“A Superb Festival, Really Stitched In To The Local Community,” says author Jim Crace

Listowel Writers' Week 2014“It’s not often that I’m stuck for a word but the feast that is Listowel Writers’ Week leaves me speechless with awe.” – Naill MacMonagle, Writer and Teacher.

It’s just over a month now since Listowel Writers’ Week 2014 drew to a close and the overwhelming consensus of opinion from festival goers and participants alike is that it was a resounding success. The cloudless blue skies and perfect sunshine every day was the icing on the cake!

As Ireland’s premier and indeed oldest literary festival, thriving on 43 years of rich literary tradition, we don’t take our success for granted. In today’s highly competitive arts and literary festivals market we value your feedback and suggestions. We conduct extensive market research and continually review our programming strategies to ensure all of our writers, readers, workshop participants, patrons and sponsors alike enjoy a wonderful festival experience year-on-year.

Listowel Writers' Week 2014
Mary Keane in conversation with Newstalk’s Pat Kenny, live from Listowel Writers’ Week

Part of what makes Listowel Writers’ Week so special and unique is undoubtedly its atmosphere. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s so true – Listowel is like the magical Welsh village of Brigadoon, which appeared out of nowhere for one day every hundred years and then, just as mysteriously disappeared again. To sample a taste of this magic, take a look at the short video clip below.

Building on our commitment to provide a platform for emerging writers, we were

The New Writers' Salon
The New Writers’ Salon

delighted to host, for the second year running, our New Writers’ Salon. A free-of-charge, informal event at Scribes Coffee House on Church Street, the Salon featured a number of new and exciting writers such as Danielle McLoughlin (shortlisted for the 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award), Ferida Lennon and Tom Morris (incoming editor of The Stinging Fly literary magazine and editor of the recently published Dubliners 100).

Operation Education gets underway

Following the enormous success of last year’s inaugural Operation Education, our teen-focused arts festival took place on Thursday 29th May, with over 420 4th and 5th year students attending from around Munster. It was an overwhelming success and extremely well received by the students.

Literary Workshop participants in action
Literary Workshop participants in action

The 11 Literary Workshops, each one taking place over three days, provided over 165 participants the opportunity to master their individual area of interest with some of the best teachers on the literary circuit. This year, attendees came from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Europe. If you plan to attend a workshop next year, it’s advisable to book early.

Members of The Abbeyfeale Drama Group lead the way of The Literary Pub Trail
Members of The Abbeyfeale Drama Group lead the way of The Literary Pub Trail

Our Literary Pub Trail is a major highlight for festival attendees and continues to grow in popularity. This year, over 100 people took to the streets for a drama-filled tour of the local hostelries, where they were treated to a flavour of the literary heritage of the town by the Abbeyfeale Drama Group.

Stomping in The Woods with Ruthi Lachs
Stomping in The Woods with Ruthi Lachs

The Children’s Festival 2014 was renamed The National Children’s Literary Festival and held its inaugural ‘School Tour Day,’ attracting 150 children. In addition, the ‘Authors in Schools Day’ included well-known authors such as John Boyne and Sarah Webb as well as child authors Fiona Buckley (11) and Joe Prendergast (10). A new Facebook page has been set up here where you can keep up-to-date with all the latest news.

Sarah Murphy and friends at the Mother & Child Workshop
Sarah Murphy and friends at the Mother & Child Workshop

It would be impossible to recount the many highlights and successes of the festival in this brief Blog post, but here’s a flavour of the comments we received:

“Many thanks for a terrific week. I think it was one of the best ever and I’ve been attending since 1989.” Brian Ó Tiomáin

“A huge pleasure to take part in Listowel, as ever. I always feel at home here at Listowel Writers’ Week.” Joseph O’Connor, Author

“That was a superb festival, really stitched in to the local community and as warm-spirited as any I’ve attended.” Jim Crace, Author

“I’ve always heard there is nowhere to match the Listowel Festival – now I know the truth of it.” Martina Devlin, Workshop Director

“We had a great time. The hospitality you showed us was second to none and we were delighted to encounter so many enthusiastic young readers.” Aoife Murray, Children’s Books Ireland

“The festival was fantastic. I didn’t think there was so much to do. Next year we’re going to take our holiday in Listowel and rent a house for the week of the festival. People are so friendly. I couldn’t walk more than 20 feet without having a chat with someone. Thank you for all the work you put into this. It really shows not only the creative essence that exists in our land, but also the wonder that Listowel has to offer.” Woody Cane

“Many thanks for a wonderful Listowel Writers’ Week. It’s always a thoroughly enjoyable festival with its interesting variety. Well-organised and with friendly and helpful staff.” Caroline Mullan

“… blown away by the Writers’ Week experience. It was so good again this year. I really am in awe of how you do it year after year.” Margot Walsh

We’d like to say a big Thank You for your continued support and for helping to make it all possible. We will continue to update the Blog, Twitter and Facebook pages throughout the year, so do keep in touch. Roll on 2015!