Press Release for Inaugural Los Gatos Listowel Writers’ Week

The heart and soul of Irish culture comes to the Bay Area with the debut of the Los Gatos-Listowel Writers’ Week. Listowel is not only the sister city of Los Gatos, but also home to one of Ireland’s most established, influential and internationally acclaimed literary festivals. The inaugural US program—featuring over 15 Irish writers and poets traveling from Ireland to join their local counterparts—will consist of over 40 events designed to bring together writers and audiences in the historic town of Los Gatos over the course of four days and nights, October 6-9, 2016.

Irish writers participating include Mike McCormack, shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book of the Year; Hugo Hamilton, Irish-German author and award-winning playwright; and women crime writers Louise Phillips, Niamh O’Connor and Claire McGowan. The four-day event includes a year-end tribute to Ireland’s uprising of 1916; tributes to Dermot Healy, Flann O’Brien and Lucia Joyce, and readings from local Irish writers Emer Martin and Ethel Rohan. With more than 30 invited writers—and even a politician or two—everyone is invited to join this lively contingent for the first annual literary festival.

October 6-9, 2016; program and tickets available at

“We are very proud to showcase Ireland’s top contemporary literature and welcome our local writing community to our very first annual Los Gatos Listowel festival,” says Festival Co-Founder and Director, Catherine Barry.

In addition to the authors, journalists, poets and others who will participate in the festival, Los Gatos Mayor Barbara Spector, Irish Consul General Phillip Grant, and Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts & Heritage, Irish Parliament, 2011-2014 and co-founder of Los Gatos Listowel Writers’ Week will also be in attendance to foster community and welcome audiences. 

The exciting array of events will feature poets, novelists, short story essayists, artists, filmmakers and playwrights who will read, teach, discuss and perform. Adding education and fun to the children’s program, there will be free Irish dancing classes and youth poetry workshops.

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland has sent a message of support which includes, “Perhaps now, more than ever before, do we need this power of words and thought to help us re-integrate ourselves, our culture, our forms of life.”  

Some Festival Highlights:

• Mike McCormack, short-listed for Irish Book of the Year 2016 and winner of the Rooney Prize for Literature for his recent novel Solar Bones.

• Hugo Hamilton, award-winning novelist, and Order of Merit by Germany recipient for The Speckled People, his unique memoir on growing up in a German-Irish family in Ireland.

• Irish Women Crime Writers, Louise Phillips, Niamh O’Connor and Claire McGowan join a panel reading and discussing the new wave of young Irish women crime writers

• Opening night introduces the “Pat O’Laughlin Contribution to Literature” award, named for former trial attorney, passionate writer, and mayor of Los Gatos who passed away in 2008

• Rose Doyle, Dublin writer and journalist, whose new book Heroes of Jadotville is the story of Irish soldiers in the Congo. A film version of this story will be released by Netflix in the Fall

• Rich Moran, President of Menlo College and credited as creator of “Business Bullet” books.

• Jane Clarke, a multi-award winning poet who won the 2016 Hennessy Literary Award.

• Frank Shouldice, investigative journalist and playwright whose book Grandpa The Sniper about his grandfather’s role in the 1916 rebellion has received accolades in Ireland this year

• James Walsh, former San Jose State University history professor on Irish-American Senator James Phelan and the story of Villa Montalvo

• The Farrell Brothers of Tile Media present their docudrama on the 1916 Easter Rising
, and discuss their collected “Stories of 1916.”

• Joseph McBride, author and professor of Cinema at SF State, explores the blend of comedy and tragedy in the films of John Ford, including Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, written in Los Gatos
. Joseph also reads from his recent book, The Broken Places: A Memoir.

• Erica Goss, 2013-16 Poet Laureate of Los Gatos
 conducts Youth Poetry workshop.

• Emer Martin, artist and author launches new children’s book and exhibits new paintings.

• Ethel Rohan, Irish-born, San Francisco based short story writer and author of the upcoming novel The Weight of Him.

• Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen, Tramp Press founders support Ireland’s literary talent in traditional and new ways.

• Matthew Spangler, Playwright, Director and Professor of San Jose State University.

• Cara Black, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 14 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series joins Irish crime writer Louise Phillips along with a detective from Ireland and one from the San Francisco Police Department.

• David Brundage: Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz

• Local historian Peggy Conaway, along with former mayor Sandy Decker, and “Lost Gatos” app developer, Alan Feinberg

• Special art exhibit at Gallery 24, featuring Irish artists Bridget Ryan and Emer Martin.

Speaking about the festival, co-founder Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts & Heritage, Irish Parliament from 2011 through 2014 notes, “This has huge potential going forward. This festival has a stellar lineup and it makes sense to celebrate the greatness of Irish literature in a town twinned with Listowel where the internationally acclaimed Writers’ Week is held annually.”

Complete schedule can be found here:

Twitter: @lglistowel, #irishwriterslosgatos; #losgatoslistowel
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What: Los Gatos – Listowel Writer’s Week

When: October 6-9, 2016

Where: The Los Gatos Library, Friends of the Library, Hotel Los Gatos, Village House of Books, NUMU, C.B. Hannegan’s, Adult and Youth Recreation Centers, Town Hall Chambers, Gallery 24, Los Gatos Lodge


About Los Gatos-Listowel Writer’s Week

The festival was founded by Dubliner Catherine Barry of local non-profit Irish Culture Bay Area, and Listowel’s Jimmy Deenihan, Irish Parliament Minister 2011-2014. “Folks might be surprised to learn what contemporary Ireland has to offer. As we bring our great literary brand to a California town rich with cultural appreciation, we believe this festival will grow to become a signature Bay Area event. The support and encouragement of the community is already making this a reality,” says Barry.

For more information, email Catherine Barry, Festival Director at or 415.424.4845.

LGLWF is a project of non-profit organization, Irish Culture Bay Area, a community events website presenting a comprehensive guide to Irish culture around the Bay Area.

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