6 June 2022
By Tom Collins
Former Irish prison to play host to new crime writing literary festival – Full programme of events announced for the inaugural Spike Island Literary Festival.
Spike Island has officially launched their full programme of events for the inaugural Spike Island Literary Festival which will take place from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September 2022. Dedicated to the popular theme of crime writing, the festival will take place on a unique island location with a dark history of four prisons over 400 years – the perfect setting for inspiring writers.
Led by the Spike Island Literary Festival committee – Cobh author Michelle Dunne, Island Manager John Crotty and Dorota Gubbins, the island’s museum curator – the festival will feature several acclaimed local and national writers and provide a unique event within the grounds of an ancient fortress and prison.
Those attending can further their knowledge and hone their writing skills with several event formats to choose from including author-led talks, crime writing and screenwriting workshops as well as meetings with publishers. In addition, every visitor will have the opportunity to enjoy a special tour on arrival with a focus on murder mystery and the darker tales of the historic island.
The programme of events features a stellar line-up of renowned authors such as Alex Barclay, Liz Nugent, Mark Billingham, John Connolly, Tadgh Coakley, Conal Creedon, Amy Cronin, Catherine Kirwin, Michelle Dunne and Andrea Mara.
The festival commences on Friday 2nd September with a fantastic evening featuring two of Ireland’s foremost thriller writers. Alex Barclay and Liz Nugent will be interviewed by broadcaster PJ Coogan in what promises to be an opportunity to delve into the mind and writing methods of two renowned authors. On Saturday 3rd September renowned author Philip Davison will lead a insightful screenwriting workshop detailing the challenges and incredible rewards of writing for the screen. This is followed by a rare opportunity to meet face to face with one of Ireland’s most renowned publishing houses, Liberties Press and later that evening, there will be an author-led conversation with renowned writers John Connolly and Mark Billingham.
Sunday 4th September sees an intimate crime writing workshop with author Kevin Doyle before the festival comes to a close with bestselling Cork authors Michelle Dunne and Andrea Mara being interviewed.
The event follows on from a successful crime writing event for Culture Night in 2021, organised by author Michelle Dunne. Michelle is an established author with publishing contracts in the UK and US, as well as multiple TV options for her work.
Speaking about the festival, Michelle says, “Given the incredible location, it didn’t take much to convince some of Ireland & the UKs best crime writers to join us for what will be the year’s most unique literary festival. Visitors will have an experience that they won’t forget. I’m very excited!”
The Spike Island setting is perfectly fitting given its historic past as an island prison over the last 400 years. The last prison incarnation opened in 1985 and only closed its doors in 2004. Famous inmates include ‘The General’ Martin Cahill, a Dublin crime boss who was prolific in the 1980’s. The island has seen its share of murderers and notorious thieves down through the years, which might inspire Cork’s next crime writer to put pen to paper.
Island Manager John Crotty said: “We are extremely excited for this interesting and highly appropriate event on the island. As well as the incredible speaking and workshop events, our guides cannot wait to take the attendees on a very special tour focused on the crimes and criminals associated with the island. The island has been home to tens of thousands of Ireland’s more notorious criminals over the last 400 years, who have inspired movies, books and songs. Who knows what inspiration the next generation of crime writers and seasons authors might find among the rich stories of Spike Island Cork.”
Tickets for all events are on sale now at www.spikeislandcork.ie