the UK bestseller (Times and Telegraph) in 1991 (The Feather Men) and in 2003, the top selling biography (Times).

Charity Work
To date Ranulph Fiennes has raised over £14.2 million for different UK charities.

Web Site: www.ranulphfiennes.co.uk

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

Pippa Sweeney

Pippa SweeneyPippa originally qualified in Interior Design but after a trip to Australia to sketch colonial buildings, returned to the UK and worked as an illustrator. In London she gained regular commissions for book and magazine publishers and national newspapers and became a Member of the Chartered Society of Designers. It was only when she had her own children however that she started writing children’s stories and poems, with her first poem published in an anthology in London in 1994.

In 2000 Pippa and her family moved to Beijing China, where she sketched scenes around Beijing. In 2005, she came to live in Ireland with her family and wrote and produced her book ‘A Meander in Beijing’. In 2008, to coincide with the Chinese Olympics, she held an exhibition of her sketches to raise money for a children’s orphanage in Beijing. During the exhibition period she launched her book and gave a series of children’s talks on Chinese culture.

As well as her children’s writing, since 2006 she has been heavily involved in the KCK Drama Club in Dungarvan, set painting and designing programs for their productions of ‘The Shaughraun’, ‘Cash on Delivery’, ‘Sive’ and most recently ‘Dancing and Lughnasa’.

In 2009, Pippa was awarded a bursary by Waterford County Council in the Children’s Fiction category to attend the Dingle Children’s Writers residential course.

Over the years, Pippa has written many children’s poems for varying age groups and her ambition is to write and illustrate her own children’s book. To this end she is currently working on a children’s picture book under the tutorage of Adrienne Geoghegan.

Web Site: www.thebeachhousegallery.com

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

Pico Iyer

Born in Oxford, England, to parents from India, Pico Iyer has been a traveller since birth, commuting as a boy between school and college in England and his parents. home in California, and settling down for the last 20 years in rural Japan. He has written seven books found on the Travel Literature shelves, including Video Night in Kathmandu (cited on many lists of the best travel books ever), The Lady and the Monk (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in the category of Current Interest) and The Global Soul (subject of websites and theatrical productions around the world). He has also written the liner-notes for four Leonard Cohen albums, a movie-script for Miramax and the novels Cuba and the Night and Abandon.

For almost a quarter of a century, he has been an essayist for Time magazine, while chronicling his journeys from Ethiopia to Easter Island, from North Korea to Yemen.for National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, the Financial Times and more than 150 other magazines and newspapers around the globe. His most recent book, The Open Road, describing more than 30 years of talks and travels with the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, came out in a dozen countries, and was a best-seller across the U.S.

Web Site: www.picoiyerjourneys.com

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.

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.

Thanks to all our sponsors, without whom Immrama would not be possible.

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.

Contact Information

Tel: +353-86-3618264

E-mail: info@lismoreimmrama.com

Social Media

Website by: Déise Design