The launch of the second annual Kildare Readers Festival took place at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge on Wednesday night last, April 6, with a bigger and better programme in store for bookworms this year.
The event, which takes place from Friday, May 13 to Sunday May 15, was officially launched by Mayor of Kildare Brendan Weld while the guest speaker for the night was Michael D Higgins.
Local poet Mae Leonard read aloud from her latest collection of poems entitled “I Shouldn’t be Telling You This”.
“It is a great pleasure to be here,” said poet, writer, former Minister for Arts and human rights campaigner, Michael D Higgins. “How important is literacy? When I visit prisions I am struck at the difference it makes to be able to read equally so in the travelling community - it can change lives.
“The joy of reading means that you will never be alone because you have a world that is not constrained to the one around you.
“Reading is a real pleasure and there is something beautiful about books. There is an intimacy that is involved in reading.
“Newbridge was very good to my father. Nobody in Cork would hire him, Johnny Higgins, after he was interned during the Civil War. He came up here to Newbridge and thanks to the kindess and generousity of the people of Newbridge, started all over again in a very difficult time.”
The Mayor of Kildare Brendan Weld praised the programme of events lined up for this year’s festival.
He also accepted an orginal Jack B Yeates drawing, which was donated to the people of Kildare on the night by Robert Cecil Patterson, on behalf of Richard Robinson, Newberry Hal, l Carbury
“It [the festival] starts with Peter Murphy in conversation with Maria Doyle Kennedy about books, murder ballads, music and films and it ends with Dermot Bolger in conversation with Peter Sheridan and Carol Gebler on the subject of Parents and Other Strangers,” he said.
“Following on from the success of last year’s festival this year’s programme is packed with writers of both local and international acclaim.
“There are a greater number of fringe events this year and I wish the festival every success.”
For a full programme of events go to www.kildare.ie