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Dalkey Book Festival A poster for last year's festival hangs in a shop window
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John Simpson and Jim Sheridan among speakers at Dalkey Book Festival
The weekend’s literature-packed event is aimed at boosting community spirit in the recession, organiser and economist David McWilliams told

DUBLIN WILL WELCOME a number of heavy hitters from the worlds of literature, art and journalism to this weekend’s Dalkey Book Festival, including playwright Frank McGuinness, BBC journalist John Simpson and children’s TV artist Don Conroy.

The festival, set up by Dalkey-dwelling economist David McWilliams and his wife Sian Smyth, is aimed at building community spirit in the face of the economic slump. First staged last year, its second outing has attracted big names including John Boyne, author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, historian Tim Pat Coogan and Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan.

David McWilliams said he believes community connections can be a powerful tool against an economic downturn. “The idea is to try and get local communities to come together in the recession,” he told “A lot of the economic and political discourses are about waiting for other people to do things – but this is something that people can do for themselves.

I think this type of thing can be replicated all over the country. Perhaps not in exactly the same way but every place, every small town has something unique in it – it’s just a matter of tapping into it.

The authors and speakers – who also include founding editor of Jennifer O’Connell – will take the stage at various venues in the south Dublin village from this Friday, June 17 to Sunday June 19. Some, however, have further to come than others. “I’m really looking forward to seeing Roddy Doyle, who I’ve never seen speak,” McWilliams added. “And it’ll be great to have a Northsider over here. We’re giving him a passport and a visa.”