The Festival’s opening night promises to be one of exhilarating and eye-opening entertainment as two of Ireland’s favourite writers take the stage. This event will be hosted by Robert G. Kearns, Chairman & Founder, Ireland Park Foundation.
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Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: She spent eight years in Cambridge doing a PhD in 18th-century literature before moving to London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their two children. She also migrates between genres, writing literary history, biography, and stage and radio plays, as well as fairy tales and short stories. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical to the contemporary. Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book in 2010 and a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book and the Orange Prize. The Lotterys More or Less is her second novel for young readers.
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of 10 acclaimed novels, including The Commitments, The Van (a finalist for the Booker Prize), Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (winner of the Booker Prize), The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, A Star Called Henry and, most recently, The Guts. Doyle has also written two collections of stories, and several works for children and young adults. He lives in Dublin.
Robert G. Kearns is President and Founder of Kearns Insurance Corporation and Kearns Investment Corporation. Since his arrival in Canada in 1979, he has been continuously involved in Irish-Canadian business and cultural relations, making significant contributions to a number of Irish-Canadian organizations. These include his position as a member of the Board of the Ireland Fund of Canada from 1980-2004. He was Chairman of the Ireland Fund from 1989-1992, and a Director of the America Ireland Fund. He is a Founding Director of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce and remains a member of the Chamber to this day. In 1997, he began work to establish Ireland Park Foundation as a volunteer board, which was formally incorporated in May of 2000. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Ireland Park Foundation since then. In December of 2016, he was the Canadian recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.