American literary superstar, Richard Blanco, is coming to live in Limerick as a Writer-in-Residence as part of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

During his residency, Blanco will read at the Desmond Banqueting Hall, Newcastle West, on Friday, 5th September at 8pm. This event is being jointly organised by Newcastle West Arts and Limerick City of Culture within the Visiting Writers’ Series.

Appearing along with Richard Blanco will be Limerick poet, Vivienne McKechnie, who recently published her first collection of poetry, ‘A Butterfly’s Wing.’ Local violinist, Siobhan McMahon and flautist, Clare Murphy, will complete the line-up for what promises to be a magical night in this historic and beautiful venue. The event is open to all and admission is free.

Selected by Obama as the fifth inauguration poet, Blanco followed in the footsteps of luminary American writers, Maya Angelou and Robert Frost. Blanco is the youngest, the first Latino and the first openly gay writer to hold this honour and was chosen as Obama believed the poet’s “deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American”.

Blanco wrote a poem for the occasion, which he read at the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC in January 2013. Since then his profile has soared, and he has given up his profession as a civil engineer to concentrate on writing full time. 

When announcing the event, Vicki Nash, Chairperson of Newcastle West Arts, remarked: “We are particularly honoured to be hosting Richard Blanco in the Banqueting Hall, allowing local people to hear a poet of such stature.”