A Welcome from Programme Director, Emily Cullen

Fáilte is fiche go Cúirt Litríochta na bliana seo. A very warm welcome to the 34th annual Cúirt International Festival of Literature. Cúirt 2019 is one of our most broadly international festivals yet and will see renowned writers from Albania, America, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palestine, Ukraine and Slovenia taking part, as well as the very best of Irish authors. In cooperation with our partner festivals in Croatia and Slovenia we are delighted to be launching our pan-European project, ‘Read Me I Am Yours’ as part of our World Literature Day on Tuesday, 9th April. This day will allow us to hear and share stories from a host of other cultures and will culminate in a special event celebrating world literature in English translation.

Two loose themes this year are ‘literature of witness’ and ‘humanity and technology’. In an age where we seek to resist designations such as ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’, literature of witness takes on an especially urgent note, founded as it is, upon veracity, testament, common humanity and continuous challenge. We will hear stories of writers who have endured decades of totalitarian censorship, words of poets who are engaging with issues of war and exile, racism and gender, and the account of a professor of Law from Galway who reports to the United Nations on human rights. In terms of human ingenuity, we will hear about the quest to extend mortality using artificial intelligence; we will be transported through the interior landscapes of mathematician, Alan Turing’s mind and interrogate how the language of the internet has impacted the contemporary novel.

The unique magic of Cúirt depends upon a small but dedicated team of staff at Galway Arts Centre, a committed board of directors, a voluntary reading panel, and on a small crew of festival ambassadors and volunteers. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every one of you for all your hard work, your time and enthusiasm.

We also gratefully acknowledge the funders and sponsors who support the festival. Above all, we thank you, the audience, for your interest in Cúirt. The iconic Town Hall Theatre has a long association with Cúirt and we are honoured that Galway artist, Jennifer Cunningham has designed our beautiful cover image to reflect this enduring connection. The hopscotch leading to the Town Hall Theatre in her imaginative rendering is an invitation to us all to take a curious and playful leap into literary discovery!