Join Declan O'Rourke in conversation with Peter Murphy a.k.a. Cursed Murphy about Declan's latest book The Pawnbroker's Reward with Q&A afterwards as part of Wexford Literary Festival 2022. This event will also feature a special guest performance by Ben MacCaoilte and Daire Murray. Declan O’Rourke’s award-winning album, Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine, was released to critical acclaim in 2017. It illuminated an extraordinary series of eye-witness accounts, including the story of Pádraig and Cáit ua Buachalla. Four years on, in Declan’s meticulously researched literary debut, the story of the ua Buachalla family is woven into a powerful, multilayered work showing us the famine as it happened through the lens of a single town – Macroom, Co. Cork – and its environs. Local pawnbroker Cornelius Creed is at the juncture between the classes. Sensitive and empathetic, he is a voice on behalf of the poor, and his story is entwined with that of Pádraig ua Buachalla. Through these characters – utilising local history and documentary evidence – Declan creates a kaleidoscopic view of this defining moment in Ireland’s history. Declan O’Rourke’s artistry has been described as ‘proffering reassurance in the face of inevitable sorrow’ by Jon Pareles, chief music critic of the New York Times. ‘Galileo’ was described by Paul Weller as the song he most wished he’d written from the past 30 years. Other notable fans of O’Rourke are the Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, Imelda May, Pete Townshend and Eddi Reader, who described Declan as ‘one of the finest songwriters on the planet’. ‘A powerful and gripping piece of writing from a born storyteller, a tale shaped with the lyricism of a songwriting giant.’ –Joseph O’Connor, author of Star of the Sea. ‘Immensely personal.’ – John Boyne, The Irish Times and author of ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.’ “A detailed and evocative telling of one of our nation’s darkest stories. The Pawnbroker’s Reward brings the famine to life and infuses it with a humanity often missing from historical accounts.” – Ray Darcy, broadcaster, RTÉ Radio 1. “Holds absolutely nothing back … Brilliantly Realised.” – Éilis O’Regan, Irish Independent. “Beautifully achieved … I think he’s started a whole new great career for himself.”– Nadine O’Regan, Sunday Business Post. ‘The narrative is just like his singing voice, full of powerful strength and compassion; a born storyteller in words as well as in music.’ – Michael Harding, author, columnist, playwright. ‘Lucid, lovingly-written and lyrical, The Pawnbroker’s Reward faithfully captures the horrors of the early months of the Great Hunger.’ – Professor Christine Kinealy, historian, author, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, Quinnipiac. “A fantastic piece of work. It is amazing. Based on real people and informed by contemporary records of the time. The research in the book is impeccable.“ – Pat Kenny, broadcaster, Newstalk FM.
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