2024 Heinrich Böll Memorial Arts Festival Line-Up Revealed

2024 Heinrich Böll Memorial Arts Festival Line-Up Revealed

The full line-up of speakers, writers, guides and musicians for the annual Heinrich Böll Memorial Arts Festival has been announced for 2024. The event takes place over the May Bank Holiday weekend, which this year will be from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th May.

The event will be opened on Friday evening at St. Thomas’s Hall by Mr Christian Resch, Deputy Head of Mission for the German Embassy in Ireland. It will include the annual student essay competition as well as presentations from two fascinating speakers: Mayo-based writer Anne Walsh Donnelly, and Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor for the UK’s Channel 4 News. The evening will conclude with a drinks reception at Masterson’s Bar in Dugort.

On Saturday morning there is a guided walk at Sruhill Lough, between the Valley and Dooniver. The guide will be Micheál Ó Briain and will focus on this important wetland habitat and on the wildlife of Achill.

In the afternoon the Heinrich Böll Cottage in Dugort will be open to the public, and a Writers Workshop, dedicated to the much-loved and dearly missed Achill-based writer Anne Shannon, will take place in the Valley House. The workshop will be led by Lindsey Hilsum and focus on the craft and style of journalistic writing.

Also on Saturday afternoon will be two speakers: John Gormley, the former Green Party TD and former Minister for the Environment; and Irish-American writer Richard W. Halperin. This will be followed by a screening of the TG4 documentary ‘Caillte san Úcráin’ (Lost in Ukraine), which charts the story of Achill man Finbar Cafferkey who died fighting for Ukraine in 2023.

On Saturday evening, St. Thomas’s Hall in Dugort will host a panel discussion chaired by Professor Gisela Holfter and featuring Ukrainian-Polish novelist Żanna Słoniowska, Russian author Victor Erofeev, and writer and curator Maren Wurster of the Goethe Institute Dublin. Music will be provided by local musicians Laoise Kelly, Diarmuid Gielty and John Butler.

Sunday morning features a guided walk in landscape with archaeologist Eoin Halpin. It will be based on Carrowgarve, close to Ashleam Bay and sometimes referred to as Achill’s ‘other deserted village’.

After lunch, the festival will conclude with readings from the Achill Writers Group and music from Achill musicians Laoise Kelly, Diarmuid Gielty and John Butler.

Tickets for the event, either individual or a weekend pass, are available online from heinrichboellcottage.com.

This event is made possible by the dedicated work of a voluntary committee and with support from the following organisations: