Michael Smith, the best-selling author, talks about opening a new chapter in Irish history with his books on Tom Crean, Ernest Shackleton and other Irish explorers. He speaks about the highs and lows of uncovering the stories, challenging old myths, breaking new ground and the daunting task of conducting important historic research in a pub.
Worldwide sales of Michael Smith’s books have exceeded 250,000 and stimulated a surge of interest in Ireland’s previously overlooked role in the history of Polar exploration. An Unsung Hero, his biography of Tom Crean, now forms part of the curriculum in Irish schools and was recently translated into Chinese. Michael’s books have generated a range of spin-offs, including the erection of a statue to Crean, a successful one-man play, a new brand of lager and tourists from across the globe flocking to Crean’s pub in Kerry. Statues have also been erected in recent years to other Irish explorers, including Shackleton, Keohane and Forde, and the first museum in the world devoted to Shackleton has opened in Co Kildare.
Michael Smith is an authority on Polar exploration who has written nine books, appeared in TV and radio documentaries for RTE and the BBC. He has lectured at many literary festivals in Ireland, including Writers’ Week, Cúirt, West Cork Literary Festival, Mountains to Sea Festival Dublin, Eigse and the Ennis Book Festival. Michael has also spoken at many prestigious venues, including: National Library of Ireland, The National Museum of Ireland, National Maritime Museum, London, Princess Grace Memorial Library Monaco, Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace, Queen’s University Belfast, Royal Geographical Society, Royal Scottish Geographical Society and Scott Polar Research Institute Cambridge.
Michael’s books include An Unsung Hero – Tom Crean, Shackleton – By Endurance We Conquer, Great Endeavour – Ireland’s Antarctic Explorers and Captain Francis – Last Man Standing and for younger readers, Tom Crean – Iceman. 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.