Leaves Festival of Writing and Music 2018

The annual Leaves Festival of Writing and Music is just around the corner. Leaves celebrates the diversity and richness in today’s literary, music, theatre and film scene. Leaves aims to excite and engage with audiences young and old.

This year the weekend-long programme will be held in the Dunamaise Arts Centre and  St Peter’s Church of Ireland, Portlaoise. At the recent launch of the Leaves Festival, Festival Curator, Muireann Ní Chonaill said, “celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Leaves Festival is  a great opportunity to hear from contemporary writers, enjoy the art of conversation, listen to musicians and appreciate  film and theatre.”

Opening the weekend in the Dunamaise Arts Centre, on Friday night 9th November, at 8.00pm, is spoken word artist Stephen James Smith and features musician, Enda Reilly. A Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the vibrant Spoken Word scene in Ireland today, Stephen’s poetry videos have amassed over 2.5 million views, including 2017’s ‘My Ireland’ and the recent commission by Aviva, ‘Bring it Home’ highlighting this year’s England Vs Ireland rugby final.

Stephen was the Laois Spoken Word Artist in 2017, ‘18. Commissioned by the Laois Arts Office, he facilitated poetry workshops and performance opportunities in Laois secondary schools, the prison, and youth services. His poetry has been recently added to the Leaving Certificate syllabus and has been translated into multiple languages.

Join him for readings  from his debut collection, Fear Not in the  company of musician Enda Reilly.


We are very pleased to welcome London based writer, Helen Cullen. Helen who grew up in Portlaoise, has had great success with her debut novel, ‘The Lost Letters of William Woolf’. It was published earlier this year by Penguin in the UK and translated into a number of languages. She will share her wisdom and experience at a special workshop for adult writers at the festival. The Board Room in the Dunamaise Arts Centre is the venue for the Saturday morning writing workshop  running from 10am-12.00pm on the 10th November.

The Dunamaise Art Gallery in the venue for a double book launch on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.  Dermot Bolger will launch, Growing Pains and Growing Up, an anthology of essays and articles by John Whelan. It represents a journalistic memoir to mark 40 years of his working in media. The book will resonate well beyond Laois as it addresses many of the major political, social and cultural issues of the past half century, featuring many of the major personalities of the era. Midland audiences will have the opportunity to also celebrate the launch of Helen Cullen’s debut novel The Lost Letter of William Woolf.

Saturday evening’s programme will take place in the beautiful surroundings of St. Peter’s Church of Ireland, Portlaoise. Built in the late-eighteenth century to the design of James Gandon, architect of Dublin’s Four Courts and Custom House, the evening promises a wonderful combination of conversation, music and readings by Helen Cullen, Brian Keenan, Dermot Bolger, music by Seán Ryan and Kathleen Loughnane.

Free events for school children and families include Gaeilge Tamagotchi at the Laois Shopping Centre. Members of the public are invited to adopt an endangered Irish word and become a guardian of Gaeilge.  It is a performance installation by Manchán Magan.  Barry Keegan, the creator of the graphic novel, The Bog Road and children’s writer Caroline Busher will also visit a number of schools.

The Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise has scheduled events for Leaves, including cinema;The Happy Prince, which chronicles the last days of Oscar Wilde and   a play by Eoin Colfer entitled Holy Mary.

Booking Box Office: 0578663355 or online at www.dunamaise.ie

Follow us on Facebook at Leaves https://www.facebook.com/leavesliteraryfestival/. For more information please contact the Arts Office, Laois County Council Portlaoise, Co Laois. Email artsoff@laoiscoco.ie Web www.laois.ie and 057-8664013/33

Read More News Stories