International Travel Writers to converge on Immrama Lismore Festival of Travel Writing 2011
A fine literary programme for the ninth annual Immrama Lismore Festival of Travel Writers was launched at Lismore Castle on Tuesday, April 19. Award-winning travel writers including Conor O'Clery, Rolf Potts, Alex Von Tunzelmann, Anthony Sattin, William Blacker, Theo Dorgan, Sara Wheeler and more have been lined up to speak at the Immrama Festival in Lismore, Co Waterford from June 9 to 12.
'Along the Enchanted Way...Travellers Past and Present' is the theme of Immrama 2011 and this festival will explore travellers and writing through the ages up to the 21st century. Keynote presentations will be given by award winning writer Conor O'Clery at 3pm on Saturday, June 11, and Rolf Potts and Alex Von Tunzelmann at 8pm on Saturday June 11. Other main presentations include Sara Wheeler in conversation with Pól Ó Conghaile, poet and sailor Theo Dorgan, and a closing presentation from William Blacker, whose publication 'Along the Enchanted Way' was praised by no less than Patrick Leigh Fermor upon publication in 2009. The annual literary breakfast, at 8.30am on Sunday June 12, will be hosted by Egyptologist and acclaimed author Anthony Sattin.
The Saturday June 11 3pm keynote presentation will see author and former Irish Times journalist Conor O'Clery speak about his experiences as a foreign correspondent. Conor's newest book is Moscow, December 25, 1991/The Last Day of the Soviet Union. The writer worked for over 30 years in various positions with the Irish Times, including stints as a staff correspondent based in London, Moscow, Washington DC, Beijing and New York City.
Conor has won several awards, including "Journalist of the Year" twice - first for his reporting from the Soviet Union, and, later, for his reporting of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, which he witnessed from his office three blocks away.
Later on June 11, the Saturday evening session will feature Rolf Potts and Alex Von Tunzelmann.
Rolf Potts has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler. A veteran travel columnist, his adventures have taken him across six continents, and include piloting a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, traversing Israel on foot and cycling across Burma. The San Francisco Chronicle describes Potts as "one of the best travel writers to emerge in the last decade. Intrepid and thoughtful, he's a Paul Theroux for the backpacker generation."
International travel writer and author Alex Von Tunzelman writes an online weekly film column, Reel History, for The Guardian and writes travel pieces for Lonely Planet magazine and contributes to Daily Beast. Her first book 'Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire' was published worldwide in summer 2007 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of independence from Britain in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Her widely anticipated second book, Red Heat, has just been published to critical acclaim, and she has written for Sunday Times magazine; New York Times; Los Angeles Times; Daily Telegraph and Conde Nast Traveler.
Early-risers on Sunday, June 12 can enjoy a literary breakfast with Anthony Sattin, journalist, broadcaster and author. On that evening, the festival will draw to a close with a presentation by writer and adventurer William Blacker.
Launching the 2011 programme at a function held in the Pugin Room at Lismore Castle, Ray O'Dwyer, Co Manager, said: "It is my great pleasure to launch the ninth programme for the Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. The organisers have again excelled in bringing together a programme featuring a variety of Irish and international travel writers. The festival which dovetails perfectly with Lismore has grown steadily over the last nine years and is truly unique in its focus on travel writing and literature, attracts a wide audience from the region and further afield. Guest speakers get the opportunity to enjoy the informal charm of Lismore and absorb its unrivalled historic character."
A brand new addition to the programme is a 'Blogger's Forum' facilitated by Manchán Magan with special guests Rolf Potts, Áine Goggins of the TG4 Couchsurfing programme CÓ Tholg go Tolg", and Darragh Doyle of boards.ie.
In addition to the literary presentations the 2011 festival programme is packed with a variety of fringe events, including an International visual arts exhibition at Lismore Castle Arts, exhibition and events at Lismore Library, a kayaking event with Jasper Winn (author of Paddle - A Long Way Around Ireland) with Blackwater Boats, Festival Bookshop hosted by Eason Dungarvan, creative writing workshops, book readings and more.
The phenomenon of a little town in County Waterford that manages to attract the world's greatest travel writers made quite an impression on international Travel Writer and contributor to National Geographic Michael Shapiro last year. Michael's awe of the festival was captured in conversation with Arthur and Pauline Frommer, publishers of Frommer's Travel Guides, the world's largest selling series of travel guides and hosts of The Travel Show on WOR, a major New York radio station. Commenting on the New York radio show Michael Shapiro said, "The town of Lismore attracts some of the best travel writers in the world, it is a four day celebration of travel writing and it's a festival that loves books."
The Immrama Festival of Travel Writing will be held in Lismore from June 9 to 12, 2011 and is generously supported by Failte Ireland, Waterford County Council, Eason Dungarvan and Waterford Airport, the Arts Council. Tickets and further information can be found on www.lismoreimmrama.com or by contacting 058 54975.