Irish Writers’ Festival is for all ages, tastes

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The second annual Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival returns Oct. 5-8, with four days of literature and poetry readings, children’s events, Irish dance and music performances, a comedy show, workshops and an art exhibit. The local festival is patterned after the renowned Listowel Writers’ Week, a nod to sister city Listowel, Ireland.

Fourteen Irish writers, poets and local writers will participate in more than two dozen events at various locations around town.

The Oct. 5 kickoff is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Saratoga’s Montalvo Arts Center, where the Irish writers will attend a welcome brunch hosted by Irish Counselor Robert O’Driscoll and Los Gatos Mayor Marico Sayoc. A 1 p.m. program follows, “Seamus Heaney: The Berkeley Years,” and includes a discussion led by the poet’s son about Heaney’s experiences at UC-Berkeley in the 1970s. Tickets for both the brunch and talk are $50. General admission tickets for the talk alone are $20.

Although many events are free, passes to ticketed events range in price. For example, the discussion about the nonfiction book “Masquerade” is $15. The book recounts the life of Rosaleen James, whose identity changed as often as her name—from abandoned child to aristocrat, traitor and finally her emergence as an Irish citizen. Event is at 2 p.m. Oct. 6 at C.B. Hannegan’s, 208 Bachman Ave.

The Friends of the Library are hosting a number of events at the library, 100 Villa Ave. Author Evelyn Conlon discusses “Not the Same Sky” at 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Oct. 7. Set in 1849, it traces the lives of four Irish girls who were among 4,000 shipped to Australia during the potato famine. At 1:30 p.m., Los Gatos author Norm Matteoni talks about “Prairie Man,” the book he wrote about the conflict between Sitting Bull and Indian agent James McLaughlin.

Kids are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes when writer and performer Emer Martin launches her new children’s book. “The Dancing Pig.” This free activity at the youth recreation center, 123 E. Main St., is from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 8, and includes an Irish story time and dance demonstration.

Music returns to the civic center stage, 110 E. Main St., 2-4 p.m. Oct. 8, when Erin Ruth Thompson and David Chadwick perform Irish songs, followed by the Mild Colonial Boys at 3 p.m. and dancers from the Kennelly School of Irish Dance. This event is free.

Head over to Charley’s, 15 N. Santa Cruz Ave., at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 for a talk about “How the Irish Won the West” by Myles Dungan. At 8:30 p.m. a man who’s been called “one of the best fiddlers on the planet,” Martin Hayes, takes Charley’s stage. Hayes has won numerous Irish and American awards and was hailed by the Los Angeles Times for his violin style.

The Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival is sponsored by Irish Culture Bay Area and the Irish Counsulate in San Francisco.

Visit Irishwriterslosgatos.com for a complete rundown of events and to purchase tickets. In addition to individual tickets, daily passes and a four-day festival pass are available.



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