Festival of Writing and Ideas at Borris House

Festival of Writing and Ideas at Borris House – June 7th – 9th
By Frank L.

The festival takes place from 7th to 9th of June at Borris House County Carlow, which is one of the most picturesque locations for a festival in Ireland. There will be over seventy speakers who will perform in five different venues on the site from mid morning to early evening. The speakers cover a vast array of interests. Each event lasts an hour and at anyone time there are up to five different events taking place. So it is necessary to make choices.

For instance at 2 o’clock on Saturday the choices are:

  • Farms for City Children: Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and Clare Morpurgo( (founder of the charity farms for city children) talk about their initiative to bring the skills of farming and the outdoor life to inner-city kids
  • Return to Libya: Hisham Matar talks to to Lara Marlowe about his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, The Return in which he seeks the truth behind the disappearance of his dissident father
  • Activism and Fashion: Sinead Burke (writer and activist) and Edie Campbell (model and activist) discuss the importance of design, rights and making life choices with Sinead Gleeson (Constellations)
  • Economics of Natural Disaster: Sonali Deraniyagala (Sri Lankan economist and author of PEN-award-winning memoir Wave about the 2004 tsunami) discusses recovery from the ravages of uncontrollable forces of nature with Kirsty Lang
  • Revisiting Irish Gothic: Joseph O’Connor’s new novel Shadowplay brings to life Bram Stoker’s imagination, while Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent recasts a 19th century horror story in her book Melmoth. They discuss the art of the gothic chiller with Alex Clark.

This year the speakers include – Anne Enright, Joseph O’Connor, Fintan O’Toole, James Shapiro, Julian Barnes, Martin Amis, Emilie Pine, John Kelly, Naomi Wolf, Ben Anderson, Lisa O’Neill and David Kitt, among others. As there are over seventy speakers over the three days there are similar difficult choices to be made as to what  will stimulate or fascinate the brain cells several times a day.

The festival is now listed as ‘Full to Capacity’, so those without a ticket will have to book early for next year! Tickets and other information can be found on their website –


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