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Gabriel Byrne, Nicola Sturgeon, Emma Dabiri and more to appear at the Irish Times festival

Gabriel Byrne, Sonia OSullivan, Micheál Martin, Nicola Sturgeon, Emma Dabiri, Dara McAnulty, Blindboy and more will appear at the online festival later this month.
The Irish Times Winter Nights online festival takes place at the end of January, with a host of high-profile guests including writers, politicians, actors and activists in conversation with Irish Times journalists.
Supported by Peugeot, the festival takes place over five evenings from Monday, January 25th to Friday, January 29th.
The final line-up has now been revealed: guests for the festivals opening night are podcaster and author Blindboy of the Rubberbandits and Olympic medal-winning athlete Sonia OSullivan.
It also includes Scotlands first minister Nicola Sturgeon, in conversation with Irish Times columnist Fintan OToole.
Among the other guests taking part are actor Gabriel Byrne, comedian Dara Ó Briain, writer Dara McAnulty, EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness and Irish-Nigerian academic and writer Emma Dabiri.
The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, is also on the bill. He will be talking about these challenging times for the country with Irish Times Political Correspondent Jennifer Bray.
International guests featuring in the festival include CNNs Washington-based political pundit John King and psychologist and Holocaust survivor Edith Eger.
Among the hosts are Irish Times writers and editors Pat Leahy, Kathy Sheridan, Hilary Fannin, Hugh Linehan, Sorcha Pollak and Patrick Freyne who will be in conversation with Ross OCarroll-Kelly creator Paul Howard.
The Winter Nights Festival follows on from Summer Nights, the Irish Times festival that took place last July. The full programme, with up to three live events on each of the five nights, is below.
For tickets, go to irishtimes.com/winternights. A single ticket costing 50 admits ticket holders to all events at the festival. Irish Times digital subscribers can purchase tickets at the discounted price of 25. Just make sure you are signed in before purchase, and the discount will be applied automatically.
The Irish Times Winter Nights Festival programme
6.30pm-7.30pmThe gospel according to BlindboyWith Blindboy and Hilary Fannin Our opening event of the festival features podcaster, author and Limerick man Blindboy of The Rubberbandits in conversation with Irish Times columnist Hilary Fannin. Theyll discuss his life, his politics, his podcast and his acclaimed short stories.
Author and podcaster Blindboy Boatclub of The Rubberbandits. Photograph: Alan Place
7.45pm-8.45pmGoing the distanceWith Sonia O’Sullivan and Joanne O’Riordan  Gold medal winning, world beating athlete Sonia OSullivan joins us from Melbourne to talk about her sporting life. She is in conversation with fellow Corkonian and Irish Times sports columnist Joanne ORiordan.
Sonia OSullivan after receiving the Irish Life Health Hall of Fame award on the occasion of her 50th birthday, November 28th, 2019. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
6.30pm-7.30pmOK, lets do their stupid ideaWith Paul Howard and Patrick FreyneRoss OCarroll-Kelly creator Paul Howard and Irish Times features writer Patrick Freyne are two of the funniest people writing in Ireland today. They talk to each other about the sometimes underestimated art of making people laugh.
Paul Howard stands next to a statue of Ross OCarroll-Kelly in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
7.45pm-8.45pmLessons for livingWith Edith Eger and Róisín IngleIn conversation with Irish Times columnist Róisín Ingle, celebrated psychologist and Holocaust survivor Edith Eger explores ways to change the thoughts and behaviours that can keep us prisoners of our past.
Author, celebrated psychologist and Holocaust survivor Edith Eger
6.30pm-7.30pmYes, commissionerWith Mairead McGuinness and Kathy SheridanCo Louth born MEP Mairead McGuinness has been European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union since October 2020. She tells Irish Times columnist Kathy Sheridan about life since landing the big job.
Mairead McGuinness, EU Commissioner with responsibility for banking and financial services. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/ EPA
7.45pm-8.45pmWhat white people can do nextWith Emma Dabiri and Sorcha PollakIrish-Nigerian author and academic Emma Dabiri explores how, in the fight against racism, white people can move from allyship to coalition. She is in conversation with Sorcha Pollak, Irish Times journalist and writer of New to the Parish.
Irish-Nigerian writer, academic and broadcaster Emma Dabiri. Photograph: Olivia Harris
9pm-10pmTwo men in a ZoomWith Dara Ó Briain and Pat LeahyComedian Dara OBriain and Irish Times Political Editor Pat Leahy met and became friends as student debaters in UCD. They quiz each other about friendship, comedy, middle-aged angst, politics, space and much more.
Comedian Dara OBriain. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
6.30pm-7.30pmBeyond BrexitWith Nicola Sturgeon and Fintan OTooleScotlands first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon talks to Orwell prize winning Irish Times columnist Fintan OToole about Brexit, Scottish independence and the state of the union.
Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/AFP/Getty Images
7.45pm-8.45pmLeading through lockdownsWith Micheál Martin and Jennifer BrayMicheál Martin became Taoiseach at a time of unprecedented challenges. Irish Times Political Correspondent Jennifer Bray asks him about leadership in a pandemic and his hopes for Ireland in 2021.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin will be in conversation with Irish Times Political Correspondent Jennifer Bray. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
9pm-10pmIs everything going to be alright?With Prof Luke ONeill and Jennifer OConnellProfessor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, Luke ONeill, was one of the leading scientific voices to emerge in 2020. Irish Times columnist Jennifer OConnell picks his considerable brain about the light at the end of our pandemic tunnel.
Prof Luke ONeill, professor of Biochemistry at the Centre for Bioengineering at Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times/File
6.30pm-7.30pmA walk on the wild sideWith Dara McAnultyWhen young autistic people are nurtured, miraculous things can happen, says 16-year-old Dara McAnulty, award-winning author of Diary of a Young Naturalist. The Co Down teenager explores his passion for the natural world, in the company of Irish Times journalist Freya McClements.
Dara McAnulty (16), from Co Down, who won the Wainright Prize for nature writing for Diary of a Young Naturalist
7.45pm-8.45pmTalking with ghostsWith Gabriel Byrne and Hugh LinehanDubliner Gabriel Byrne was one of Irelands first movie stars. He talks to Irish Times Arts and Culture Editor Hugh Linehan about his life and times from The Riordans to The Usual Suspects to publishing an acclaimed memoir at 70.
Actor Gabriel Byrne recently released his memoir, aged 70. Photograph: Larry Busacca/Getty Images
9pm-10pmThe American dream?With CNNs John King and Fintan OTooleJust days after the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden, Washington-based CNN commentator John King talks to Fintan OToole about his Irish roots, his Magic Wall and the future of post-Trump America.
CNN Anchor John King will be in conversation with Fintan OToole. Photograph: David S Holloway/Getty Images
See irishtimes.com/winternights for full details.