Fáilte go hÉigse Michael Hartnett 2020

Delighted to announce that Éigse Michael Hartnett is going ahead with adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

A great weekend of poetry, prose, and music is planned with live streamed performances and podcasts.

All for free. Watch this space as we reveal details.

Live Streamed Festival in a Van

Streamed Readings and Music

Michael Hartnett Poetry Award


Éigse 2020
Live Streaming and Podcast Schedule

Thursday, October 1st

7.00 pm – Opening and Presentation of Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize to Eva Bourke

8.00 pm – Poetry Prize Winner Eva Bourke Reading

Friday, October 2nd

11.00 am – Geraldine Mitchell

1.00 pm – Annmarie Ní Chuireáin

3.00 pm – Helena Close

5.00 pm – Thomas McCarthy

7.00 pm – Donal Ryan

8.00 pm Sineád Morrissey

Saturday, October 3rd

11.00 am – John W. Sexton

12 noon, 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm – Festival in a Van with Stephen Murphy, Micheál Rowsome and Trevor Sexton

5.00 pm – Rachael English

7.00 pm – Colum McCann

8.00 pm – Billy Keane

9.00 pm – Dean Browne

Streamed Readings and Music

Thursday, October 1st

Éigse Michael Hartnett Opening Ceremony

Eva Bourke

Friday, October 2nd

Geraldine Mitchell

Annemarie Ní Chuirreáin

Helena Close

Thomas McCarthy

Donal Ryan

Sineád Morrissey

Anne Phelan

Saturday, October 3rd

John W. Sexton

Rachael English

Colum McCann

Billy Keane

Dean Browne

Festival in a Van

Éigse Participants

Colum McCann


Colum McCann is the author of seven novels and three collections of stories. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he has been the recipient of many international honours, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. In 2017 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts. His work has been published in over 40 languages.

His most recent book, Apeirogon has been long listed for the 2020 Booker Prize. It is Colum’s most ambitious work to date – a tour de force concerning friendship, love, loss, and belonging.

McCann crafts Apeirogon out of a universe of fictional and nonfictional material. He crosses centuries and continents, stitching together time, art, history, nature, and politics in a tale both heartbreaking and hopeful. Musical, cinematic, muscular, delicate, and soaring, Apeirogon is a novel for our time.

He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organization, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College, New York.

He lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their family.

Donal Ryan


Donal Ryan, from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, is the author of six bestselling books. He has won numerous awards for his fiction, among them the European Union Prize for Literature, the Guardian First Book Award and three Irish Book Awards, and has been shortlisted for several more, including the Costa Book Award, the IMPAC award and the Prix Jean Monet de Littérature Européenne.

He was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2013 for his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, and again in 2018, for his fourth novel, From A Low and Quiet Sea.

His work has been adapted for stage and screen and translated into over twenty languages. The Spinning Heart was voted Irish Book of the Decade in 2016 in a nationwide poll run by Dublin Book Festival. His latest novel, Strange Flowers, set in Nenagh and London, was published in August 2020 by Penguin Random House.

A law graduate and former civil servant, Donal has lectured in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick since 2014 and lives in Castletroy with his wife Anne Marie and their two children.

Rachael English

Rachael English is the author of five novels, including the number one bestseller, The American Girl. Her first book, Going Back, was shortlisted for the most promising newcomer award at the Irish Book Awards. Her latest novel is The Paper Bracelet. She is also the co-author of one work of nonfiction, a guide to the 2007 General Election.

Originally from Shannon in County Clare, she studied Communications at DCU before starting work as a journalist with Clare FM in Ennis. She has worked for RTE for almost thirty years, covering a huge range of national and international stories. Since 2010, she has presented Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1.

Rachael lives in Dublin with her husband, Eamon Quinn.

Thomas McCarthy


Thomas McCarthy was born at Cappoquin, Co. Waterford in 1954 and educated locally and at University College Cork. He is a member of Aosdana, the elected Assembly of artists and writers in Ireland.

He was an Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Program, University of Iowa in 1978/79. He has published The First Convention (Dolmen Press, 1978), The Sorrow Garden (Anvil Poetry, 1981), The Non-Aligned Storyteller (Anvil Poetry, 1984), Seven Winters in Paris (Anvil Poetry, 1989), Lost Province (Anvil Poetry, 1996), Merchant Prince (Anvil Poetry, 2005) and The Last Geraldine Officer (Anvil Poetry, 2009) and Pandemonium (Carcanet Press, 2016).

He has also published two novels, Without Power (Poolbeg, 1981) and Asya and Christine (Poolbeg, 1992) as well as two works of non-fiction, Gardens of Remembrance (New Island, 1996) and Out of the Ashes (Cork City Libraries, 2006). He has won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize and the O’Shaughnessy Prize for Poetry as well as the Ireland Funds Annual Literary Award.

He worked for many years at Cork City Libraries, retiring in 2014 to write fulltime. He was International Professor of English at Macalester College, Minnesota, in 1994/95. He is a former Editor of Poetry Ireland Review and The Cork Review. His work has been translated into Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, French, Japanese and several other languages.

His work has been republished in more than thirty anthologies of Irish poetry, most notably in Anthology of Irish Poetry (Harvard University Press, 2013), and The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry: Volume II (Wake Forest University Press, 2010).

His tenth collection, Prophecy, was published by Carcanet Press in April, 2019.

Sinéad Morrissey


The author of six poetry collections, Sinéad Morrissey was born in 1972 and grew up in Belfast.

Her awards include the Patrick Kavanagh Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, first prize in the UK National Poetry Competition, the Irish Times Poetry Prize (2009, 2013), and the T. S. Eliot Prize (2013). In 2016 she received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was the winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection (2017) and of the European Poet of Freedom Award (2020) for her latest collection,

On Balance. Found Architecture: Selected Poems was published in Spring this year.

Morrissey has served as Belfast’s inaugural Poet Laureate and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Geraldine Mitchell


Geraldine Mitchell was born in Dublin, but when she returned to Ireland after more than twenty years teaching and working as a journalist in Algeria, France and Spain, she decided to make her home on the Co Mayo coast, just west of Louisburgh. It was here that she started to send poems out for publication.

She won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2008 and has since published three collections of poems with Arlen House: World Without Maps (2011), Of Birds and Bones (2014) and most recently Mountains for Breakfast (2017). Her fourth collection will be published later this year, Covid permitting.

Mountains for Breakfast was the focus and inspiration of an exhibition by four visual artists, including her printmaker daughter, Lisa Molina, which was shown in Galway as part of Cuirt 2018. Geraldine and Lisa are at present working together on a series of poems and prints with translations into French and Irish.

Geraldine has also written two novels for young people and a biography.

Billy Keane

Billy Keane is a columnist with the Irish independent and has built a huge following over the 15 years he has been writing for the paper. Billy covers all the bases from his sports columns to life and general.

His columns are usually humorous and at times acerbic but always entertaining.

Keane is the author of a highly acclaimed novel, The Last of The Heroes and he co- wrote Rucks Mauls and Gaelic Footballs with Moss Keane. Billy ghosted Billy Morgan’s autobiography Rebel Rebel. His latest novel The Ballad of Mo and G was a best seller. Keane is a gifted communicator who sees humour in the strangest places.

Billy runs the family pub John B Keane’s in Listowel and had the honour of being the only bar ever to host Prime Time.

Keane has appeared on almost every kind of TV and radio programme ranging from Podge and Rodge to The Late Late Show.

Helena Close


Helena Close is a native of Limerick, and has been writing full time for the past 20 years. She has published eight novels, four of which were co-written. Her latest novel, The Gone book, was published in April, 2020. Her short story “Harbour” was shortlisted for the prestigious Bridport International Short Story Prize 2016. She holds a Masters (first class honours) in Creative Writing from University of Limerick. Her play, Red Army, co-written with Marie Boylan, will be staged in Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick, in September 2021. She is currently working on her fifth novel and a collection of short stories. She is Munster Rugby obsessed, loves cats and dogs and sometimes people.

The Gone Book | Published April 2020 | Little Island

Received critical acclaim on RTE Arena and a recommended read on the Today with Sean O’Rourke show on RTE Radio One.
“From the memorable first line right through to the dramatic conclusion, the story hurtles along at a rapid rate, riding the crest of a massive wave and finally throwing its reader on Lahinch’s shoreline with a thump”
– Book Ireland Magazine – Sine Quinn

“A skillful and truthful novel from a wonderful storyteller”
– Joseph O’Connor

“Dark and gritty and desperately sad and wildly funny, this is as real as writing gets. I was locked inside of Matt’s head for the duration, and I lived his whole mad summer. Every line rings perfectly true.”
-Donal Ryan

“Gritty and funny, but also tragic, it’s a fast and furious ride”
– Annie-Books.com

The Clever One | Published March 2011 | Hachette Ireland

“Bravely written, raw, funny, at times politically incorrect but always captivating, The Clever One explores the boundaries of love, loyalty, family ties and the lengths we are prepared to go to in protecting them. An impressive, relevant, and entertaining read. An absolute page turner.”
– The Irish Independent

The Cut of Love | Published March 2009 | Hachette Ireland

“Extraordinary, a remarkable book that expands the frontiers of Irish popular fiction.”
– The Irish Times

“This is a fantastic book, both heart –wrenching and rewarding at the same time.”
– The RTE Guide

Pinhead Duffy | Published March 2005 | Blackstaff Press.

“…a born Storyteller”
“…a coming of age story that’s truly affecting, bittersweet and acutely observant…”
– The Irish Times

“…a tender yet hilarious narrative”
– The Irish Examiner

John W. Sexton


John W. Sexton was born in 1958 and lives on the south west coast of Kerry near Kenmare. He is the author of seven full poetry collections, the most recent of which is Visions at Templeglantine (Revival Press 2020). His previous collections are: The Prince’s Brief Career, (Cairn Mountain Press, 1995), Shadows Bloom / Scáthanna Faoi Bhláth, a book of haiku with translations into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Doghouse, 2004), Vortex (Doghouse, 2005), Petit Mal (Revival Press 2009), The Offspring of the Moon (Salmon 2013), and Futures Pass (Salmon 2018). A chapbook of his surrealist poetry, Inverted Night, was published by SurVision Books in February 2019.

He also created and wrote the children’s science fiction comedy-drama, The Ivory Tower, for RTE Radio 1, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes. His novels based on this series, The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed are both published by The O’Brien Press and have been translated into Italian and Serbian.

Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records.

He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem “The Green Owl” won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. Also in 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. His poem “In and Out of Their Heads”, from The Offspring of the Moon, was selected for The Forward Book of Poetry 2014. His poem “The Snails” was shortlisted for the 2018 An Post / Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year Award.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin


ANNEMARIE NÍ CHURREÁIN is a poet from the Donegal Gaeltacht. Her publication list includes Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) Town (The Salvage Press, 2018) and The Foundling Crib (Solstice Arts, 2020).

Her work has been shortlisted for the Shine Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland and for the 2018 Julie Suk Award in the U.S.A. She has held literary fellowships at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany and The Jack Kerouac House of Orlando. According to The Yale Review “Ní Churreáin often captures a whole world of cultural and historical implications in a single, simple, but metaphorically rich image”.

Ní Churreáin is both a recipient of the Next Generation Award from the Arts Council and a co-recipient of the inaugural Markievicz Award. She was 2019-20 Writer-In-Residence at The National University of Ireland Maynooth. Ní Churreáin is a 2020 Artist in Residence at Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris.

More information at studiotwentyfive.com

Dean Browne


Dean Browne’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and journals including: Banshee, Poetry Magazine, the Tangerine, The Well Review.

He was the featured poet in the summer 2019 issue of The Stinging Fly.

A poem, ‘Pine Box in the Flea Market’, was nominated for Poem of the Year in the Irish Book Awards.

Stephen Murphy


A former All-Ireland Slam poetry champion, Stephen Murphy first rose to prominence back in 2014 when a video for a poem called Was it for this? was recorded outside his barn and uploaded to Youtube.

The poem served as a clarion call to what would go on to become the Right2Water movement, and having delivered it outside the GPO on O’Connell Street at the first Right2Water demonstration in October 2014, Stephen’s name would go on to become synonymous with the movement itself, having gone on to perform his poetry at six of the nine national demonstrations, to tens of thousands of people on each occasion.

Such was the impact of ‘Was it for this?’, that Stephen was invited to take part in ‘Glórtha 1916′ in Liberty Hall on Easter Saturday 2016, and was the only poet to perform at the Citizens’ Centenary of the Easter Rising on the 24th of April of the same year. In June, Stephen launched ‘Of Land & Man’, a collaboration of his poetry set to music by former members of the seminal Irish band Whipping Boy, and current members of Kíla, but had already become disillusioned by what he saw as the political quest for power during his involvement with Right2Water, and stepped away from it all to spend more time with his infant son and family.

Mac Tíre – Of Land & Man

In October 2016, Stephen was back on stage, this time delivering a poem called ‘Before you push the chair’ to a packed Abbey Theatre, who rose to applaud when he finished. The crowd included President Michael D. Higgins, who would later interrupt his own speech about Brendan Kennelly to call Stephen ‘A splendid, courageous, and gifted young poet’, whose work brought to mind Ginsberg and ‘Howl.’ President Higgins would later go on to write to Stephen, and invited him to perform at the Bloomsday Garden party in June 2017 at Áras an Uachtaráin.

An Irishman’s Diary – On Brendan Kennelly’s 80th Birthday

Since moving to Limerick three years ago, Stephen has completed a Masters in Creative Writing in the University of Limerick, focusing specifically on developing his technique in prose writing with a view to finishing longer form books that are currently in production. In July of 2018 a recording of Before you push the chair that was recorded in John B. Keane’s pub in Listowel went viral, and coming off the back of its relative success, he was invited to give talks at a series of events, and to take part in panel discussions alongside clinical psychologists and various professors in Mental Health. The reaction to the poem shook him to his core, where-in people were crediting his work with saving their lives, and in many ways the ‘success’ of it made him realise the illusory nature of the online paradigm and our addiction towards it.

In recent times he has been working with RTÉ on a commissioned poem to encapsulate his response to the Coronavirus pandemic called ‘The Language of the Birds‘, but the poem is a response to his own battles with illness at the turn of the year, when, two days after performing to a sold-out Olympia Theatre to mark the end of an Irish tour with David Keenan, he became very seriously ill with what was later diagnosed as Miliary Tuberculosis, and spent over two months in hospital as a result.

To date, three albums of his poetry have been released, two of which are a-capella, and his first full-length poetry collection, From the Sea Hound, was published in Spring 2019. He lives in Castleconnell, with his wife and son and their dog, and is usually found wandering down by the banks of the Shannon.

Anne Phelan


Anne’s musical journey began in West Limerick at the age of 5 when she began playing violin and piano in both Classical and traditional styles. Having studied at the Royal Irish Academy of music, she received her Bachelor’s & Master’s in Music. A Fulbright Scholarship enabled her to further her studies in Chicago at Northern Illinois University. Returning to Ireland she landed a principal role with the RTE Concert Orchestra working with international artists such as Placido Domingo, Michel LeGrand, Marvin Hamlish, Lalo Schifrin & John Lord.

Anne is also a vocalist and formed her own jazz trio FÉLANN performing French chanson, Gypsy Jazz, swing & cabaret of hot club Paris & Female blues. She has played Jazz venues in Dublin & London.

Eamonn Moran


Eamonn is an accomplished, highly experienced, professional Guitarist. Equally comfortable on Electric or Acoustic Guitar he is proficient in many styles including Jazz, Blues, Rock & Pop, Traditional Irish Music, Slide Guitar, Folk and Classical Music.

He has worked in the U.K , France and here in Ireland with The Abbey, Gaiety, and Olympia Theatres, The RTE National Concert Orchestra, and with The Essential and The Hothouse Big Bands.

Eamonn has performed in The Bord Gais Energy Theatre, J.J.Smyth’s (Ireland’s foremost jazz club), The National Concert Hall, The Conference Centre and Vicar Street among others.

Micheál Rowsome


Micheál is a multidisciplinary artist hailing from Newcastle West, Co. Limerick.

His work ranges from painting, design, and photography to storytelling, dance, and *fooling. He received a degree in Multimedia from CIT in 2005 and a year later he studied organic horticulture and sustainable living skills in an tIonad Glad (The Organic College).

In 2009, Micheál enjoyed performing in Western Canada as part of a two month cycle and performance tour with the charity Otesha. Traveling from community to community, he and 11 others gave performances and workshops dealing with environmental and ecological issues.

He received two Limerick County Council Artist in Schools residencies in local schools, one creating a bio diversity plan and garden (Gaelscoil O’Doghair) and the other exploring the power of storytelling and theatre (Tournafulla NS).

In 2013, he undertook a 3 month intensive experimental physical performance course with SMASH Berlin and the following year he worked and lived at the art centre, Ponderosa, close to Polish border in eastern Germany. He since has performed dance and storytelling locally and internationally and has been delighted to have taken part for several years in Éigse Michael Hartnett Festival in Newcastle West.

He has previously exhibited collections of paintings and photography locally and in Dublin. In 2018 he published a photo documentary book of his hometown – Beautiful People, Beautiful Place // Daoinne Álainne, Áit Áoibhinn.

*And what’s this fo…foo…fooling thing he speaks of!? Micheál is currently studying with the Nomadic Academy for Fools and the renowned fool Jonathan Kay. It is a movement to create space for the inner world of imagination, to allow room for our inner FOOL to breathe and dance and sing in the known and unknown. To journey with the fool is to be curious and see the cracks of prejudice and judgements and look beyond and inside to a place of intuition and understanding and creating anew in this moment. To realise/ real eyes / real-I-see.

Micheál believes in the transformative power of art and expression on a personal and global level. Current themes that interest him are:

Nature, regenerative agriculture, rewilding (spiritual and physical), mystery, love, community, Gaeilge, healing, sharing, listening, understanding, the power of stories, Tiny (His new dog friend).

You can see some of his work at www.itsmicheal.com

Trevor Sexton

As a singer, musician and songwriter I have been heavily influenced by Irish folk music by the likes of Luke Kelly, Paul Brady, Eric Bogle, Christy Moore and Declan O’Rourke.

I have honoured to open for Phil Coulter, Sharon Shannon, Emma Langford, Kila. And have guested on the Legend of Luke Kelly Show.

Having a grá for the protest/political/anti-war songs of old, I blend some new self-penned poetry and songs with well-known folk songs that have stood the test of time.

I always welcome the opportunity to take part In Éigse Michael Hartnett as I have such admiration for Michael, one of the greatest modern Irish poets.

Festival in a Van

A new mobile arts event, Festival in a Van brings live performance to town in a COVID-19 friendly way.
Three vans have been transformed as mini mobile venues, and will be touring Ireland, making safe, fun arts experiences part of life again.

Supported by Creative Ireland, and led by a team of theatre professionals, Festival in a Van is keeping live performance going, on the move, and coming to Éigse Michael Hartnett 2020.

Four sessions of poetry, storytelling and music will be live streamed (with very limited audience in attendance) on Saturday afternoon, October 3rd.

Featured performers are Stephen Murphy, Poet; Micheál Rowsome, Storyteller and Performance Artist; and Trevor Sexton, Musician/Singer/Songwriter.


To contact Éigse send us a message using the contact form below or call us on 087 164 2130.

For details on accomadation options in Newcastle West and further information visit: http://www.newcastlewest.ie

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