Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Twice Winning 'Journalist of the Year' and Award Winning Author Conor O'Clery to Feature at Immrama Festival, Lismore

Twice winning 'Journalist of the Year' and award winning author Conor O'Clery will give a keynote presentation at the ninth annual Immrama Lismore Festival of Travel Writing, which will take place in Co. Waterford from June 9 to 12.

Conor O'Clery is a reporter, traveller, author and broadcaster. However, its as the former backbone of the Irish Times foreign desk that O'Clery is best known; working there for over 30 years in various positions, including staff correspondent based in London, Moscow, Washington, D.C., Beijing and New York City. He wrote for The New Republic from Moscow, contributed columns to Newsweek International, has been a frequent commentator on BBC, NPR and CNN and has won several journalistic awards.

From the Troubles in the north in the 1970's, to the Twin Towers attacks in 2001, Conor has  observed and explained the key events of the last 40 years with his trademark humour and compassion. His gift for insightful, uncomplicated story-telling led to him being crowned his country's Journalist of the Year - twice; first in 1987 for his reporting from the Soviet Union and secondly in 2002 for his reporting of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. O'Clery was in his office just three blocks away from the Twin Towers when they were targeted and he delivered powerfully poignant coverage of the atrocity. He has also witnessed acute devastation elsewhere, including the murder of children in South Africa and East Timor.

O'Clery was right on hand to record the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington's championing of the Irish peace process and the rise of China as a world economic force. He has written a small shelfful of books about his experiences, including a memoir of his world reporting 'May You Live in Interesting Times'; and his latest book, Moscow, December 25, 1991/ The Last Day of the Soviet Union, a minute by minute account of the very last day of the Soviet Union.  According to Conor "The KGB tried to get to me through my wife Zhanna, who was an Armenian living in the then Soviet Union. They tried to intimidate her into recruiting me. It went on for months. But she turned them down flat. Very brave of her. And in the end, they didn't follow through with their threats to stop her getting her doctorate."

He is currently working as Ireland correspondent with GlobalPost and he will feature as a keynote speaker at the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing in Lismore on June 11 at 3pm exploring this year's theme through his travels and reporting 'Along the Enchanted Way…Travellers Past and Present'.

Joining Conor O'Clery are international and award winning authors Rolf Potts and Alex Von Tunzelmann, Anthony Sattin, William Blacker, Theo Dorgan and Sara Wheeler who also feature on the diverse programme at the Immrama Lismore Festival of Travel Writing from June 9 to 12.

The 2011 festival also sees a brand new addition to the programme, a 'Blogger's Forum' facilitated by Manchán Magan with special guests Rolf Potts, Áine Goggins of the TG4 Couchsurfing programme "Ó Tholg go Tolg", and Darragh Doyle of boards.ie.

A variety of fringe events will also take place over the weekend, 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 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 058-53803.

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