We thought we’d start off this week’s Blog update by asking our Chairman Sean Lyons for some thoughts, so here goes:
Q. What were the highlights of your first year as Chairman of Listowel Writers’ Week?
A. The first year was an amazing journey for me. I have chaired several groups and been involved in many committees and rarely have I worked with such a focused and dedicated collection of people. Everyone involved has the success of Listowel Writers’ Week as their primary aim and it was a joy to see the fruits of all that effort. There is a long tradition of success in Listowel, involving many hundreds of volunteers and dedicated committees. It was a great honour to greet our President, Michael D. Higgins. Each morning during the festival, I was delighted to watch the streams of children heading to the events that were organised for them.
Q. Looking forward to 2013, what is your vision for Listowel Writers’ Week in the coming year?
A. We are all conscious of the economic times we live in. Next year’s festival will provide the usual high standard of programmes and at a reasonable and affordable cost to our visitors. We have a fundraising subcommittee in place to explore possible new methods of generating funds – not an easy task in a recession! I look forward to meeting the aspiring writers and I hope that some of them will take that next step on the long road to success while in Listowel. I am also looking forward to seeing our young audiences returning to Listowel.
Q. Listowel Writers’ Week is hosting a Gathering event in 2013. What are your thoughts on The Gathering?
A. The Gathering is a wonderful initiative. Tourism is vital to Ireland and to Kerry in particular. When I, as Chair, was invited to speak at the launch of The Gathering by Kerry County Council, which took place on Ellis Island earlier this year, Listowel Writers’ Week was recognised as a significant cultural destination; so cultural tourism is certainly a growth area. A feature of Listowel Writers’ Week next year will be a daily ‘Gathering Hour’, where a variety of aspects of the literature of the Irish Diaspora will be featured.
Echoing Sean’s comments above on how satisfying it is to see aspiring writers take the next step on the long road to success, a few of us here in the office were delighted to attend a reading of Jim Lucason’s play The Rapparees – which won the Eamon Keane Award at Listowel last year – at The Siamsa Tire (The National Folk Theatre of Ireland) last Saturday night. We wish Jim every success with the development of this play and look forward to seeing more of his work.
Full Details of Listowel Writers’ Week Literary Workshops and Competitions for 2013 coming up soon… So do keep in touch!