Niamh Boyce

Awarded Hennessy XO New Irish Writer of The Year in 2012, Niamh’s debut novel THE HERBALIST, was critically acclaimed, won Debut of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and was nominated for an IMPAC Award. Inside the Wolf, her poetry collection was released in 2018. Her fiction and poetry have been broadcast, adapted for stage and anthologised, most recently in ‘The Long Gaze Back,’ ‘The Hennessy Anthology’ and ‘Hallelujah for 50 Foot Women.’ Her second novel, HER KIND (Penguin Random House) is based on the Kilkenny Witchcraft Trial of Alice Kytler. Nominated for the EU Prize for literature, the judges called Her Kind, ‘as searing a critique of our own times as is Arthur Millar’s The Crucible.

For details on Niamh's event, click here

John MacKenna

John MacKenna is the author of nineteen books (fiction, poetry and memoir); a dozen stage plays and four radio plays. He is a winner of the Irish Times; Hennessy and C Day Lewis Awards for literature and a Jacobs Radio Award for his documentary series with Leonard Cohen. He teaches creative writing at NUI Maynooth and lives in Co Carlow.
Further details on John's events at our festival:

Theatre: here

Andrea Carter

Andrea Carter grew up in Ballyfin, Co. Laois and studied law at Trinity College
Dublin, before moving to the Inishowen peninsula in Co. Donegal where she ran the most northerly solicitors’ practice in Ireland. In 2006 she returned to Dublin to work as a barrister before turning to write crime novels. Her first book Death at Whitewater Church was one of the winners of the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair. 
She is the author of the Inishowen Mysteries, most recently The Well of Ice and
Murder at Greysbridge. She is published by Oceanview in the U.S., Little, Brown in the U.K. and Goldmann Verlag in Germany. The series will shortly be adapted for Television.
The Sunday Times has said ‘Carter excels in re-creating the cloistered, gossipy
confines of a small Irish village…the Inishowen peninsula community where
everybody knows everybody else’s business is a fine stand-in for the mannered
drawing room society of a Christie mystery.’ Andrea will read some of her work at the opening ceremony in Heritage House on Friday 23rd August

Angela Keogh

Angela Keogh is a writer, director and actor. Her first play, 'The Winter Dress' toured nationally in 2016/'17. Her second play 'Letters in the Post', which can be seen at this year's festival, premiered and toured in 2018. She is a prizewinner of the Waterford Poetry Competition and this year her latest novel was long-listed for the Irish Writers' Novel Fair.

For details on Angela's event, click here

Helena Duggan

Helena Duggan has two lives. In one she’s a Graphic Designer for her family lighting business, Willie Duggan, run by her brother and sister. In the second, she’s a children’s author and writes in a tree house built by her husband Robbie and his talented brother Billy down the bottom of their long garden.
When she’s not at the bottom of the garden she’s at the top of it, living in a small house with Robbie, their daughters Jo and Bobbie and dog Tinker.
She likes both her lives a lot. Helena is the author of ‘A Place called Perfect’ and ‘The Trouble with Perfect’. The third book in the series will be coming soon!

Helena will read some of her work, followed by an hour long writing workshop in the library.  This event is free, but places are limited, please contact the Library directly to book your space (057) 86 30020

Shane Dunphy

Shane Dunphy is a child protection expert, author, journalist, musician and teacher. Shane holds a Masters Degree in Sociology and post-graduate qualifications in creative therapies and child protection and is currently Head of the Social Care Department at Waterford College of Further Education.  He is married to Deirdre Wickham, and they have two children.

 A professional child protection worker for fifteen years (he still practices as a consultant), he is best known for a series of books detailing cases he was involved with, both as a social care worker and journalist. The first of this series, Wednesday's Child was a Number 1 bestseller, and the most recent title, The Boy They Tried to Hide, is in development for film.

His series of crime novels featuring the damaged criminologist, David Dunnigan, have all been Irish bestsellers.

Shane is a regular contributor to Irish and UK newspapers, both broadsheet and tabloid. He is currently a columnist for The, writing pieces that speak specifically of the plight of people living on the peripheries of our society.

He is a respected commentator on child-protection issues across the national and international media.

Shane has made documentaries for both television and radio.  His radio documentary ‘Tusk – Hunting for Ireland’s Wild Boar’ was shortlisted for a New York Radio award.  His telling of the ‘Thomas’ story from his book ‘The Boy They Tried to Hide’ on American National Public Radio’s Snap Judgementprogramme, broadcast as part of their Spooked Halloween stream, was one of the most downloaded podcasts in the show’s history.

A multi-instrumentalist, Shane is well known as a folk/trad musician, and has composed soundtracks for both radio and television. In the company of accordionist and storyteller Kevin McDermott he has had a regular residency in Wexford's celebrated music venue The Sky and the Ground for more than two decades.

Shane is currently developing an original True Crime series for Audible, detailing criminal cases he has encountered as a journalist. Entitled Stories From the Margins, the series will combine the spirit of his previous memoirs with an exciting, fresh approach to the True Crime genre.

Shane is also writing  a ground-breaking new thriller series featuring a former military engineer who finds himself embroiled in a gang war when he stops to listen to a country band on his way through rural Nevada.

To book a place on Shane's workshop, click here

Sheila Forsey

Sheila Forsey is the youngest of a large generation of storytellers. Her childhood was filled with the legends, folklore and mysticism of Irelands intricate past. This instilled a deep connection to those who had gone before her and was the steppingstone for her into the world of writing. Ireland’s windswept coastline, rugged mountains, valleys and ever-changing sky inspires her writing. She is an honours graduate from Maynooth in creative writing. She is the recipient of a literature bursary award from Wexford County Council and Artlinks. A deep love of drama led her to receive an all-Ireland best actress award from the
Drama League of Ireland. She facilitates creative writing workshops throughout the country. She has recently singed a three-part book deal with Poolbeg Press for historical fiction. Her first historical fiction book is called Kilbride House. In 2016 she published a contemporary novel that became an Irish Times best seller.

T o book a place on Sheila's workshop, click here

Caroline Busher

Caroline Busher is the Irish Times best-selling author of “The Ghosts of
Magnificent Children” and “The Girl Who Ate The Stars”(Poolbeg Press).
Caroline graduated with a First Class Honours MA in Creative Writing from UCD and has won numerous awards and received critical acclaim for her writing. She is the Reader in Residence with Wexford Public Library Services and a Heritage Expert with the Heritage Council of Ireland. Caroline worked as a curator and Chair of Wexford Literary Festival and the Festival Manager of “Towers and Tales” International storytelling festival in Lismore Castle. Caroline is on the Poetry Ireland Writers in Schools Scheme and is represented by Trace LiteraryAgency (USA) and facilitates Creative Writing Workshops in schools, libraries and festivals throughout Ireland. Caroline is the co-creator of “Things That Go Bump In The Night” an interactive theatre production and “The UndergroundWriters Society.”

To book a place on Caroline's workshop click here

Mícheál  Ó Muircheartaigh

For the early part of his broadcasting career Ó Muircheartaigh commentated on Minor GAA matches, in the Irish language. He also replaced the legendary Micheál O'Hehir when he was not available to commentate. Eventually when O'Hehir was forced to retire in the mid-1980s Ó Muircheartaigh took over as the station's premier radio commentator. He developed his own inimitable style of commentary and his accent is unmistakably that of a native Irish speaker. He is a true lover of Gaelic Athletic Association and it is reflected in the enthusiasm he brings to matches. His unusual turn of phrase has made him a much loved broadcaster and often imitated character. He has become particularly famous in Ireland for his unusual turns of phrase in the heat of the moment while commentating.  In 2004 he published his autobiography, 'From Dún Sion to Croke Park'.

On 16 September 2010 he announced his retirement from broadcasting. 

On 30 October 2010 Micheál commentated his final commentary alongside RTÉ's pundit and former Meath footballer Bernard Flynn.

Book online here

Fr. Paddy Byrne

Fr Paddy Byrne is a Parish Priest in Abbeyleix, Co. Laois. Hailing from Carlow town, he was educated in Carlow CBS and studied Business and Politics in Trinity College Dublin before training to be a priest in Carlow College. He is the youngest Parish Priest in the Kildare & Leighlin diocese and writes as a
columnist for a number of media outlets, including Laois/Carlow/Kildare Nationalist and Laois Today as well as national media outlets including Newstalk Radio.Fr Byrne is a prodigious tweeter (@Fr. Paddy Byrne) and blogger, with a weekly blog called ‘Time toThink.’ He is also a social justice campaigner. In his book ‘All will be Well’ from which he will read at The Power of Words Festival, Fr. Paddy draws on his years of parish ministry and pastoral care to outline the challenges we face, while offering hope and inspiration through reflections, tories, parables and prayers to help readers to overcome life’s obstacles and lead them towards what he sees as a positive future.

For more information & to book tickets, Click here

Dr. K Mark Hilliard

Dr. K. Mark Hilliard’s roots to Abbeyleix grow deep. For fifteen years he was the president of a college in Tennessee, USA, founded by Eloise O’More. Her husband, Rory O’More, and his family’s ancestry is traced back, over one thousand years, to County Laois. Each summer for six years, Dr. Hilliard directed a one-month college course for O’More students in the Abbeyleix Heritage House in Abbeyleix, with visits to hundreds of sacred sites throughout Laois and
surrounding counties.
Hilliard has spent his life as an educator, first as a medical educator with the American Cancer Society. After completing his Doctor of Arts Degree in Education, and Health and Wellness, he was a professor of behavioral science, holistic wellness, exploring spirituality, spirit-ritual, Native American science and myth, and marriage and the family at four different colleges and universities. He was also a visiting research fellow at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, for five years, as a member of their summer research institute.
He is the author of five books and co-author of two, ranging in subjects from wellness, to sensory teaching and learning, spirituality, global competency, thin space, sacred space, and sacred places. His multi-year research on sacred places led to long-term stays on The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian
Reservation, in the mid-lands of Ireland, in the Cotswalds of England, and throughout his home state of Tennessee, where he interviewed hundreds of people and visited hundreds of sacred sites. 

Dr. Hilliard is currently the Vice-Chancellor of the Hilliard Institute for Educational Wellness and the CEO of Hilliard Press, Moloney-O’Brien, and the Woodfine Young Writers Guild—all divisions of a small
publishing house whose mission is to advance literacy skills and encourage a love for reading and writing.

For more information & to book tickets, Click here

Jason O' Neill

Jason O’Neill, from Portlaoise is facilitating a very special event at this year’s Power of Words Festival. “In the Night Garden” will feature his new book, the ‘Magic of the Slieve Bloom Mountains’.

He says: “I have finally completed my first ever book with the help of a lot of people. It took a lot of time to complete it into what it is today"

“The book is based on the Slieve Bloom Mountains which I have walked many times. It is a short story about giants, fairies and Unicorns that live on the mountain. It’s about fairies and fairies, dragons too. What child wouldn’t love it!”


Venue : Abbeyleix Sensory Garden 7.00pm 
See Programme for full details, Children must be accompanied by an adult