Limerick Literary Festival starts next Friday, the 20th.
It will be opened by TAFKAJ, the artist formerly known as Joe, now Joseph O’Connor. We used to call it writing but when it becomes literature, a strange alchemy takes place. Literary stuff does that to you. It makes everyone use your Mammy-name, including you. How many Joes out there — even today — quiver like guilty urchins when someone shouts at them.
Joseph! Come here now!
Oh God. I didn’t do it. I’m 47. I run my own company. I employ fourteen people. I have a beer-belly and a huge overdraft.
I said now, Joseph!
Sometimes, it’s even worse. Literartiness makes some people put a little initial up there in front of their names, like T Coraghessan Boyle, though of course, I’m well aware he made up the name to take the piss out of the literarty tendency. We can forgive JK Rowling doing the initials thing, for commercial considerations not entirely unconnected with casual sexism against female authors, but WB Yeats and TS Eliot were a pair of pompous, self-important clods, as anyone who ever listened to Yeats reading The Lake Isle of Innisfree will immediately recognise.
This, of course, is drifting a long way from the Limerick Literary Festival, which starts next Friday, 20th February.
It starts at 10am with The Literature of Loss Conference at Mary I.
- Keynote: Dr Caroline Magennis
- Reading: TAFKAJ
- Keynote: Dr Eugene O’Brien
At 7pm, TAFKAJ will officially open the thing at the Belltable, followed by the slightly tautological Music and Splendour Music Event, featuring the sublime Sarah Dolan. Even an unlettered clod like me will be attending this operatic feast since, like most Limerick people, I grew up with opera in the home, even if my loutish adolescent self didn’t appreciate it.
Saturday and Sunday see all sorts of interesting characters doing Q&A sessions.
For all the details, check out the website here. Get your lazy arse along to one or two of them, as I will myself.