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The upcoming Carlow festival has us feeling very notebook-in-a-cafe ready…

This weekend Borris, Carlow will transform into an international cultural hotpot drawing novelists, journalists, film-makers, poets, theatre directors, war correspondents, biographers, artists and political commentators from across the world to the town for two days of dialogue and discussion. The Festival of Writing & Ideas, sponsored by Writers Tears Whiskey and in its third year, takes over the magical and beautiful Borris House.

Philomena director Stephen Frears will be in conversation with Philomena Lee to talk about the global reaction to her story. Borris will be getting their money’s worth out of Frears as he also will talk to journalist David Walsh about his upcoming Lance Armstrong movie.

Some of our favourite novelists will be on hand to talk old and new releases. Book club regulars Joseph O’Connor, Louis de Bernières, Sebastian Barry and John Banville count among the line-up, while broadcasters Dylan Haskins and Mariella Frostrup are on hand to get good conversation flowing.

Fresh from her Baileys Prize win for A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Eimear McBride teams up with Donal Ryan for an in-conversation-with. We’re particularly excited about Booker-nominee Deborah Levy’s appearance where she’ll be talking about how “a female writer cannot afford to feel her life too clearly. If she does, she will write in a rage when she should write calmly.”

Cathey Davey and Lisa Hannigan will be representing musical types. Global politics will be covered by New York Times Pakistan Bureau Chief Declan Walsh, who was expelled from Pakistan a year ago, and lawyer Jason McCue, who won the landmark case against the Omagh bombers. After reading Audrey Magee’s recent wartime novel The Undertaking, another Baileys Prize nominee, we’re intrigued to see her talk where she’ll be discussing the legacy of Berlin in fiction.  Alongside all this erudition will be a literary cabaret, a tasting menu in the nearby Step House, and plenty of opportunity for a glass of Writers Tears Whiskey. Start plotting that country escape now.

Follow @writingandideas on Twitter to keep up with the literary Jones’.

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

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