THE brave, the bold and the beautiful were all out in force for the launch of the 40th anniversary festival of Listowel Writers’ Week at Dublin’s Mansion House.
Downpatrick is twinned with Listowel and there will be representatives there in Listowel during the event. Any budding writer is very welcome to attend. What started out as a small intimate gathering of like minded people enchanted by language, music and colour has grown into Ireland’s most prestigious Irish literary festivals. After four decades of keeping things simple with the emphasis on the written and spoken word, Listowel Writers’ Week will celebrate its 40th anniversary festival this year, commencing on 1st June and continuing until 5th June 2011.
The ruby year celebrations will be punctuated with performances by the very best in writing including, Robert McCrum, Richard Dawkins, Alice Sebold, David Sedaris, Rita Ann Higgins, Michael Holroyd, John Connolly, Gerald Celente, Blake Morrison, John Lynch, Catherine Dunne, and Edward St Aubyn to name a small selection. Festival Chairman Michael Lynch stated that “the festival is renowned for having no airs and graces, yet it gives festival goers an intimate opportunity to meet and mingle with the biggest in the local and international literary world within the confines of a small town where every venue and performance is within easy walking distance.
This year in particular there will be an additional venue of Fossett’s Circus Big Top which will be used for Children’s Events and two special 40th Anniversary Concerts by Julie Feeney and Joseph O’Connor and Scullion.
Also announced was the short list for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award with a prize fund of €20,000. The short-list comprises Emma Donoghue’s, Room, Neil Jordan with Mistaken, Claire Keegan with Foster, Joseph O’Connor with Ghost Light and The Holy Thief, by William Ryan. Speaking at the Launch, Frank Hayes, of Kerry Group, said, “The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award now entering its 16th year continues to be a much sought after accolade in the Irish literary calendar, I would like to congratulate our two adjudicators Kate O’Toole and John Boland for selecting this year’s shortlist which showcases the range and strength of Irish fiction writing”.
After 40 years of appearances by poet laureates, Nobel and Booker prize winners and many more, Listowel has time and again reinvented itself to keep pace with what is happening in the arts and literature, locally, nationally and globally. More than just a literary festival, Listowel Writers’ Week will include book launches, art exhibitions, theatre and an imaginative circus themed children’s programme.
Full details are available on www.writersweek.ie