No better way...mark calendars Oct. 12-14, 2018

"There's no better way to celebrate the relationship between our nations, whose histories are so closely intwertwined, than by creating an Irish Writers Festival in Los Gatos" - Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland


Congratulations to Elaine O’Grady-Coll, the winner of Aer Lingus round trip flights to Ireland.


14 Irish writers flocked to Los Gatos for four days of events with Bay Area writers and presenters

2017 Contest Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 writing contests…

Message from Irish Consul

Welcome message by Irish Consul General, Robert O’Driscoll

October 5, 11am-12.30pm

Opening Reception & Event at Montalvo Arts Center, Oct. 5, 11am-12.30pm. Followed by Seamus Heaney event.

October 5, 1-3.00pm

“Seamus Heaney: The Berkeley Years” visiting writers pay tribute at Montalvo

October 5, 6.30-9pm

The Irish and the Jews. Stories, film, poetry and representation of Jews in Irish Literature.

October 6, 2-3.30pm

Attorney and Professor Mark Hull on “Masquerade: Treason, Holocaust, and an Irish Impostor”

October 6, 6-8.00pm

Northern Irish Women Writers in conversation with editor Sinéad Gleeson.

October 6, 8.00-10pm

Maureen Langan’s comic life as Daughter of a Garbageman

October 7, 9.00-11.00am

Walking tour of Los Gatos, followed by history presentation

October 7, 10.30-11.45am

Evelyn Conlon’s account of Irish orphans in Australia

October 7, 3.15pm-4.45pm

A tribute to forgotten Irish writer, and New Yorker columnist, Maeve Brennan.

October 7, 1pm-3pm

New Irish Poetry with Stephen Sexton, Stephen Connolly, Caroline Bracken, Simon Lewis. Moderated by Raina Leon

October 7, 1.30-2.45pm

“Prairie Man” author Norm Matteoni in conversation with Irish historian Myles Dungan

October 7, 5-6.15pm

Paisanos: Forgotten Irish of Latin America – reading, discussion and music

October 7, 8-9.30

“A Mother, A Son, A City”. The Irish Mammy and other stories with author and performer, David Nihill

October 8. 10.00-12.30pm

New documentary of book “John Hume in America.” Q&A with filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick and historian and former San Jose mayor, Tom McEnery

October 8, 12-2pm

Children’s Event with Irish dancing lessons, storytelling and book readings.

October 8, 12.45am-2.15pm

Irish Women, New Voices: Ethel Rohan, Jan Carson, Caroline Bracken

October 8, 2-4pm

The Mild Colonial Boys, Erin Ruth Thompson, and Kennelly School of Irish Dancers take to the stage at Civic Center Plaza.

October 8, 2.45-3.45pm

Rage, Resistance and a Rejection of Resignation with Emer Martin. Emer’s darkly comic work examines power and the abuse of it.

October 8, 4.15pm-5.30pm

Leading BBC journalist Martin Dillon reads from and discusses new memoir

October 8, 7-8.30pm

Historian and author Myles Dungan on how the Irish toiled and dreamed of big things in the Wild West

October 8, 8.30-9.30

Special guest and Irish fiddler extraordinaire Martin Hayes joins us as an Irish Musician Who Won The West

Art On View

Photography by Roseanne Lynch, paintings by Bridie Ryan, sculpture by Colette O’Beirne on view all weekend at Whitney Modern.

Speakers & Presenters

Sinéad Gleeson

Sinéad Gleeson is a writer, editor, journalist and presenter of The Book Show on RTE. She will moderate a panel on “The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland,” a recent anthology she edited, as well as a Maeve Brennan tribute event.

Martin Dillon

With several highly acclaimed books to his name, including “The Dirty War,” “God and the Gun” and “The Shankill Butchers,” Martin Dillon’s investigative and fiction works take on the Ireland conflict. Martin will read from his new memoir, which includes an extensive account of his journalistic career with the BBC.

Jan Carson

Jan Carson is a writer and community arts development officer based in Belfast. Her short stories have been published in literary journals both sides of the Atlantic. Jan is featured in “The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland.” She joins Sinéad Gleeson and Evelyn Conlon for a reading and discussion about her work.

Mick Heaney

Mick Heaney is a columnist, journalist, broadcaster and radio critic for The Irish Times, and a regular contributor to Irish broadcast media. Mick joins us as we pay tribute to his father, Seamus Heaney, following our Opening Reception at Montalvo Arts Center, October 5th.

Ruth Gilligan

Dubliner Ruth Gilligan is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Her latest book “Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan” is historic fiction based around the Jewish community in Ireland.

Tim Fanning

Tim Fanning is an author and researcher based in Dublin. Tim has worked on a number of Irish and Spanish titles, including the recent “Paisanos: The Forgotten Irish Who Changed the Face of Latin America.”


Eanlai Cronin is a schoolteacher, memoirist, and certified Amherst Writers and Artists Method facilitator. She runs writing groups and retreats in the East Bay for those in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, trauma and abuse, and for anyone longing to return to the well of their own forgotten words and stories.

Myles Dungan

Historian, playwright, novelist, and presenter of the History Show on RTE, Myles is the author of several books on Irish and American history. His newly revised “How The Irish Won The West” has recently been published by New Island Press.

Evelyn Conlon

Evelyn is a novelist and short story writer from Monaghan. Her work appears in “The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland,” and her most recent novel is an account of the plight of orphaned Irish girls shipped to Australia in 1847.

Stephen Sexton

Belfast native Stephen Sexton’s poems have appeared in Granta, Poetry London, Best British Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review and The Lifeboat reading series. Stephen’s poem “The Curfew” recently scooped the UK National Poetry Society Competition Award.

Raina Leon

Raina Leon’s fellowships and residencies have included Cave Canem and the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland. She is Associate Professor of Education at St. Mary’s College of California. Raina’s focus is on the power of poetry in connection with freedom struggles and anti-oppression movements.

Maurice Fitzpatrick

“In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America,” is the latest work of Derry-born writer and filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick. The former Trinity College literature and philosophy graduate lives and works in Ireland and Germany.

Pól Ó Dochartaigh

Professor Ó Dochartaigh developed the exhibit “Representation of Jews in Irish Literature,” a collaboration between NUI Galway and Ulster University. The exhibit charts the representations of Jewish identity, culture and life in Ireland from medieval through to modern times.

Stephen Connolly

Representing a new generation of voices in Irish literature, Stephen Connolly is a Belfast-based poet and a postgraduate student at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University.

Emer Martin

Dubliner Emer Martin is an internationally recognized artist and writer of fiction and children’s books. She is currently living in Redwood City.

Maureen Langan

Maureen Langan is a writer, broadcaster and performer. Her one-woman show “Daughter of a Garbageman” is an account of her growing up in the Bronx, a child of a sanitation worker father and Irish mother.

Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis’s Hennessy Award-winning poetry collection, “Jewtown,” chronicles the experiences of Lithuanian Jewish settlers in Cork’s Jewish quarter in the 1880s and 1890s.

Joseph McBride

Film historian, biographer, screenwriter and professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University, Joseph McBride will read from his new work “Two Cheers For Hollywood: Joseph McBride on Movies”


Ethel Rohan is an Irish novelist and short story writer living in San Francisco. Her much-acclaimed first novel “The Weight of Him” won the inaugural Plumeri Fellowship and was named an Amazon Best Book.

David Nihill

David is a Moth Storyslam and bestselling author whose work has been featured in Huffington Post, Forbes, The Irish Times, and on NPR. Recent gigs include Kings of Comedy Tour, SF Sketchfest, Ventura Comedy Festival and the Kansas City Irish Festival.

Caroline Bracken

Caroline Bracken’s poems have been published in The Irish Times Hennessy New Irish Writing, Skylight 47, The Clare Champion, The WOW Anthology and The Gathering collection. She was recently awarded in Poetry Ireland/Trócaire’s annual competition.

Elgy Gillespie

Writer, journalist and teacher, Elgy Gillespie is currently based in San Francisco where she works as an ESL teacher. Elgy is an accredited travel writer and contributes regularly to The Irish Times column, “An Irishwoman’s Diary.”

Robert Tracy

University of California, Berkeley scholar Robert Tracy joins us for the festival’s Seamus Heaney tribute event. Bob and Seamus developed a lifelong friendship when they met in 1970, the year Seamus Heaney spent an academic year as a visiting professor at UC Berkeley.

Fintan Vallely

Armagh native Fintan Vallely is a musician, writer and researcher on Irish traditional music. Fintan has taught flute at the prestigious Willie Clancy Summer School in Ireland since 1986.

Roseanne Lynch

Roseanne’s visual arts practice includes photography and installation, and explores the medium of photography and 20th century architecture. Her current photographic work, Eloquent Proof, explores 20th century modernist houses and the medium itself as a structure of understanding.

Mashey Bernstein

Mashey Bernstein is an Irish Jewish writer and teacher at the Writing Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. Mashey chairs the annual Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival.

Mark Hull

Mark Hull, Associate Professor of Military History, U.S Army Command and General Staff College, Kansas, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an attorney, and author of “Irish Secrets: German Espionage in Wartime Ireland, 1939–1945” and the recent release, “Masquerade: Treason, the Holocaust, and an Irish Impostor.”


Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, 2013-2016. Author of Wild Place (2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (2014), her first full-length poetry collection, Night Court, recently won the 2016 Lyrebird Award.

Valerie Lapin

Valerie Lapin is a Bay Area filmmaker whose 2002 documentary “Shalom Ireland” explores the Irish Jewish communities of 20th Century Ireland. Valerie joins our “Representation of Jews in Irish Literature” panel discussion.

Tom McEnery

Tom McEnery, former San Jose mayor and owner of the Irish Innovation Center and Silicon Valley Global. A writer and historian, Tom wrote the introduction to John Hume’s 1997 book “A New Ireland.” Tom joins writer and filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick for a discussion on Fitzpatrick’s new work, “In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America.”

Thank You to Our Sponsors