Among the most attractive events at recent John Hewitt International Summer Schools in Armagh, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Armagh City & District Council, have been the Lunchtime Readings featuring some critically acclaimed prose writers.
And this year’s Lunchtime series, which runs at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh from 28 July to 1 August, will not disappoint those attending the Summer School and local book lovers as the most attractive line-up ever for the Lunchtime Readings includes top Irish writers Joseph O’Connor, Jennifer Johnston, Eoin McNamee, Mary O’Donnell and David Park.
Joseph O’Connor, who is one of the most popular writers ever to have visited the Hewitt Summer School, will start off this year’s very attractive lunchtime series on Monday 28 July. The best-selling novelist and award-winning screenwriter will read from and talk about his new novel “The Thrill of It All”, a masterfully woven story which follows a band and a friendship over 25 years.
The guest writer at lunchtime on Tuesday 28 July will be David Park, one of the most highly- regarded novelists living and working in Ireland, who will read from and discuss his latest novel, “The Poets’ Wives”. Deeply insightful and beautifully wrought, this book features David Park at his best – a novelist whose work has the power to bring the hidden from the shadows, into a delicate and shimmering light.
On Wednesday 30 July, there will be a warm welcome to JHISS for Eoin McNamee, now based in Sligo but originally from Kilkeel, Co Down. His first book, the novella “The Last of Deeds”, was shortlisted for the Irish Times Literature Prize and his novels include “Resurrection Man”, which was later made into a film, and “The Blue Tango” which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Eoin will read from his latest novel “Blue is the Night” which completes his ‘Blue Trilogy’ of crime thriller novels, based on true murder cases from 1950s Northern Ireland, and he will talk about weaving real life cases into fiction.
Originally from Co Monaghan but now based in Co Kildare, poet and novelist Mary O’Donnell makes her first appearance at JHIOSS in Armagh on Thursday 31 July. Her books include six collections of poetry and the bestselling novels, “The Light-Makers”, “Virgin and the Boy” and “The Elysium Testament”. Her new novel, “Where They Lie”, set mainly in Northern Ireland, faces the legacy of ‘The Disappeared’ head on, exploring how families cope with tragedy and how history, when ignored, can poison love, family and society.
While Jennifer Johnston has read for the John Hewitt Society in other locations, she will make her first appearance at the Hewitt Summer School in Armagh this year. One of the foremost writers of her generation, she has won the Whitbread Prize, the Evening Standard Best First Novel, and Best Book of the Year twice, and was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize with “Shadows on Our Skin”. Jennifer will be reading from her latest novel “A Sixpenny Song”, where death brings a young woman back to Dublin from London, to the house of tyranny she thought she had long escaped, and this Lunchtime reading on Friday 1 August should be one of the highlights of this year’s Hewitt week literary programme.
Tickets for individual readings cost £7.00 and these will be available at the Box Office at The Market Place Theatre Tel. 028 3752 1821 or they may be booked online: www.marketplacearmagh.com For further information see the Summer School brochure or website: www.johnhewittsociety.org