Rosita Boland is Senior Features Writer at the Irish Times. She won Journalist of the Year at the Newsbrands Ireland 2018 journalism awards. In 2009, she was a Nieman Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. She is widely travelled. Her book of essays, Elsewhere; one woman, one rucksack, one lifetime of travel, is published by Doubleday in May 2019.
Sarah Outen has spent the last decade wandering the world on some hefty journeys. She has traversed oceans alone in tiny rowing boats, spending months in solitude; she has biked continents in extreme seasons and kayaked remote island chains. All for the love of it – for learning, connecting, finding wildness and wilderness, challenge and joy. Sarah has written two books ‘A Dip in the Ocean‘ and ‘Dare to Do‘ and her film ‘Home’ of her London2London:Via the World journey releases this year.
From Cobh, Co. Cork of West Kerry parents, Charlie Piggott was one of the founding members of the renowned music group De Danann with whom he has recorded and toured extensively, performing in notable venues such as Carnegie Hall (NY), The Royal Albert Hall (London), The Great American Music Hall (San Francisco) and for The Crown Prince and Princess of Japan during their visit to Ireland. He was also a member of the Irish musical group invited by the Smithsonian Institute to participate in the Festival of American Folk Life (1976) as part of the USA bi-centennial celebrations. Charlie has established a considerable reputation as a lecturer, with a wide knowledge of traditional music and musicians. He plays a Double-Ray Hohner accordion and has revived many rare traditional melodies, performing them in accordance with the ethos of the older players. He is a co-author, with Fintan Vallely and photographer Nutan Jacques Piraprez of, Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians (Dublin: Town House, 1998).
Neil Oliver is a Scottish archaeologist, historian, broadcaster and writer.
Neil qualified as an archaeologist in 1988. His fieldwork experience covers everything from the early Stone Age in Scotland to the examination of the World War II coastal fortifications of Kent and Northern France. Neil also trained as a journalist, and worked on publications such as The Scotsman, The Herald, The Guardian, The Edinburgh Evening News and The Daily Record, providing invaluable experience for when, in 2002, his career as a television broadcaster began.
He is widely known for presenting the award-winning multi-part documentary BBC2 series, Coast – looking at both the natural and social history of the British coastline – along with a whole host of other much-loved programmes including the BBC’s flagship series A History of Scotland and Vikings (BBC2).
He is the author of a number of bestselling books – his most recent, The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places Before is a beautifully written, kaleidoscopic history of a place with a story like no other.
He lives in Stirling with his wife and three children.
Lerato Mogoatlhe is a journalist and editor who has been writing about Africa for more than 10 years. Vagabond is a result of her deep-seated love for Africa and my conviction that whatever else this continent is, it’s firstly and most importantly home: I have to know it intimately and write it beyond stereotypes of doom and gloom.
Vagabond: wandering through Africa on faith is about how a three-month trip to West Africa turns into living and travelling around the continent for five years. It spans her experiences in 21 countries.
Lerato curates www.johariafrica.net
Professor Dr Robyn Rowland (retired academic) is a dual Irish-Australian writer/poet, residing in both countries. She has been teaching and writing in Turkey since 2009 and has given many workshops in Turkey as well as bi-lingual readings with her translator Professor Dr Mehmet Ali Çelikel. She has been publishing for over 45 years and has 10 books of poetry, as well as 3 academic titles. Previous to early retirement in 1996 due to breast cancer and burnout, Professor Rowland was inaugural Head of the School of Social Inquiry with 10 areas of study, 5 campuses and Head of the Australian Women’s Research Centre at Deakin University. She was made an Officer in the Order of Australia by the Australian Government in 1996 for national and international contributions to tertiary education and women’s health. Since leaving academia, Dr Rowland reads and teaches in many countries.
This structured workshop is appropriate for established and early writers; poets and prose writers.
Time Travelling. Archaeology and the writing dig.
The processes of writing are often like an archaeological dig and use similar processes: travelling through time and place; turning over artefacts, considering stratification, piecing together fragments, blowing away the dust of memory. Narratives emerge in archaeology to explain the material finds and so too is creative writing a project of story telling. This workshop will consider some writers’ use of archaeology to create a present message or memory. We will also consider some specific finds e.g the bog bodies and other finds, the Peruvian finds, Troy and the Minoan civilization. Participants will be encouraged to begin with a specific find/place and generate their own history/ narrative into it and weave their own ‘find’ out of it.
Each participant is given notes to keep which relate to the topic of the workshop, as well as copies of Robyn’s and other works which exemplify the theme. Each part of the workshop involves a talk, a guided meditative moment encouraging participants to attend to the nature of their piece of writing, followed by writing towards the topic. Robyn will then give feedback for each participant in terms of the aim of the workshop.
Donald Brady’s talk will be on John Palliser of Comeragh House [1817-1887]. Palliser was an explorer, author, and central figure in the expansion and development of Canada.
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.