Kate O’Brien Weekend
Merchant’s Quay, Limerick, Co Limerick
This annual festival which celebrates the life and work of Limerick born novelist, playwright, journalist, travel writer and biographer Kate O’Brien has been running since 1984.
Her best known novel is That Lady, published in 1946 and set in sixteenth-century Spain. O’Brien later adapted the noval as a play, which ran with some success on Broadway.
Kate O’Brien was born in Limerick in 1897 and died in Canterbury in 1974. Although she spent much of her adult life in England, she returned to Limerick often and retained a strong bond to her home city.
That said, she was certainly not universally admired there during her lifetime, and would probably be surprised to hear of the esteem in which she is now held. Many of her books dealt with themes of female sexuality and lesbianism – both taboo subjects for public discourse in mid 2oth century Ireland.
Her novel Mary Lavelle, published in 1936, which told the story of a young Irish woman travelling to become a governess in Spain and of the forbidden love affiar she had there with a married man, was banned in Ireland.
The following year saw publication of her political travelogue, Farewell Spain, which was critical of Franco and as a result of its publication she was barred from entering Spain for twenty years.
Other works include The Ante Room, The Land of Spices, The Last of Summer and Without My Cloak.
Each year at the weekend held in her honour a different theme is explored, with lectures, seminars and other events related to the theme and speakers from thoughout Ireland and abroad.
For details and booking information visit the website.