October 5th - 8th, 2017

Planning is well underway, so get ready for a festival of stimulating events Oct. 5th-8th. Make a weekend of it with our special festival rates at the Los Gatos Lodge.

Heaney Tribute

Join us to pay tribute to Seamus Heaney at our opening reception at Villa Montalvo, Oct. 5th. “The Legacy of Heaney” event features members of the Heaney family, UC Berkeley’s Bob Tracy, and Bellaghy HomePlace representatives. Visiting writers will perform readings and tributes.

Sinéad Gleeson

Sinéad Gleeson is a writer, editor, journalist and presenter of The Book Show on RTE. She will moderate a panel on “The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland,” a recent anthology she edited, as well as a Maeve Brennan tribute event.

Martin Dillon

With several highly acclaimed books to his name, including “The Dirty War,” “God and the Gun” and “The Shankill Butchers,” Martin Dillon’s investigative and fiction works take on the Ireland conflict. Martin will read from his new memoir, which includes an extensive account of his journalistic career with the BBC.

Jan Carson

Jan Carson is a writer and community arts development officer based in Belfast. Her short stories have been published in literary journals both sides of the Atlantic. Jan is featured in “The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland.” She joins Sinéad Gleeson and Evelyn Conlon for a reading and discussion about her work.

Ruth Gilligan

Dubliner Ruth Gilligan is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Her latest book “Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan” is historic fiction based around the Jewish community in Ireland.

Tim Fanning

Tim Fanning is an author and researcher based in Dublin. Tim has worked on a number of Irish and Spanish titles, including the recent “Paisanos: The Forgotten Irish Who Changed the Face of Latin America.”

Myles Dungan

Historian, playwright, novelist, and presenter of the History Show on RTE, Myles is the author of several books on Irish and American history. His newly revised “How The Irish Won The West” has recently been published by New Island Press.

Evelyn Conlon

Evelyn is a novelist and short story writer from Monaghan. Her work appears in “The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women from the North of Ireland,” and her most recent novel is an account of the plight of orphaned Irish girls shipped to Australia in 1847.

Stephen Sexton

Belfast native Stephen Sexton’s poems have appeared in Granta, Poetry London, Best British Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review and The Lifeboat reading series. Stephen’s poem “The Curfew” recently scooped the UK National Poetry Society Competition Award.

Sarah Maria Griffin

Sarah Maria Griffin’s nonfiction has appeared in The Irish Times and on Buzzfeed. Her collection of essays about emigration, “Not Lost” was published by New Island Press in 2013, and her first novel, “Spare & Found Parts” was recently published.

Pól Ó Dochartaigh

Professor Ó Dochartaigh developed the exhibit “Representation of Jews in Irish Literature,” a collaboration between NUI Galway and Ulster University. The exhibit charts the representations of Jewish identity, culture and life in Ireland from medieval through to modern times.

Emer Martin

Dubliner Emer Martin is an internationally recognized artist and writer of fiction and children’s books. She is currently living in Redwood City.

Stephen Connolly

Representing a new generation of voices in Irish literature, Stephen Connolly is a Belfast-based poet and a postgraduate student at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University.

Maureen Langan

Maureen Langan is a writer, broadcaster and performer. Her one-woman show “Daughter of a Garbageman” is an account of her growing up in the Bronx, a child of a sanitation worker father and Irish mother.

Simon Lewis

Simon Lewis’s Hennessy Award-winning poetry collection, “Jewtown,” chronicles the experiences of Lithuanian Jewish settlers in Cork’s Jewish quarter in the 1880s and 1890s.

Maeve Brennan Tribute

Maeve Brennan was born in 1917 in Dublin and moved to the U.S. as a young adult, where she went on to write for Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker. The Stinging Fly Press recently reissued “The Springs of Affection,” the posthumous selection of her Dublin-based stories.

Joseph McBride

Film historian, biographer, screenwriter and professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University, Joseph McBride will read from his new work “Two Cheers For Hollywood: Joseph McBride on Movies”


Ethel Rohan is an Irish novelist and short story writer living in San Francisco. Her much-acclaimed first novel “The Weight of Him” won the inaugural Plumeri Fellowship and was named an Amazon Best Book.

Maurice Fitzpatrick

“In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America,” is the latest work of Derry-born writer and filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick. The former Trinity College literature and philosophy graduate lives and works in Ireland and Germany.

Paul McVeigh

Belfast-born McVeigh is an award-winning playwright and writer. He received The McCrea Literary Award, and won The Polari Prize for his novel “The Good Son,” an account of a pre-adolescent boy living in 1980’s Belfast.

Caroline Bracken

Caroline Bracken’s poems have been published in The Irish Times Hennessy New Irish Writing, Skylight 47, The Clare Champion, The WOW Anthology and The Gathering collection. She was recently awarded in Poetry Ireland/Trócaire’s annual competition.

Elgy Gillespie

Writer, journalist and teacher, Elgy Gillespie is currently based in San Francisco where she works as an ESL teacher. Elgy is an accredited travel writer and contributes regularly to The Irish Times column, “An Irishwoman’s Diary.”

Fintan Vallely

Armagh native Fintan Vallely is a musician, writer and researcher on Irish traditional music. Fintan has taught flute at the prestigious Willie Clancy Summer School in Ireland since 1986.

Raina Leon

Raina Leon’s fellowships and residencies have included Cave Canem and the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland. She is Associate Professor of Education at St. Mary’s College of California. Raina’s focus is on the power of poetry in connection with freedom struggles and anti-oppression movements.

Valerie Lapin

Valerie Lapin is a Bay Area filmmaker whose 2002 documentary “Shalom Ireland” explores the Irish Jewish communities of 20th Century Ireland. Valerie joins our “Representation of Jews in Irish Literature” panel discussion.

Robert Tracy

University of California, Berkeley scholar Robert Tracy joins us for the festival’s Seamus Heaney tribute event. Bob and Seamus developed a lifelong friendship when they met in 1970, the year Seamus Heaney spent an academic year as a visiting professor at UC Berkeley.

Mark Hull

(to be confirmed) Mark Hull, Associate Professor of Military History, U.S Army Command and General Staff College, Kansas, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an attorney, and author of “Irish Secrets: German Espionage in Wartime Ireland, 1939–1945” and the recent release, “Masquerade: Treason, the Holocaust, and an Irish Impostor.”

Tom McEnery

(to be confirmed) Tom McEnery, is a former San Jose mayor and owner of the Irish Innovation Center and Silicon Valley Global. A writer and historian, Tom wrote the introduction to John Hume’s 1997 book “A New Ireland.” Tom joins writer and filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick for a discussion on Fitzpatrick’s new work, “In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America.”

Roseanne Lynch

(to be confirmed) Roseanne’s visual arts practice includes photography and installation, and explores the medium of photography and 20th century architecture. Her current photographic work, Eloquent Proof, explores 20th century modernist houses and the medium itself as a structure of understanding.

Mashey Berstein

(to be confirmed) Mashey Bernstein is an Irish Jewish writer and teacher at the Writing Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. Mashey chairs the annual Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival.


Enjoy a free Irish dance class during the festival with renowned Irish dance teacher, Patricia Kennelly. Patricia’s father was a champion dancer from Listowel, Co. Kerry. The dance class will be followed by a storytelling session for children.


Los Gatos serves as the gateway from the Santa Clara Valley to the Pacific Ocean. The location allowed the historic area to witness a colorful parade of swashbuckling explorers, Franciscan padres, and hearty American pioneers. Join us for a one-hour walking tour led by local “Lost Gatos” app developers.

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