For the past 13 years, I have made Listowel Writers’ Week my annual summer holiday.
Why do I keep coming back every June bank holiday weekend?
The reason is I like to tap into the vibrant energy of the festival, the intellectual stimulation of the creative writing workshops, the main Festival programme, and the meeting of like-minded people, who are interested in reading, writing and books in general.
The workshops I have participated in are excellent, be they poetry, short story or the novel alike.
I have learnt tricks of the trade on the writing process, received positive feedback on my own writing, as well as understanding that writing can be learnt like any other subject, once it’s given time, practice and one reads widely.
The real magic for me is the Festival Programme, where I’m exposed to new writers, new books and new ideas. It is also where serendipity happens;
I can strike up a conversation with strangers or old friends from previous festivals. Sometimes these conversations are followed up by a visit to a café or John B’s, or sometimes it’s a visit to Woulfe’s bookshop.
I love the warmth of the welcome I receive every year from the festival committee, the shopkeepers and the locals.
This old worldly charm is still preserved here in Listowel, and I like that people remember me. This is testament to the good relationships the locals make with visitors, because they are interested that we enjoy our time there.
I would highly recommend Listowel Writers’ Week. As long as I have money in my pocket, I shall make it my business to be at the Festival for many years to come.
I leave Listowel every June revitalised, having good memories and grateful for the positive experience.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Mary McCarthy, Skibbereen
30th May to 3rd June 2018