No better way...mark calendars Oct. 11-15, 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 ..." - Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

Paul Muldoon

Northern Ireland-born Paul Muldoon has been described as “the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War.” The Pulitzer prizewinner has published twelve major poetry collections since 1973.

Fintan O’Toole

Fintan O’Toole is an op-ed columnist for the Irish Times, as well as an author, literary critic, historical writer, and political commentator. He is the recipient of the AT Cross Award for Supreme Journalism, the European Press Prize, and the Orwell Prize for Journalism.

Jessica Traynor

Writer, dramaturg, and teacher, Jessica’s debut collection ‘Liffey Swim’ was nominated for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award, and other awards include Hennessy New Irish Writer and Listowel Poetry Prize. Her second collection, ‘The Quick’, is due in September.

Wendy Erskine

Based in Belfast where she works as a teacher, Wendy has been published in ‘Stinging Fly Stories,’ ‘Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland,’ and will be included in the upcoming ‘Being Various: New Irish Short Stories.’ ‘Sweet Home’ is her first collection.

Gerald Dawe

Gerald Dawe is an award-winning Irish poet, writer and editor from Belfast. A former professor of English at Trinity College, Dublin, Gerald has published eight collections of poetry and four volumes of essays, and edited several works of poetry and literary criticism.

Caitriona Perry

Journalist, news correspondent, and presenter with RTE, Ireland’s national TV and radio station, Caitriona Perry’s coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election resulted in “In America: Tales from Trump Country,” shortlisted for Best Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2017.

Nathan Richardson

Nathan is a performance poet and author who has published two collections, and contributed to several poetry anthologies. Nathan brings black history to life on his Frederick Douglass Speaking Tours. He joins Christine Kinealy for a look at Douglass’s time in Ireland.

Christine Kinealy

Christine is an author and historian who earned her PhD from Trinity College, Dublin. She is an authority on Irish history, as well as the founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University. Christine’s latest book examines Frederick Douglass’s time in Ireland.

Siobhra Quinlan

Siobhra is an Irish vocalist, composer, and producer. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, she is the founder of sfiiinx, a chamber music ensemble. Her recent performances include The Divil’s Music, as part of the ‘Judging Shaw’ exhibition at the Little Museum of Dublin.

Melatu Uche Okorie

Nigerian-born Irish resident writer and scholar, Okorie writes about the welfare of asylum seekers and migrant education in Ireland. Her debut collection ‘This Hostel Life’ has just been published by Skein Press. She is currently studying for a PhD at Trinity College, Dublin.

Darach Ó Séaghdha

Darach Ó Séaghdha explores the Irish language from a personal perspective and is the author of ‘Motherfoclóir: Dispatches From A Not-So Dead Language’ and the presenter of the Motherfoclóir podcast. His new follow-up book ‘Craic Baby’ is due out in September.

Shana Morrison & Caledonia

Shana Morrison began performing with her father, Van, before striking out with her own band, Caledonia. Her musical style has been called “pop with a side of blues, and a side of rock,” but she deftly adds country, Irish and jazz into the mix.

Paul Jude Redmond

Paul was born in a mother-and-baby home in Ireland. His book ‘The Adoption Machine’ examines the scale of the industry, the shocking mortality rates and the illegal adoption trade that separated mothers from their babies and netted religious orders millions of euro.

Manuela Moser

Manuela Moser is a Belfast-based poet and a postgraduate student at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast. Along with Stephen Connolly, she co-founded The Lifeboat, an innovative series of readings and workshops in Belfast.

Declan Meade

Declan Meade is the publisher, editor, and co-founder of The Stinging Fly literary magazine, which showcases new and emerging Irish and international writers. He has edited two short-story anthologies and taught modules on the business of publishing at the American College Dublin.

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. He co-directs the Lifeboat series in Belfast.

Stuart Bailie

Stuart Bailie is an Irish journalist, broadcaster, and founder/CEO of the Oh Yeah music centre in Belfast. His book ‘Trouble Songs’ details the history of popular music during the Troubles. He describes it as “an account of how music has been a persuader, agitator and peacemaker.”

Emer Martin

Dubliner Emer Martin’s first novel ‘Breakfast in Babylon’ won Irish Book of the Year 1996. Since then she has published three more novels including the recent highly acclaimed ‘The Cruelty Men.’ Emer lives in Palo Alto.

Kieran Cronin

Kieran has over 14 years’ experience of working in academic and special libraries and currently works at Waterford IT where he manages the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies. His presentation ‘Paws for Thought’ explores New leads on Irish Genealogy resources.

Yvonne Watterson

Originally from Co. Antrim, Yvonne is a writer and blogger now living in Phoenix, AZ. She has been recognized nationally for her work in school reform and for her activism in immigration. She contributes regularly to the Irish Times, offering perspective on issues that affect immigrants living in America.

Rosie McGurran

Rosie McGurran is a prizewinning Irish contemporary artist. Her work consists of semi-abstract and figurative pieces inspired by scenes of Connemara and the work of Gerald Dillon. She is a graduate of the University of Ulster in Belfast, as well as Glasgow School of Art.

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the author of The Forage House and Work & Days, which was named one of the best books of poetry of 2016 by the New York Times. She was recently a distinguished Fulbright Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University, Belfast, as well as the Anne Spencer Writer in Residence at Randolph College.

Valerie Lapin

Valerie Lapin is a Bay Area filmmaker whose 2002 documentary “Shalom Ireland” explores the Irish Jewish communities of 20th Century Ireland. Valerie’s latest documentary “The Long Ride” follows immigrant activists on their way to the White House.


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.

2017 Festival

Message from Irish Consul

Welcome message by Irish Consul General, Robert O’Driscoll


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

2017 Contest Winners

Thanks to Mike McCormack for judging our short list of submissions. Congratulations winners!


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

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