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Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021

The Sheebeen Series Live Events, Saturday, 16 October, 1–6pm

For the first time, the Lilliput Press and New Island Books have made the historic move of bringing a showcase of Irish-published literary talent – the Shebeen Series – to The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021 as a representation of the industry and the best of Irish writing.

With the generous support of the Arts Council of Ireland, and in partnership with the Cheltenham Literature Festival, this exciting event sees two of Ireland’s most prestigious and long-standing publishers join together to take over a stage for a full afternoon at the world’s oldest literature festival. Irish publishing houses have never before been given a full stage for a whole day at such a world-renowned UK literary festival – this sets a precedent for Irish-published authors. While Irish authors are acclaimed the world over, Irish publishers and Irish authors have not always taken centre stage at international festivals. The Shebeen Series revolutionizes this.

The complete line-up of the ‘Shebeen Series’ sees ten Irish-published authors take control of The Huddle stage in person on Saturday 16 October from 1–6 pm.

The stellar line-up includes: Hennessy Prize-winning PAUL PERRY, author of The Garden (New Island 2021), in conversation with ADRIAN DUNCAN, winner of the John McGahern Annual Book Prize 2020 and author of Midfield Dynamo (Lilliput 2021); NUALA O’CONNOR, author of Nora (New Island 2021) and shortlisted for the Kerry Irish Novel of the Year Award 2015, in conversation with ALICE LYONS, author of Oona (Lilliput 2020), which was shortlisted for the Kate O’Brien Prize 2020; a panel event around the landmark anthology The New Frontier: Reflections from the Irish Border (New Island 2021) with editor JAMES PATTERSON and contributors DARRAN ANDERSON and JILL CRAWFORD; and a panel discussion around Archipelago: A Reader (Lilliput 2021) with co-editor FIONA STAFFORD and contributors JAMES MACDONALD LOCKHART and BERNARD O’DONOGHUE.

Caoimhe Fox at New Island and Ruth Hallinan at the Lilliput Press say: ‘This incredible day-long takeover at Cheltenham shows what can be achieved when collaborations happen and is a great step forward in bringing Irish publishing houses to internationally-renowned festivals in Britain. We hope this exciting showcase of our talented writers will open the door for more Irish-published authors to reach audiences in the UK and beyond. We want to show the reading audiences of our nearest neighbour just how unique and relevant our authors’ work is, that they tell stories that are modern, universal and distinctly Irish, and to show that there is a wealth of talent from numerous Irish publishers just across the water! We couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming or prestigious partner than Lyndsey Fineran and the team at the Cheltenham Literature Festival who have been amazingly supportive of our outlandish ideas from day one!’

We’re very excited about this event and what it could mean for the Irish publishing industry in opening up doors to more exposure abroad.

New Island Books | T: + 353 (0)1 278 4225 ext 004 | | The Lilliput Press | Ph +353 (0)1 671 1647 | |

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