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Northern Lights

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Three leading lights in literature from Northern Ireland read and talk about their adventures in writing. Featuring writers Eoin McNamee, Louise Kennedy and Michael Nolan. Facilitated by Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell.



Northern Lights celebrates three leading luminaries of contemporary literature from the North of Ireland – Eoin McNamee, Louise Kennedy and Michael Nolan – in a free event chaired by Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell that takes place at the Linenhall Arts Centre as part of Castlebar’s annual Wild Atlantic Words literary festival. The three literary talents will be reading and talking about their adventures in writing in what promises to be a both enlightening and engaging afternoon at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Saturday 13th October at 4.00pm.

Eoin McNamee has made his name as an author of psychologically penetrating and stylised literary reimaginings of real-life crimes and suspected conspiracies, from the Shankill Butchers (Resurrection Man, subsequently made into a film), to the darkly compelling Man Booker-longlisted Blue Tango, based on the murder of Patricia Curran, and Orchid Blue, described by the Guardian as not only into a political novel of the highest order but also that rare phenomenon, a genuinely tragic work of art”. His most recent novel, The Vogue, is described as “a grimly poetic dance through the intertwined stories of a deeply religious community, an abandoned military base, and a long-shuttered children’s Care Home”. As well as seven novels, he has written two novellas, The Last of Deeds (shortlisted for the 1989 Irish Times/Aer Lingus Award for Irish Literature) and Love in History, and a number of books for juvenile readers including The Navigator. If that wasn’t enough, he has also written a series under the pseudonym John Creed, featuring the character of intelligence officer Jack Valentine. He was awarded the Macauley Fellowship for Irish Literature in 1990.

Louise Kennedy started writing in 2014, and has already garnered a slew of literary awards. In 2015 she won both first place and runner up in Ambit Fiction Contest, and first place in Wasifiri New Writing Competition. In 2016 she won Listowel Los Gatos Short Story Contest and John O’Connor Short Story Competition. Other recognition includes Colm Toibin Short Story Competition 2016 (highly commended), Cuirt 2016 (short list), and Short Fiction Journal Prize 2016 (runner up). Her work has featured on RTE Radio 1’s Arena, and in literary magazines AmbitWasifiriThe Incubator and Silver Apples. She is a PhD (Creative Writing) candidate at Queens University Belfast and is working on a collection of short stories. 


Michael Nolan completed a BA in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moore’s University, then the MA at Queen’s University, Belfast, in 2012. While in Liverpool, he was invited to read at The Bluecoat’s Next Up writer’s series, and was editor of In the Red magazine’s 9th issue. His work has been published by The Stinging Fly, The Lifeboat and Salt, and won the LJMU Avalon Prize for Poetry in 2012. His novella The Blame was published by Salt Publishing in 2014. He is currently fiction editor of The Tangerine.

Marie Louise O’Donnell is a broadcaster, writer and lecturer, best known for her work with BBC and RTÉ. Originally from Foxford she has lectured extensively in Ireland, Europe and the USA in education, Irish drama, Irish culture and language. She can currently be heard regularly on RTÉ Radio’s Sean O’Rourke Show


Northern Lights takes place at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Saturday 13th October at 4.00pm. Admission FREETel: 094 9023733 or online at

Presented as part of Castlebar’s annual Wild Atlantic Words festival. For more information see

Location: Linenhall Arts Centre

Time: 4pm

Contact: 094 902 3733