The historic Irish town of Kells is about to be inundated with award-winning writers and visitors for this weekend’s Hay Festival; so many, in fact, that you’ll be lucky to find accommodation in the small town (pop. 5,888). Don’t worry, though, the Irish are a hospitable lot and there’s sure to be a couch available somewhere. Among the writers scheduled to appear are winners of the Costa Award, the Bailey Prize, the Dublin Literary Award, and several authors shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Although there are certifiable superstar novelists traveling to Kells, including Hanif Kureishi, Lisa McInerney, Kevin Barry, and Patrick McCabe, the town and surrounding area can boast a lot of literary talent, both home-grown and imported. After a stint in drug rehab, New Yorker Jax Miller “made the choice to hitchhike aimlessly around America,” before she eventually made Kells her home. Her novel, Freedom’s Child has been hailed by Lee Child as “original, compelling and seriously recommended,” and “one of the standout debuts of the year” by the Guardian. “I have enough skeletons in my closet and enough demons on my back to give me inspiration for writing to last me the rest of my life,” she comments on the creative process. Miller will be reading from Freedom’s Child on Friday afternoon. For more information, visit The Hay Festival Kells website.