Launching the 2022 Frances Browne Literary Festival Programme

Celebrated poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin to open second Frances Browne Literary Festival

AWARD-WINNING poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin will deliver the keynote address at the 2022 Frances Browne Literary Festival opening event in The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, on Thursday 13th October.

Now in its second year the festival runs from the 13th to 16th Oct 2022.

"I've long been interested in Frances Browne. It is a special honour to celebrate the achievements of a fellow Donegal woman,” she said.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet from the Donegal Gaeltacht. Her publications include Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017), Town (The Salvage Press, 2018) and The Poison Glen (The Gallery Press, 2021). She is an Arts Council recipient of The Next Generation Artist Award and a co-recipient of The Markievicz Award.

The opening night will also feature a short play, ‘Sarah Leech: Strangers to Our Own’ by Dr. Pauline Holland, musical delights from Philippa Collings and her singers and the presentation of the second Frances Browne Award.

Cllr Patrick McGowan, Cathaoirleath of the Lifford Stranorlar Municipal District congratulated the Frances Browne Literary Festival committee on the launch of what is now an annual Literary festival.

“Donegal County Council is proud to be the main sponsor of the festival. Donegal East is unique in Ireland with Irish, English and Ulster Scots traditions. This literary festival highlights the work of Frances Browne as well as recognising the multicultural traditions of this community that have co-existed over many generations.

On behalf of my Donegal Council Council colleagues and managment and staff, we wish the Frances Browne Literary Festival every success and hope locals and visitors alike will take time to attend the many events that are planned for 13th to the 16th October,” he said.

This multilingual four-day festival will also feature:

For Dreamers and Dancers:

A spectacular, interactive, outdoor promenade performance incorporating dance, storytelling and aerial theatre. Performed on Saturday and Sunday, “The Tale of Fairyfoot” from Granny’s Wonderful Chair is directed by Tanya Ward (Aislingí Dance Academy) in association with internationally renowned Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company (co-founded by local artist Chantal Mc Cormick).

For Thinkers and Talkers:

An audience with Deirdre O’Kane on Friday at 5pm : An intimate conversation with the comedian, actor and activist. One of Ireland’s favourite comedians, Deirdre never strays too far from her live stand-up roots; her new show, Demented, a box-fresh hour of side splitting laughs, is touring Ireland and the UK in 2022.

On Saturday 15th Oct be immersed in Ulster Scots drama, music, song, poetry and Highland dance at Monreagh Ulster Scots / Scots Irish Heritage & Education Centre, Carrigans, in the tranquil settings of a beautifully restored 19th century manse. Compered by Angeline King, Writer in Residence of Ulster University with well-known local performers Ian McCracken, poet and storyteller and multi-instrumentalist musician and singer Stuart Buchanan

A Panel Discussion on the work of three Ulster Scots womens writers. The discussion will contextualise the work of the three women writers for the audience and consider how issues of identity and language have impacted on their historical and contemporary reception. Ulster Scots writer Anne Mc Master will chair and provide contemporary insights.

For Writers, Artists and Singers:

A Nature Writing Masterclass with Annemarie Ní Churreáin is planned for Sunday starting at 2pm. Join acclaimed Donegal poet Annemarie in the atmospheric surroundings of Dunmore House and Gardens, Carrigans, and be inspired by the natural world in this unique and intimate masterclass. Attendance numbers are deliberately low to ensure you get the most out of this time with Annemarie.

Creative writing and poetry workshops in Irish, English and Ulster- Scots.

Book launches. Bláth na dTulach A collection of short stories from Ulster in The Coffee Loft, Alexanders, Ballybofey, on Saturday at 2pm and Dusty Bluebells by Angeline King in Ulster Scots translation at An Súile Centre, Raphoe, on Saturday at 3.30 . Introduced by journalist and broadcaster Mary Harte

The Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Awards ceremony with prizes in English, Irish and Ulster Scots poetry in Kee’s Hotel, Stranorlar on Friday night at 8pm.

Frances Browne inspired window and instore dislays by local businesses that will be launched by some very interesting Frances Browne inspired characters on Friday 7th Oct.

An art exhibition by the Fiach Arts Circle that opens on 7th Oct in Ballybofey and will run for the duration of the festival.

The festival will also host Gordon Speer's choir from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, to perform a selection of Hymns by Cecil Frances Alexander, a local contemporary of Frances Browne, who wrote in English and Ulster Scots and who shared her religious convictions and fervour.

For the Children

Children's Fun and Activity Day with a magician and Victorian wooden games at Ard McCool Playground on Sunday.

Away With the Fairies, a primary schools’ workshop led by actor and theatre maker Louise Conaghan and playwright Shirley-Anne Godfrey.

“The festival celebrates the inclusive and pluralist culture of Frances Browne’s homeland. On behalf of the committee, we are delighted with the programme for this year and are confident after the success of last year’s festival that The Frances Browne Literary Festival is a valued event that raises awareness of the literary culture and heritage of East Donegal,” said Celine McGlynn, Chairperson of the Frances Browne Literary Festival Committee.

The Festival’s inspiration is Stranorlar born Frances Browne (16 January 1816 – 21August 1879) who was, at one time, the best known writer of fairy tales in the British Isles and much of the world. Known as The Blind Poetess of Ulster, she was also a celebrated poet, journalist, and novelist, famed for her children’s short stories, most notably the widely translated “Granny’s Wonderful Chair” (1856).

The Frances Browne Literary Festival is funded and supported by Dongal County Council, Ulster Scots Agency, the Arts Council, the Creative Ireland Programme and Finn Valley Voice.

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The Frances Browne Literary Festival