Isambard Wilkinson

Spellbound by his grandmother’s Anglo-Indian heritage and the exuberant annual visits of her friend the Begum, Isambard became enthralled by Pakistan as an intrepid teenager, eventually working there as a foreign correspondent during the war on terror. Seeking the land behind the headlines Bard sets out to discover the essence of a country convulsed by Islamist violence. What of the old, mystical Pakistan has survived and what has been destroyed? His is a funny hashish and whiskey scented travel book from the frontline, full of open hearted delight and a poignant lust for life.

Isambard Wilkinson was born in 1971. As a young boy in Ireland, he listened to family stories of adventurous botanists and artists, sailors and soldiers who traveled through China and Africa, India and Albania. It fired an urge to roam. Expelled from school at 15, after University he was refused entry into the Royal Marines and instead worked for Country Life magazine before leaving to travel throughout Pakistan, an ambition curtailed by kidney failure. After a stretch on dialysis and his first kidney transplant he became a foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in Spain, and then in Pakistan, where he completed his travels the subject of this book. Following a second transplant he is based in Hong Kong where he works as a journalist.

Twitter: @IsambardW

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

Jacki Hill-Murphy

Jacki Hill-Murphy MA, FRGS, is an explorer, writer and speaker who has travelled to some of the most inhospitable places on earth to re-create the journeys of daring women adventurers from the past. In tracking valiant women who left inhibition at home and journeyed into the unknown, Hill-Murphy pays tribute to their invincible spirits and achievements.

She has followed in the footsteps of Victorian explorers Isabella Bird who travelled by yak across the Digar-La in Ladakh, India; Mary Kingsley, who pioneered the route to the 13,255 summit of Mount Cameroon; and Kate Marsden who trudged from Moscow to Siberia in search of a cure for leprosy. Hill-Murphy also braved piranha-infested waters in a dugout canoe to replicate the 1769 expedition of Isabel Godin, the only survivor of a 42-person, 4000-mile expedition along the Amazon River. Jacki says: “We are all adventuresses who need to travel to be who we are and we are better people for it.” She has written two books: ‘Adventuresses, rediscovering daring voyages into the unknown’ and ‘The Extraordinary Tale of Kate Marsden and my journey across Siberia in her footsteps’ and numerous stories and articles about her project.


Twitter: @jackihillmurphy

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

Rosemary Mahoney

Rosemary Mahoney was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1961. She was educated at Harvard College and Johns Hopkins University and has been awarded numerous awards for her writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (US), a Whiting Writers Award, a nomination for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award (US), and Harvard’s Charles E. Horman Prize for writing. She is the author of five books of non-fiction: The Early Arrival of Dreams; A Year in China, a New York Times Notable Book, Whoredom in Kimmage; The World of Irish Women, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman, and he Singular Pilgrim; Travels on Sacred Ground. Her travelogue, Down the Nile; Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff, was among the National Book Critics’ Circle’s Best Books of 2007 and was selected by writer Jan Morris for Conde Nast Traveller’s list of the best travel books of all time. Her most recent book, For the Benefit of Those Who See; Dispatches from the World of the Blind, is based on her experiences teaching at the Braille Without Borders schools for the blind in both Lhasa, Tibet and Kerala, India.

Mahoney has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Observer, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, National Geographic Traveler, and The New York Times Magazine. She lives in Greece.


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

Michael Whelan

Michael Whelan is a lifelong adventurer and mountaineer. He recently completed solo cycling trips in Pakistan, China, India and Nepal. In 2017 Michael was a contributing author to “The Wave” which was launched at the Irish Writers Centre, Dublin. His chapter “Borderline” is a snapshot of his journey by bicycle from Islamabad, (with armed escorts!), to the world’s highest border crossing on the Karakoram Highway and onto Shipton’s Lost Arch in Western China. Borderline will be the focus of his Immrama talk.

While not travelling, Michael lives in Dunmore East Co Waterford with his wife and daughter where he enjoys doing carpentry work.

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

Michael Smith

Michael Smith - AuthorMichael Smith is a best-selling author whose book, An Unsung Hero, the biography of explorer Tom Crean, opened a new chapter in Irish history and stimulated widespread interest in Ireland’s role in Polar exploration. An Unsung Hero has been translated into the languages of China, Germany, Italy and Korea and has encouraged a number of spin-offs, including a successful stage play and songs. Crean’s story has since been popularised for children through the successful adaptation, Tom Crean – Iceman and Fear San Oighear, the Irish language edition for younger readers. Tom Crean’s story has since been adopted onto the national curriculum in Irish schools.

Worldwide sales of Michael’s books have risen above 250,000 and include Shackleton – By Endurance We Conquer and Great Endeavour – Ireland’s Antarctic Explorers. Michael has returned to the theme of unsung heroes with his latest book, Icebound in the Arctic – The Mystery of Captain Francis Crozier and the Franklin Expedition. He has appeared on TV and radio and lectured extensively at prestigious venues such as the National Library of Ireland, Royal Society of Irish Antiquarians, National Maritime Museum and Royal Geographical Society London, the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge and the Princess Grace Memorial Library, Monaco. He appeared at Immrama in 2018 and has also spoken at numerous other literary festivals in Ireland, including Dublin Book Festival, Writers’ Week Listowel, Cuirt, West Cork Literary Festival, Ennis Book Festival and the Mountains to Sea Festival. Michael is a former award-winning journalist with The Guardian and The Observer.


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

Bob Jackson

The story of the incredible life of Dr. Aidan MacCarthy (1913-95) the only person to have survived the two events that mark the beginning and end of the Second World War. He was evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk after three days of relentless attacks in May 1940, and he was trembling in a makeshift bomb shelter in the centre of Nagasaki when the atomic bomb destroyed the city in August 1945. In the intervening years, he survived burning planes, sinking ships, jungle warfare, starvation, disease, captivity, and slave labour.

Bob Jackson lectures in Creative Media at the Institute of Technology, Tralee. He produced the feature documentary A Doctor’s Sword, which was released in Irish cinemas in 2015 and will be released in the UK in 2016. Bob also works in music production, and lives in Cork City.

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.

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