CELEBRATING Literary & Arts Listowel Writers' Week

Listowel Writers' Week 2021

Listowel Writers’ Week 2021 Festival News

The Listowel Writers’ Week 2021 Festival takes place 2nd – 6th June 2021. Further details will be announced over the coming weeks.

Submissions are now being invited for the:

  • Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021. The prize for the award winning author is €15,000. Kindly sponsored by Kerry Group PLC.
  • Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2021. The prize for the award for the winning poetry collection is €12,000, an increase from last year’s prize fund of €10,000. Kindly sponsored by Mark Pigott KBE & the Pigott Family.

Click: https://writersweek.ie/competitions20/ to view full details and criteria.

Contact us on: email info@writersweek.ie or phone 00353 (0)68 21074.

YA Book Festival 2020

Young Adult Book Festival 2020 goes digital this year!

Ireland’s biggest & most exhilarating arts festival for Young Adults, in association with Listowel Writers’ Week, is online – 24th, 25th & 26th November. All events are available after this date.

Ireland’s young adults are in for a treat on November 24th, 25th and 26th next with an exciting festival line-up of poets, motivational speakers, fiction writers, singers, film-makers and journalists sharing the best of literature across secondary schools nationwide. And the good news is that all events are FREE on our new website https://yabookfest.ie/.

Included in the mix are Bernard Brogan, Pulitzer Prize winner Malachy Browne, Senator Lynn Ruane, Dub-sub confidential John Leonard, Young Adult writers Dave Rudden and Sarah Crossan, film-makers Jon-Hozier Byrne and Patrick Ryan. Poets and singers Ciara Ní É, Lorraine Nash, Frank the Rapper and Seamus Harty will perform and talk about their craft.

There are two educational presentations on Leaving Cert Paper One from English teaching experts Frances Rocks and Kevin Mc Dermott. One of the highlights of this year’s festival is a Presidential address from President Michael D. Higgins on our theme of ‘hope’. The programme also includes advice on creativity from Young Offenders star Shane Casey and Minister for Education Norma Foley. Another highlight will be a lively discussion by our St. John’s Focus Group on recent books they have read.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of arts education in Ireland with this one of a kind, stimulating online festival”, commented Listowel Writers’ Week chairperson Catherine Moylan.

Click here to see the full schedule of events.

Click here to donate, and support writers and artists.

Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors and contributors who helped make this happen!

#YABF2020 #YABookFest #YoungAdultFestival #BookFestival #SupportWriters #EmbraceCulture #LoveReading #LiteraryTalent #Wellbeing #LiteraryExperience


Young Adult Book Festival 2020
Days to YA Book Fest 2020

Listowel Writers' Salon 2020

Listowel Writers’ Salon Events – October 2020!

Listowel Writers’ Salon is delighted to bring you a series of literary events over the coming weeks, where we will be showcasing some of the brilliant literary talent that writers’ have to offer us, which bring us into an imaginative literary experience. As we draw into the winter, we will be streaming events of some of the wonderful books that authors and poets have published. We will be streaming Rónán Hession, Kevin Barry, Miriam Gamble, Christine Dwyer Hickey and more!

This week Listowel Writers’ Salon is very proud to bring you a recent recording with Miriam Gamble in conversation with John McAuliffe. Miriam chats with John about her recent winning collection of poetry ‘What Planet’, which was awarded The Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2020 at Listowel Writers’ Week, and reads poems from her latest collection. This is Miriam’s third collection of poetry. Her first two poetry collections include ‘The Squirrels Are Dead’ and ‘Pirate Music’. She grew up in Belfast and currently lectures at Edinburgh University in creative writing.
Click here to listen.

Malachy Browne in conversation with Rhona Tarrant. Malachy chats with Rhona about his career to date as a journalist, Pulitzer Prize win, working with Vincent Browne and his research on visual investigations on war crimes and chaotic news events, which provide social justice news stories.
He talks about his recent Pulitzer Prize Award and showcases slides that demonstrate their team’s precise account of events on the ground which stitch events together, through the use of technology, so as to capture the whole story. His advice to anyone considering journalism; if you love it, definitely follow this career path. Even though it demands long hours, hard work and is demanding, it is a rewarding career.
Rhona also talks on her career as a journalist, how she began in Listowel and ended up in Storyful New York. She explains how online social media platforms have dramatically changed journalism.

Click here to listen.

Miriam Gamble in conversation with Victoria Kennefick. Belfast native poet Miriam Gamble talks about her winning collection of poetry ‘What Planet’ which won the Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2020 at Listowel Writers’ Week. She reads some of her latest poems, and provides useful advice on writing poems and creating a collection of poetry.

Click here to listen.

Kevin Barry in conversation with Rick O’Shea. Kevin chats about his latest novel ‘Night Boat to Tangier’ which  was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020. He is the author of highly acclaimed novel City of Bohane. ‘Night Boat to Tangier’ is a superbly atmospheric novel that will capture readers as they read about the lives of the very large characters in the book, who are based in Spain. Kevin also shares some great tips on writing a novel. “It’s a Kevin Barry novel, so the brilliance is expected; everything else is a brilliant surprise” – Roddy Doyle.

Click here to listen.

Rónán Hession in conversation with Rick O’Shea. Rónán is a songwriter, performer and debut author, and talks about his latest novel ‘Leonard and Hungry Paul’. It is an inspiring conversation where we are reminded to explore our imagination and enjoy creative writing. He says that “your creativity is like your sense of humour, it doesn’t go away”. He also talks about his editor, a former professional wrestler, who collaborated with him on publishing his book and shares some lovely tips on writing.

Click here to listen.

We have collaborated with and worked with the great team at IrishFest Milwaukee over the summer on some of these events.

Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors and contributors who helped make this happen!

#SupportWriters #EmbraceCulture #LoveReading #LiteraryTalent #Wellbeing #LiteraryExperience

Support Culture

We aspire to support and encourage writers & artists, and all involved in the literary world.

Your donation will help us promote, support and encourage writers & artists, thus ensuring that the literary and artistic talent in Ireland continues to be fostered and celebrated.

Irish Poem of the Year 2020


Winner of the Irish Poem of the Year 2020,

in association with An Post Irish Book Awards!

We are absolutely delighted to announce that the award for the Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year Award 2020, in association with An Post Irish Book Awards, goes to Linda McKenna for her poem In the Museum of Misremembered Things. Congratulations Linda on your poem, a wonderful achievement!

In the Museum of Misremembered Things

– by Linda McKenna

the keeper writes a slanted hand;

fine nibbed copperplate tracking

imagined lines of pink and blue.

In lemon juice; this archive

of unprovenanced vows, misheard

names, missed cues. Some day

she may rip out the pages, lay

them flat, heat up the iron. For now,

invisible; the lover picking out

her name on snow so white,

it looked like truth; unbending

wedding lilies, pearls for sorrow,

tangled lace. She leaves space

for days and dates; mislaid,

or folded small, in drawers

of long sold, white-lined boxes.

Listowel Writers Week and An Post Irish Book Awards would like to thank all participants who entered this year’s Irish Poem of the Year 2020 and you the voters who nominated your favourite poem.

#APIBA #ReadersWanted #Winner #Poem #Awards #AnPostIrishBookAwards #Stories #Books

APIBAS 2020 Linda McKenna

Digital Awards Ceremony 2020

Great News for Irish Writing as Winners for

Listowel Writers’ Week Competition Awards 2020 Announced

Last year, the Listowel Writers’ Week 2020 Festival was celebrated 27th May to 31st May 2020. An online Awards Ceremony, held on Wednesday 27th May 2020 at 8pm, honoured all competition entrants and their talented writing, during an incredibly strange and unprecedented year. This could not have happened without the loyalty of our Sponsors and Patrons and we are delighted to say a huge thank you to them all for their sponsorship of, and dedication to, supporting writers at a time when it is most needed.

Click here to see the full list of Winners of our 2020 Competition Awards.


Ireland’s Oldest Literary Festival

Welcome to Listowel Writers’ Week, Ireland’s oldest literary and arts festival where writers, artists and poets gather in the beautiful Kerry heritage town of Listowel in Co Kerry.  We promote writing and all its genres throughout the literary community, and create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible audience and where writers and readers celebrate the written word, together. At the heart of our annual celebration is a commitment to developing and promoting writing talent.

Listowel Writers’ Week is devoted to bringing together writers and audiences at unique and innovative events in the historic and intimate surroundings of Listowel, County Kerry. This is done through literary panel discussions, moderated talks, poetry readings, interviews, cultural tours, walks and more.

President Michael D. Higgins describes Listowel Writers’ Week as the place ‘where cruthaíocht is created’. So whether you nestle into the hearth of John B Keane’s pub for a reading, take a journey into the rich culture of scenic North Kerry in the Kerry Writers’ Museum, travel by the #WildAtlanticWay or sit back and enjoy the musings of internationally acclaimed writers in the Listowel Arms Hotel; be sure to join us as we celebrate our 50th Festival 2nd June to 6th June 2021.

We’ve introduced some wonderful guests to Listowel over the years, and each of them has left with fond memories. Hover over the images below to share in some of these experiences …

“I’ve been to many writing festivals since then but none as warm; or as mad!”

Roddy Doyle

“I was blown away with the warmth of the welcome I received, and how genuinely interested the audience here is. I’ll definitely be back!”

Jan Carson

“Listowel Writers’ Week is serious about literature. Everyone who comes here knows how much literature enriches our lives.”

Colm Tóibín

“Listowel Writers’ Week is warm-hearted, welcoming and entirely wonderful!”

Alexandra Pringle

“Just the most wonderful festival – where else can you have seaweed baths AND listen to poems in a pub?!”

Tishani Doshi

“Best Literary Festival in the World!”

Graham Norton

“It’s a celebration of writing and writers like no other. I can’t wait to come back!”

Jess Kidd

“Listowel Writers’ Week is warm and kind. Kindness is free!”

Lemn Sissay

“One of my best experiences at a book festival, the people and the town made it!”

Alan Cummings

“What a wonderful festival, the atmosphere is phenomenal! I’ll be raving about it to everyone.”

Emma Dabiri

“The week of the literary year in Ireland, may eve beyond!”

Paul Muldoon

“I love the warmth and informality of this wonderful gathering.”

Emma Donoghue

Sponsors & Patrons

Here at Listowel Writers’ Week we understand the value of community spirit and support. Since 1970, Listowel Writers’ Week has been supported by committed and generous Sponsors and Patrons who have given the festival the opportunity to expand and produce a wide and varied programme of events, creating an environment where literature and the arts can be appreciated by the widest possible audience.

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