THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2017
Opening Reception • Thursday, October 5, 11.00am-12.30pm, Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga • $50/Early Bird $35
Ticket includes brunch and Seamus Heaney event at Carriage House Theater, 1-3pm
The Irish Consulate and Irish Culture Bay Area welcome you to the Second Annual Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival. The weekend kicks off in style at the elegant Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, with opening remarks by the new Irish consul, Robert O’Driscoll.
Arrive early and explore the history of the property, and learn about founder James Duval Phelan and the Irish connection. A short presentation on the history of Montalvo with James P. Walsh, co-author of Legacy of a Native Son: James Duval Phelan and Villa Montalvo will provide an overview of Montalvo.
An overview of the Lucas Artists Residency Program by Director Kelly Sicat, will be followed by a presentation of the Pat O’Laughlin Award and writing contest winner announcements.
Don’t miss the opportunity to mingle with local and Irish authors, poets and dignitaries, and stay to enjoy a tribute, with words and music, to Ireland’s greatest poet, Seamus Heaney, at the historic Carriage House Theater.
Seamus Heaney: The Berkeley Years. Thursday, October 5, 1.00pm – 3.00pm. Carriage House Theater, Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga • $20/$15 Early Bird
We kick off this year’s Irish Writers’ Festival with a tribute to Seamus Heaney, the 1995 Nobel laureate in literature, who is often referred to as the greatest Irish poet since Yeats.
Heaney, who passed away in 2013, spent a considerable amount of time at UC Berkeley in the early 1970s, arriving from the Northern Irish conflict only to be faced with a troubled UC campus stirred by anti-war protest.
Joining us from Ireland this festival weekend is Seamus Heaney’s son, journalist and broadcaster Michael Heaney, who chats today with close family friend and UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus, Robert Tracy.
Featured poet and Fulbright Scholar, Tess Taylor, recently returned from the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast, joins visiting poets and writers with tributes and readings, offering insights into Heaney’s work and influences during this pivotal time of his career in the Bay Area.
Music by virtuoso violinist Colm O’Riain, and Irish traditional flute player, researcher and writer, Fintan Vallely.
Moderated by Conor Howard, Anna Livia Books
Jews in Irish Life and Literature. Thursday, Oct. 5, 6.30pm – 9.30pm. Los Gatos Lodge $20/$12 Early Bird
Just announced: Steven J. Zipperstein is the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, and has taught at Oxford University and universities in Russia, Poland, France, and Israel. Zipperstein joins us to talk about how the work on his upcoming book Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History (due in 2018) included extensive research into Irishman Michael Davitt’s 1903 book Within the pale: The True Story of Anti-Semitic Persecutions in Russia . Davitt’s book was the first bestselling work in any western language on the fate of Russia’s Jews.
From the Middle Ages and the Annals of Innisfallen to Leopold Bloom, there has been a constant Jewish presence in a millennium of Irish writing. Join us for a fascinating look at this history in a landmark exhibit that has enjoyed a highly successful tour of Ireland this year. “Representation of Jews in Irish Literature” created by Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, VP of Galway University, uncovers a wealth of facts – some disconcerting, some fun. For instance, did you know that, influenced by a 13th century illustration of the “Wandering Jew,” Irish Gothic writer Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer was said to be the template for Irish author Bram Stoker’s Dracula?
Ruth Gilligan’s acclaimed novel Nine Folds to a Paper Swan spans three generations of Irish Jewish families in the 1900s. Hear how the writer came across and fictionalized stories of the little-known Jewish community in Ireland.
Poet Simon Lewis, reads from his Hennessy Award-winning poetry collection Jewtown and talks about the Jewish Quarter of the same name in Cork City. Settlers here moved up the ranks, rapidly producing an educated community including a city mayor.
Valerie Lapin, shows short clips of her film Shalom Ireland, which profiles prominent Irish Jews including Robert Briscoe, the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin; Irish-born Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel. Shalom Ireland tells the untold story of how Irish Jews participated in the creation of both Ireland and Israel.
Panel discussion moderated by Mashey Bernstein. Mashey was raised in an orthodox Jewish family in Dublin, Ireland, and has lived in Santa Barbara, California, for several years. He recently retired from the Writing Program and Film and Media Studies Dept at UCSB.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2017
Treason, Holocaust, and an Irish Impostor. Friday, October 6, 2.00pm – 3.30pm. C.B. Hannegan’s, Los Gatos. $20/$10 Early Bird
Phyllis Ursula James. Nora Ó Mara. Róisín Ni Mheara. Like her name, the life of Rosaleen James changed many times as she followed a convoluted path from abandoned child, to foster daughter of an aristocratic British family, to traitor during World War II, to her emergence as an Irish citizen.
Learn how this Irish imposter became close to writer Francis Stuart, whose years in Nazi Germany led to a great deal of controversy.
Co-author Mark M. Hull is an attorney and Professor of Military History at the U.S Army Command and General Staff College, Kansas. Previous work includes Irish Secrets: German Espionage in Wartime Ireland, 1939–1945.
Phyllis, Nora, Róisín or Ursula? You decide.
This event is co-presented with the Irish American Bar Association of Northern California
Women Writers From The North of Ireland. Friday, October 6, 6.00pm-8.00pm. Whitney Modern Art Gallery, Los Gatos. $10
Short fiction is having a remarkable moment in Northern Ireland, with a boom in women’s writing. Sinéad Gleeson edited the successful collection of Irish women writers, The Long Gaze Back, and then turned her editorial attention to Northern women, after observing that little existed in terms of all-female anthologies in the North.
Gleeson, a writer, journalist and presenter of “The Book Show” on Ireland’s Radio Telefís Eireann (RTE). Sinéad is joined by Jan Carson and Evelyn Conlon, contributors to the anthology.
“The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland …one of the most multilayered and thought-provoking collections of stories I’ve read in a long while.” Elizabeth Day, The Irish Times
Event will begin with a reading of Your Chroma, a poetic work by Sinéad Gleeson. Sinéad is accompanied by musician Stephen Shannon.
Daughter of a Garbageman. Friday, October 6, 8.00pm – 10.00pm. Charley’s, Los Gatos. $20/$15 Early Bird
“Maureen is to comedy what James Brown is to soul.” – Jerry Stiller
“Maureen has something to say about family relationships, self-acceptance and American culture and is willing to be completely honest without sacrificing her killer sense of humor.” – The San Francisco Examiner
Maureen Langan’s One-Woman Show is a funny and moving tale of the journalist and broadcaster’s 1970s upbringing in New Jersey. Raised by an Irish immigrant mother and Bronx-born sanitation worker father, Maureen was told that an education was the road to success.
But is that true? How do you tell your daughter to read and write when sex tapes lead to book deals? When The Apprentice becomes the president?
Who is to blame? Our mothers? Our fathers? America? Yes, Yes & Yes!
Maureen hysterically lambasts our “Kardashian culture” while sharing the strengths, struggles and secrets of her parents and how that made her who she is today.
PLEASE NOTE: Brian O’Beirne’s 10-minute “In the End” opens the evening at 8pm. The two-man play is about strangers who meet in a bar in the Castro, on the eve of the Apocalypse.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2017
• The A to Z of Getting Published – Caroline Bracken – 9am
• Writing up Ireland & Beyond: Travel Writing Workshop – Elgy Gillespie – 11.30am
• Speaking to Engage: The Only Workshop on Public Speaking you’ll Ever Need to Take – David Nihill – 1.30pm
Irish in “Lost Gatos” morning walking tour. Saturday, October 7, 9.00am-11.00am. Town Plaza Park to Forbes Mill Museum. FREE (registration required)
Back by popular demand! Alan Feinberg and the creators of the “Discover Los Gatos” smartphone app lead a special festival Los Gatos walking tour. Be prepared for a surprise or two along the way.
Learn about some of the remarkable Irish and Scottish settlers who helped to shape the town over the past two centuries: Charles Henry McKiernan, John Weldon Lyndon and Mary Barry Coggeshall, among others.
At approx 10.15am-10.20am the tour ends at Forbes Mill, a short walk from Los Gatos library, where at 10.30am retired library director and local historian Peggy Conaway Bergtold talks about researching and writing her work Los Gatos: Then and Now. Peggy will be joined by Valerie Archer Wainwright, writer, and producer of Los Gatos: Then and Now documentary .
Not The Same Sky: Evelyn Conlon. Saturday, October 7, 10.30am-11.45am, Los Gatos Friends of the Library. $10, suggested donation.
In 1848 famine has ravaged Ireland, and a shortage of female labor in Australia results in the passage of 4000 Irish girls who are shipped across vast oceans to the new colony. In October 1849, one of these ships sets sail from Plymouth with a cargo of girls. Not the Same Sky tells the story of Honora, Julia, Bridget and Anne on the voyage, and follows them as they negotiate their new lives.
Evelyn Conlon is an Irish novelist, short-story writer and radio essayist. Evelyn is a contributor to The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland, an event featured this weekend (See Friday, Oct. 6, 6pm-8pm).
Eanlaí Cronin, Saturday, October 7, 12.15pm-1.00pm, Los Gatos Friends of the Library. $10, suggested donation.
Eanlai Cronin is a schoolteacher, memoirist, and certified facilitator in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method. She runs writing groups and retreats in San Francisco’s East Bay for anyone in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, trauma and abuse, and for anyone longing to return to the well of their own forgotten words and stories. As a trauma survivor, Eanlaí’s focus is primarily on writing as a creative means of reclaiming voice and agency. As someone whose Irish catholic background was doused in the trifecta of lies, denial and silence, Eanlaí is dedicated to helping all writers, particularly women, to return from the roles assigned to them, roles that reduced and minimized them, roles that silenced and smothered them, roles where many souls were made to accept their prescribed lot as the only reality they were allowed to live.
Eanlaí’s work has appeared and is upcoming in Sinister Wisdom, Sonoma Women’s Voices, Peregrine, String Poet, Courage to Heal, and The Kerryman. Eanlaí has completed her first memoir, Girl in Irish, and has begun work on a second.
Prairie Man: The Struggle Between Sitting Bull and Indian Agent James McLaughlin. Saturday, October 7th, 1.30pm-2.45pm. Friends of the Los Gatos Library. $10.
Los Gatos writer Norm Matteoni’s story is about the conflict between Sitting Bull and Indian Agent James McLaughlin, son of Ulster Irish emigrants.
After the infamous June 1876 Battle of the Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull became the most wanted Indian in the US, protesting intrusions into Lakota prairie land, refusing to sign treaties – and epitomizing resistance.
Norm Matteoni will be in conversation with Irish historian and broadcaster Myles Dungan
New Irish Poetry: Daring Us To Act. Saturday, October 7, 1.00pm-3.00pm. Whitney Modern. $10.
Representing a new generation of voices in Irish literature, meet Stephen Connolly, Stephen Sexton, Caroline Bracken, Simon Lewis and Kathy D’Arcy. St. Mary’s College professor Raina Leon moderates the session, helping us examine how a writer’s work reflects the dynamic and diasporic experiences of nostalgia, resistance, and home connectedness, through language that defies erasure of self, and dares us all to act.
Stephen Connolly is a Belfast-based poet and a postgraduate student at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University.
Simon Lewis’s Hennessy Award-winning poetry collection, “Jewtown,” chronicles the experiences of Jewish settlers in Cork.
Belfast native Stephen Sexton’s poem “The Curfew” recently scooped the UK National Poetry Society Competition Award.
Caroline Bracken’s poems have been published in The Irish Times, Hennessy New Irish Writing among several other publications.
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.
The Long-Winded Lady: Maeve Brennan, Forgotten Irish Writer. Saturday, October 7, 3.15pm-4.45pm. Whitney Modern. $10.
Sinéad Gleeson and Robert West discuss the life and work of Irish writer and journalist, Maeve Brennan. Born in Dublin in 1917, Brennan moved to the U.S. with her family in 1934. She worked at Harper’s Bazaar, and in the 1950s and 1960s at The New Yorker where she wrote under the pseudonym “The Long-Winded Lady.” Brennan’s short stories and New Yorker collections have been unearthed in recent years, with 2017 editions published by The Stinging Fly in Ireland.
“Brennan is, for a new generation of Irish women writers, a casualty of old wars not yet won.” – Anne Enright
GO, TAKE A BREAK, EAT!
Paisanos: The Forgotten Irish of Latin America. Saturday, October 7, 5.00pm-6.15pm. Whitney Modern. $10
A look at the epic story of the Irish in Latin America, the subject of Irish writer Tim Fanning’s recent book Paisanos: The Forgotten Irish of Latin America.
In the early 1800s, thousands of volunteers left Ireland to join the fight for South American independence, lured by the promise of fortune and the opportunity to take a stand against colonialism. They joined the ranks of the Liberator, Símon Bolívar, and became instrumental in helping oust the Spanish from Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Panel to be announced.
David Nihill: “A Mother, A Son, A City” Saturday, October 7th, 8pm-9.30pm. C.B. Hannegan’s, Los Gatos. $10
At the heart of many an Irish story is an Irish mammy-usually doing something pretty entertaining. Join us for an evening of comedic storytelling with David Nihill, one of the funniest storytellers around, who actually had an Irish mammy. This show is not to be missed!
Born and raised in Dublin, David is a bestselling author, whose work has been featured on NPR, and in the Huffington Post, Forbes, and The Irish Times. He was recently part of the Irish Kings of Comedy Tour, San Francisco Sketchfest, the Ventura Comedy Festival and the Kansas City Irish Festival. A multiple Moth Storyslam winner, Grandslam finalist and occasional host, David has also told tales at Porchlight, The Naked Truth, The Marsh, Fireside and LitQuake.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2017
In The Name Of Peace: John Hume In America. Sunday, October 8th, 10.00am – 11.30am. Los Gatos Theater. $15/$10 Early Bird
“…the young people in Ireland have been told to either ignore John Hume’s role or to view it in minimalist terms,” Maurice Fitzpatrick, author of In The Name of Peace: John Hume in America says. “I find that extremely offensive. As a student of history, I find it very disturbing that the history isn’t properly recognized.”
Maurice Fitzpatrick, author and filmmaker joins us for a screening of his newly released film that documents how Irish politician and Nobel Laureate John Hume created the framework for peace in Northern Ireland. Narrated by Liam Neeson, the film contains exclusive interviews with former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and UK Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair – and of course, Bono is in there as well.
Hume’s successful pursuit of peace in Northern Ireland through his co-operation with senior politicians in the United States makes for an original and powerful story.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A about the new book and film, and will moderated by historian and San Jose former mayor, Tom McEnery. The post-screening event takes place across the street from the theater upstairs at the Whitney Modern Gallery, 11.30am – 12.15pm. Writer and historian, Tom McEnery – former San Jose mayor and owner of the Irish Innovation Center, and Silicon Valley Global – wrote the introduction to John Hume’s 1997 book, A New Ireland.
Children’s Program. Sunday, October 8, 12.00pm-2.00pm. Los Gatos Youth Rec Center. Free.
Join local Irish writer and performer Emer Martin for a special launch of her new children’s book, The Dancing Pig (a joyful story about acceptance and inclusion), and a reading of her recent book Pooka (a modern take on an ancient Irish folktale). Then, get up and dance, children and adults one and all! Patricia Kennelly of Kennelly School of Irish Dance presents a free demonstration and instruction on Irish dancing. An entertaining Irish storytelling session for Hallowe’en follows, presented by Grand Master of Tales, Donagh McKeown. Costumes encouraged.
Music at Civic Center Plaza Stage. Sunday, October 8th, 2pm-4pm. Los Gatos Civic Center Plaza. Free, donations welcomed
Erin Ruth Thompson and David Chadwick 2pm-2.45pm
Singer/Songwriter Erin Ruth Thompson first moved to the Bay Area five years ago from Hawaii, and has since developed a passion for learning and performing Irish songs which she delivers with a towering, emotional and powerful voice. Noted Santa Cruz guitarist and mandolinist, David Chadwick will accompany Erin.
At 3pm The Mild Colonial Boys and dancers from the Kennelly School of Irish Dance take to the stage.
“With the four strong singing voices sometimes arriving at hair curdling harmonies, the feeling of the band’s music ranges from the comfortable and familiar, to the arcane and disturbing. Their material is drawn from many aspects of Americana music, Irish traditional dance tunes and songs, some original songs, Vaudevillian ballads, old time story-telling, political commentary and some downright lies.”
The Mild Colonial Boys are Bay Area musicians Rory McNamara, Kyle Alden and John Caulfield. Prepare to be entertained!
Irish Women, New Writing: Jan Carson, Ethel Rohan, Caroline Bracken. Sunday, October 8th, 12.45pm-2.15pm. Whitney Modern. $10
Each day of 2015, Jan Carson wrote a short story on the back of a postcard and mailed it to a friend. Join us for a “Tiny Stories” session with Jan who reads and discusses her recent collection, Postcard Stories. San Francisco-based Irish writer Ethel Rohan will read and discuss her 2017 acclaimed novel, The Weight of Him. The story about loss and reliance is set against a backdrop of rural, contemporary Ireland, lauded as “…a brave and moving book” by John Banville. Caroline Bracken reads a selection of her poems, including recent award winners.
Roseanne Lynch • ‘Eloquent Proof’ Exhibition on Display All Weekend at Whitney Modern.
“It is our memory of space that allows us to understand volume in a 2d photographic surface.” Roseanne Lynch is a Cork-based photography and installation artist. She uses large format analogue cameras, and a darkroom-based practice, both for the slow considered engagement it entails, and for the event of looking through the mechanics that are a large format camera’s optics.
Eloquent Proof is a body of work made in French Modernist houses, including that of Irish architect Eileen Gray. Lynch’s interest in photographing architectural spaces derives from a need to bind the phenomenological experience of an encounter of a space, to the transformational two dimensional.
Roseanne exhibits nationally and internationally and is represented by nag Gallery, Francis Street, Dublin.
Rage, Resistance and a Rejection of Resignation. Emer Martin. Sunday, October 8th, 2.45pm-3.45pm. Whitney Modern. $10 suggested donation.
Scottish writer, and author of Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh, will be introducing Emer’s talk and show
“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.” – Brecht
Ireland has long had a tradition of rebellion, with resistance being a refusal to accept the condition we find ourselves in. Art can speak to power by subverting the rational and opening up new possibilities. Can writers and artists dream new worlds into existence that can stand against a monolithic globalized corporate consumer society? Emer Martin’s darkly comic work examines power and the abuse of it. Her characters have always been like the dogs howling at the edge of town. Emer reads from a selection of her work and opens up the conversation of what role artists can play in the new culture of rage and resistance in these darkly turbulent times.
Erica Goss, Poetry. Sunday, October 8th, Charley’s, Los Gatos, 3.15pm – 4pm. $10 suggested donation.
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.
Crossing the Line: My Life on The Edge, Martin Dillon. Sunday, October 8th, 4.15pm-5.30pm. Charley’s, Los Gatos. $15/$10 Early Bird
Acclaimed BBC journalist Martin Dillon’s compelling new memoir charts the extraordinary personal and professional journey of one of the leading journalists of the twentieth-century.
The true stories behind macabre sectarian murders, turf wars, and death threats are told alongside his encounters with a roll-call of major political figures, paramilitaries, and Irish literary greats.
GO, TAKE A BREAK, EAT!
How The Irish Won The West • Myles Dungan. Sun, Oct 8, 7pm-8.30pm: Charley’s, Los Gatos. $25/$15 Early Bird (includes Martin Hayes performance)
The historical focus on the Irish diaspora in the U.S. has always been on the east coast. Often ignored is the legion of ‘two boat Irish’ who made their way into the vast American West. These included fur trappers, miners, soldiers, gangsters, and prostitutes. A fair sprinkling made vast fortunes, and a good proportion found their way to California. In his book How the Irish Won the West, Myles Dungan has disinterred many of these narratives. If they weren’t verifiably true, you probably wouldn’t believe most of them.
Myles Dungan is an Irish historian, broadcaster, playwright and novelist. He is the author of a number of books on Irish and American history, holds a PhD from Trinity College, Dublin, has taught in U.C. Berkeley as a Fulbright scholar, and presents the weekly History Show on Irish National Radio (RTE).
Myles will be introduced by Tony Bucher, President of the Irish Literary & Historical Society.
JUST ANNOUNCED: SPECIAL GUEST MARTIN HAYES. Sunday, October 8th, Charley’s Los Gatos, 8.30pm.
“You’re about to watch one of the best fiddlers on the planet. Martin Hayes plays his fiddle with an exquisite touch and tone, as well as a magnificent sense of melody and rhythm that never ceases to astonish.” – NPR
Martin Hayes is one of the most extraordinary talents to emerge in the world of Irish traditional music. His unique sound, his mastery of the fiddle, his acknowledgement of the past, and his shaping of the future of the music combine to create a formidable artistic intelligence.
Martin is the recipient of major awards: the prestigious Gradam Ceoil, Musician of the Year Award from the Irish language television station TG 4; Man of the Year from the American Irish Historical Society; Folk Instrumentalist of the Year from BBC Radio; Ireland’s National Entertainment Award (the Irish ‘Grammy’); and six All-Ireland fiddle championships before the age of nineteen. He is also Artistic Director of the Masters of Tradition Festival in West County Cork, Ireland, and of the touring festival of the same name which has traveled to America, Australia, and Italy.
“Martin Hayes has one of the most ravishing violin styles in all of Celtic music…the vocal quality of his tone brings an incomparable feeling of warmth to everything he plays.” Los Angeles Times