Thursday 15th


Book Launch “The Crowded Earth”

Author: David Whelan

Custom House Studio




The Crowded Earth follows the story of Rupert, a young Dublin man, through the Lockout and the First World War. It describes an intriguing world of memories lived and imaginings awakened, through loves and losses, as reason departs...


I’d like to tell you a story of a life lived many times over and a life not lived at all. Where should I begin? At the beginning I suppose; the end of all beginnings. ~Rupert



David Whelan

Dave Whelan, author and yoga teacher, lives and works in Westport. The Crowded Earth is his third novel.


David Whelan grew up on the fringes of the Curragh in County Kildare before moving away to college in Dublin to study science and engineering. He qualified as a mechanical engineer in the early nineties and emigrated to the U.S., where he spent nearly thirteen years. In 2007 he undertook a yoga teacher training course. More than ten years later he’s still teaching and enjoying every minute of it. His early writing is influenced by Forsyth, Harris and Follett. He has always been interested in history and in particular military history, due in large part to the environment in which he grew up; close to the Curragh Camp. He currently lives in the west of Ireland with his partner, Caithriona, and their Border Collie, Kizzy.


David always harboured an ambition to write novels. He finished his first novel, Green Angel, part of a trilogy, in 2012. He followed with Fallen Angel in 2014. The third in the series, Angel Rising, is as yet unpublished, but he has hopes to revisit the series, as a screenplay, in the near future. It was on finishing drafts for a fourth novel, The Human Zoo, in 2017, that he started on his latest project, The Crowded Earth. The novel tells the story of Rupert, a young Dublin man coming of the age in a time of great upheaval in Irish and international history. An eager volunteer, Rupert joins the ranks of young men heading off the war. Like so many of his compatriots Rupert returns a changed man, horribly afflicted by what he has witnessed and endured. He finds himself in the Richmond War Hospital undergoing treatment for shell shock and it is the exchange between the doctor treating him, Dr Charles L’Estrange, and Rupert, which reveals the terrible torments of his mind. The Crowded Earth is a study of trauma and memory. It is also a story of changing cultural values and our perception of time, reality and what it means to exist.


Literary Influences: Aldous Huxley, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Vera Brittain, William Boyd, William Golding, James Plunkett, Daphne Du Maurier, David Mitchell, CJ Samson, Philip Kerr

Early literary influences: Robert Harris, Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth




Exhibition: Another Country

Clew Bay Hotel

Throughout festival



This year The Rolling Sun Book Festival celebrates Mayo writing and the major successes of our writers in recent years when many have risen to international prominence. Another Country is an exhibition celebrating these “Mayo Modernists” who are putting Mayo on the literary map around the world.


From Castlebar’s Sally Rooney who was nominated for the Booker Prize 2018 to Mike McCormack whose book Solar Bones won the IMPAC prize, from Kilalla’s Kate Kerrigan whose bestselling novels have been translated into 25 languages, to Claremorris’s  Elizabeth Reapey whose debut novel Red Dirt won the Rooney Prize for Literature, Mayo writers are now at the forefront of writing on these islands. Our worldwide diaspora is also part of this writing renaissance with huge successes for Anakana Schofield in the US, while Eimear McBride and Jess Kidd are equally garlanded with prizes and awards in the UK. The lyricism of our poets continues to be widely acclaimed: from the doyen Paul Durcan to other prize winners such as Martin Dyar, Geraldine Mitchell, Michelle O’Sullivan and Sean Lysaght.


The exhibition showcasing the authors and their major works will be in view at the Clew Bay Hotel throughout the festival.