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Stephen James Smith and Eithne Hand

Stephen James Smith is a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word scene in Ireland today. To date, his poetry videos have amassed over 1 million views online.Stephen is a co-founder of LINGO Festival (inaugural festival in 2014), Ireland’s only spoken word festival, and poetry curator of the annual First Fortnight Festival. He co-produced Dublin: A Year in Words poetry video series for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.In 2017 Smith was commissioned by St. Patrick’s Festival to write a new poem as a“celebratory narrative” of Ireland.  The resultant piece, ‘My Ireland’ is accompanied by a short film by Director Myles O’Reilly, arranged and mixed by Conor O’Brien (Villagers & Ivor Novello Award Winner ), with music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Loah, Saint Sister, Eithne Ní Chatháin (aka Inni-K) and Ye Vagabonds.  It has been viewed over 300,000 times online and was screened at London Film Festival in Trafalgar Square on March 17th. The poem was in many ways a follow-on from Smith’s previous poetry video, Dublin You Are, which itself has clocked up in excess of 250k views. Stephen has performed at high profile events and festivals such as the Electric Picnic, Other Voices, the National Concert Hall, the Abbey Theatre (Noble Call) and Vicar Street (alongside luminaries such Oscar winner Glen Hansard, Shane McGowan, Roddy Doyle and Joseph O’Connor, Shane Koyzan); and further afield at the London Palladium, the Oscar Wilde Awards in LA, Glastonbury, George Town Literary Festival (ML) and other events in New York, Chicago, Iowa, Montreal, Ottawa, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Utrecht, Ljubljana and Warsaw. In 2012 he was invited to perform for the Irish Olympic team in London. Arise and Go!, Smith’s debut album with musician Enda Reilly, was selected by Hot Press as one of the best albums of 2011 and he also is a member of Dublin music collective The Lazy Band, who released their debut album In My Garden last year.  His ABSOLUTE Dublin Fringeplay Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About (2011), co-written with Colm Keegan and Kalle Ryan, was shortlisted for the Bewley’s Little Gem Award. In 2010, he won the Cúirt International Literary Festival Poetry Grand Slam.

Eithne Hand  is a writer and producer based in both Wicklow and Sligo. She has written four radio plays broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and has had poetry published in THE SHOp, The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland,, Southword, and Crannog. Her work was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh award, the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize and for the Fish Award (2018). As a radio producer, her documentary, Voicejazz, won a Prix Italia for Best Work on Music. She was Head of RTÉ Radio 1 from 2003-2006. From 2014 – 2017 she curated the First Thought talks strand of the Galway International Arts Festival and as an independent producer she works with Gay Byrne on his Sunday Jazz program and also produces Poetry File on RTÉ lyric FM. As a theatre producer she is currently touring The Man In The Woman’s Shoes and  I Hear You and Rejoice – both one-man shows written and performed by Mikel Murfi. In Jan 2016 she was the audio producer on Dublin Rising – an interactive Google App narrated by Colin Farrell.

Photo credit Babs Daley Grace Photography