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Sheila Armstrong on RSL Ondaatje Prize shortlist / Molly Bloomsday

Sheila Armstrong on RSL Ondaatje Prize shortlist

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This year, for the first time, Bloomsday, the annual celebration of James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses, will become Molly Bloomsday, as it spreads north of the Border from Dublin for an inaugural all-women event in Derry and Donegal.

Scores of artists from across Europe will gather for YES, a festival of female creativity, inspired by Joyce’s most famous female character, Molly Bloom.

From June 13th-16th, YES will be alive with dance, music, food, public art, literature, conversation and spectacle. Among the highlights of the almost entirely free event is the world premiere of The Molly Films, starring Dame Harriet Walter, Fiona Shaw, Adjoa Andoh, Siobhán McSweeney and Eve Hewson.

YES will contain a mini literary festival all of its own – ‘No Ordinary Women’ – which brings together notable women to discuss all sorts of subjects; among the line-up so far are former Irish President Mary Robinson, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Orla Guerin, Marion McKeone, Denise Chaila, Miriam O’Callaghan, Martina Devlin and two groundbreaking female political leaders yet to be announced.

YES will culminate in Molly Bloomsday, an epic 18-hour finale of events taking festivalgoers from the coast to the city and transposing the famed Dublin locations of Ulysses to new places north of the Border. A highlight of the day will be a special performance by Imelda May. YES is the culmination of the two-year ULYSSES European Odyssey project, which has seen celebrations of Joyce’s masterpiece across 16 European countries.