Jasper Winn

Jasper WinnJasper Winn grew up in West Cork, where he left school at age ten and educated himself by reading, riding horses, learning rural skills and playing music. It was an upbringing that has shaped a lifetime of travel and writing. He has journeyed across the Atlas with nomadic Berbers, canoed along the Danube, and often crosses countries on horseback. He was story consultant on the IMAX film, Ride Around the World, about the world’s horse cultures. Paddle is his first book.

Last summer, writer and musician, Jasper Winn set himself an extraordinary task. He would kayak the whole way round Ireland – a thousand miles – camping on remote headlands and islands, carousing in bars and paddling clockwise until he got back where he started. But in the worst Irish summer in living memory the pleasures of idling among seals, fulmars and fishing boats soon gave way to heroic struggles through storm-tossed seas … and lock-ins playing music in coastal pubs.

Circling the country where he grew up, Jasper reflects on life at the very fringes of Ireland, the nature and lore of its seas, and his own eccentric upbringing – sprung from school at age ten and left free to explore the countryside and its traditional life. Charming, quietly epic, and with an irresistible undertow of wit, Paddle is a low-tech adventure that captures the sheer joy of a misty morning on Ireland’s coast.

Web Site: www.jasperwinn.com

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

William Blacker

William BlackerWilliam Blacker lived in Romania from 1996 to 2004. He now divides his time between England, Italy and Romania. He has contributed articles and photographs to the Daily Telegraph, Ecologist, Art Newspaper and The Times.

Along The Enchanted Way
When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world. There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed the hay meadows and in the freezing winters gathered wood by sleigh from the forest.

From sheepfolds harried by wolves, to courting expeditions in the snow, he experienced the traditional way of life to the full, and became accepted into a community who treated him as one of their own. But Blacker was also intrigued by the Gypsies, those dark, foot-loose strangers of spell-binding allure who he saw passing through the village. Locals warned him to stay clear but he fell in love and there followed a bitter struggle. Change is now coming to rural Romania, and William Blacker’s adventures will soon be part of its history.

From his early carefree days tramping the hills of Transylvania, to the book’s poignant ending, Along the Enchanted Way transports us back to a magical country world most of us thought had vanished long ago.

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

Alex von Tunzelmann

Alex von TunzelmannAlex von Tunzelmann’s Red Heat was published in April 2011. It is a history of the Cold War in the Caribbean, focused around the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Castros and the Kennedys. Her first book, Indian Summer, was published in 2007. William Dalrymple called it “Unquestionably the best book I have ever read on the independence and partition of India and Pakistan, and pretty close to a flat-out masterpiece.” It is in development as a feature film by Working Title Productions. Alex writes regular travel pieces for Lonely Planet Magazine, where her assignments have ranged from a quest for a crystal skull in Belize to following the dogsled tracks of early explorers in the high Arctic. She has a weekly column for The Guardian Online about the real story behind historical movies.

Web Site: www.alexvontunzelmann.com

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

Conor O’Clery

Conor O'CleryBorn in Belfast and educated at Queen’s University Belfast, Conor O’Clery worked for The Irish Times, Ireland’s leading national newspaper, for over 30 years in various positions, including staff correspondent based in London, Moscow, Washington, D.C., Beijing and New York City. He wrote for The New Republic from Moscow, contributed columns to Newsweek International, and has been a frequent commentator on BBC, NPR and CNN. He was won several awards, including “Journalist of the Year” twice in Ireland: first in 1987 for his reporting of the Soviet Union, and, secondly, in 2002 for his reporting of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, which he witnessed from his office three blocks away. O’Clery has written a number of books on American, Russian and Irish politics, including an account of his world reporting called May You Live in Interesting Times. His latest book, Moscow, December 25, 1991/ The Last Day of the Soviet Union, will be published in August by Public Affairs in the U.S. and Transworld in the U.K. He is currently Ireland correspondent for GlobalPost, a foreign news website in the U.S. He resides in Dublin with his Russian-born Armenian wife, Zhanna.
Talk On Conflict Hotels

Wherever there is a hot story or a conflict there is a hotel which becomes a magnet for correspondents, a meeting place to exchange gossip, meet revolutionaries and government agents, and size up the opposition. In Belfast during the Troubles it was the Europa, bombed more than two dozen times and frequented by loyalist and republican contacts alike. At the time of Tiananmen Square in Beijing it was the the Jianguo, built directly from the plans of an American motel. In East Timor it was the Turismo where the taxi-drivers lounging outside were agents of the Indonesian occupation. In Beirut during the Civil War it was the Commodore. In Lhasa in Tibet it is the Hotel Lhasa, which boasted rats in the air ducts and yak burgers in the dining room and from where plainclothes police followed journalists as they went into town. During the Russian invasion of Afghanistan it was the Intercontinental in Kabul where the telex operator ‘in those days before satellite phones’ had to be bribed with vodka to send out his despatches. In Jakarta during the downfall of Suharto it was the Hilton where correspondents could play tennis behind the perimiter hedge while the streets around rang with gunfire. Then of course there is Raffles in Singapore which once housed the United Press International office and where the last tiger in Singapore was shot under the billiards room” though most correspondents nowadays would not be seen dead with the tourists having a Singapore sling at the Long Bar.

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

Frank Reidy

Frank ReidyFrank Reidy is a former army commandant. During his 25 years in the Defence Forces, he was stationed in the Curragh in Kildare as head of the Audio Visual Unit, where he lectured on Media Studies in the Military College. He spent periods in both the Middle East and in Rwanda. On his retirement, he spent some time working with RTÉ as a reporter and researcher. He returned to Rwanda in 2000, working for Refugee Trust International. He regularly returns to Africa, travelling and as a voluntary worker. His first book, Ó Chósta go Cósta, which was published by Cló Iar-Chonnachta in 2009, is based on his travels in east Africa. Ó Chósta go Cósta won the prestigious the Irish language book of the year award – Gradam Uí Shiúilleabháin – in 2010. Frank was born in Sligo and he lives in Ros a’ Mhíl, Co Galway. He is a regular contributor to both Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4 on both defence and international issues. Frank is currently researching for a new book on Ethiopia.

Iar-Cheannfort airm é Frank Reidy. Le linn a sheirbhís cúig bliana fichead sna Forsaí Cosanta bhí sé lonnaithe ar Churrach Chill Dara ina cheann ar an Roinn Físe agus ag léachtóireacht sa gColáiste Míleata ar staidéar na meán. Chaith sé tréimhsí sa Meán-Oirthear agus i Ruanda. Ar scor chaith sé seal le RTÉ mar thuairisceoir agus mar thaighdeoir. D’fhill sé ar Ruanda i mbliain an 2000 ag obair do Refugee Trust International. Fileann sé ar an Afraic go rialta ag taisteal agus ag obair go deonach. Is ar a thaisteal in oirthear na hAfraice atá a chéad leabhar Ó Chósta go Cósta a d’fhoilsigh Cló Iar-Chonnachta i 2009 bunaithe. Ghnóthaigh Frank Gradam Uí Shiúilleabháin – leabhar Gaeilge na bliana, de bharr a shaothar. Rugadh Frank i Sligeach agus tá cónaí ar i Ros an Mhíl i gContae na Gaillimhe. Is craoltóir rialta é ar Raidió na Gaeltachta agus ar TG4 ar chursaí cosanta agus cursaí idirnáisiúnta. Faoi láthair tá Frank ag déanamh taighde do leabhar nua faoin Aetóip.

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

Rolf Potts

Rolf PottsRolf Potts has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times Magazine, Slate.com, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside, The Guardian, American Public Radio, and the Travel Channel. His adventures have taken him across six continents, and include piloting a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, traversing Israel on foot, bicycling across Burma, driving a Land Rover across South America, and (most recently) traveling around the world for six weeks with no luggage or bags of any kind.

Potts is perhaps best known for promoting the ethic of independent travel, and his book on the subject, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Random House, 2003), has been through twelve printings and translated into several foreign languages. His newest book, Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer (Travelers’ Tales, 2008), won a 2009 Lowell Thomas Award from the Society ofAmerican Travel Writers, and became the first American-authored book to win Italy’s prestigious Chatwin Prize for travel writing.

Rolf’s essays have appeared in over twenty literary anthologies, and sixteen of his stories have been short-listed for The Best American Travel Writing, including “Storming ‘The Beach,'” which Bill Bryson chose as a main selection in 2000, and “Tantric Sex for Dilettantes,” which Tim Cahill selected in 2006. His writing for National Geographic Traveler, Slate.com, Lonely Planet, Outside and Travelers’ Tales garnered him Lowell Thomas Awards in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009; and he’s been cited as an expert on independent travel by publications around the world, from National Geographic Adventure, to TIME Asia, to Italy’s La Stampa daily, to the Australian Financial Review, to the Russian edition of Newsweek.

Though he rarely stays in one place for more than a few weeks or months, Potts feels somewhat at home in Bangkok, Cairo, Pusan, New Orleans, and north-central Kansas, where he keeps a small farmhouse on 30 acres near his family. Each July he can be found in France, where he is the summer writer-in-residence at the Paris American Academy.

Web Site: www.rolfpotts.com

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

Sara Wheeler

Sara WheelerSara Wheeler was brought up in Bristol. She read Classics and Modern Languages at Oxford University before embarking on polar explorations. A traveller, journalist and broadcaster, she lives in London with her partner and young son. She is the author of six previous books, including Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Too Close to the Sun: The Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton and The Magnetic North.

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

Theo Dorgan

Theo DorganTheo Dorgan was born in Cork in 1953, and now makes his home in Dublin. He is a poet, prose writer, translator, editor and broadcaster. His most recent collection of poems, GREEK, was published in 2010 by Dedalus Press.

He has written two books about his ocean voyages: SAILING FOR HIME, an account of his journey from Antigua to Kinsale, recounts the voyage of the Schooner Spirit of Oysterhaven back to her home waters from the Caribbean. Originally published by Penguin, the book has now been re-issued by Dedalus Press. Nobel laureate Doris Lessing praised SAILING FOR HOME as “a book for everyone”. Late last year, Dorgan published TIME ON THE OCEAN, A Voyage from Cape Horn to Cape Town (New Island, 2010). Described by Gay Byrne as “an inspirational story, beautifully told”, the book tracks Dorgan and his fellow crew on a wild ride through the Southern Ocean; 12 metre waves and 80 knot winds provide the thrills, but the book is also a long, thoughtful meditation on life, the ocean and the transience of things. Dorgan’s Great Grandmother died in Childbirth off Cape Horn, which prompts a poignant tribute from the author as, in his own words, he sails over her bones.

Web Site: www.theodorgan.com

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

Manchán Magan

Manchán MaganManchán Magan is a writer and documentary-maker. He wrote the Magan’s World travel column for Saturday’s Irish Times Magazine for 6 years and currently hosts the Right Hook travel slot. His travel documentaries focusing on issues of world culture for TG4, RTE & Travel Channel were shown in 25 territories around the world. No Béarla, his documentary series about travelling around Ireland speaking only Irish sparked international debate. He has written numerous travel books in English and Irish, including, include ‘Angels & Rabies: a journey through the Americas’ (Brandon, 2006), ‘Manchán’s Travels: a journey through India’ (Brandon, 2007) and ‘Truck Fever: a journey through Africa’ (Brandon, 2008). His Irish books include Baba-ji agus TnaG (Coiscéim 2006) and Manchán ar Seachrán (Coiscéim 1998). He has written for the Guardian, LA Times and Washington Post.

His play Broken Croí/Heart Briste was nominated for 2 Irish Times Theatre Awards, the Fishamble New Writing Award and the Bewleys Café Theatre Award. It won the Stewart Parker Irish Language Award in 2010. He was commissioned to write a bilingual play for the Abbey Theatre in 2011. He lives in his oak forest in a self-made hovel in the bogs of Ireland.

Web Site: www.manchan.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.

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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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