Cúirt fostering exchange ‘of ideas and knowledge’

Violinist Myn Kym, who will take part in this year's festival.
Violinist Myn Kym, who will take part in this year's festival.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Booker Prize winning Nigerian author Ben Okri, international spoken-word poets Patricia Smith and Rafeef Ziadah, acclaimed American novelist Joshua Cohen, Ireland’s Joseph O’Connor and classical musician Min Kym will join with Galway writers Nicole Flattery, Mary O’Malley, Rita Ann Higgins, Ndrek Gjini, Aoibheann McCann, Gerry Hanberry and Nuala O’Connor for this year’s Cúirt Festival of Literature.

It will take place from April 8-14.

Launching the programme, journalist Lorna Siggins recalled her late Irish Times colleague, the critic Eileen Battersby, who died earlier this year, stating that “she would love this programme”.

Programme Director Emily Cullen explained that participants this year will come from 15 countries, as well as Ireland.

“Each of these storytellers carries with them unique experiences from distant lands and cultures and Cúirt is honoured to enable the exchange of knowledge, language and ideas.”

Ben Okri’s 11th novel, The Freedom Artist, was published last month, while his 1991 book, The Famished Road, won the Man Booker Prize. He headlines this year’s event and will be ‘in conversation’ with writer and broadcaster, Vincent Woods on Saturday, April 13, at 8pm in the Town Hall Theatre.

Furbo woman Fionnuala Ní Aoláin now lives in the US and is United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism. The academic and human rights activist will deliver the Cúirt keynote address Human Rights in the Age of Terrorism: Perspectives and Reflections.

In recent decades, democracies have put a special focus on counter-terrorism efforts . But some of the measures they’ve taken raise serious human rights concerns, and Professor Ní Aoláin will explore these concerns. Her book On the Frontlines: Gender, War and the Post Conflict Process was published by Oxford University Press (2011). She recently edited The Oxford Handbook on Gender and Conflict. Her talk, on Thursday, April 11, at 1pm, will be chaired by Prof. Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUIG.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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