I’m going to try and sum up the Cork Spring Literary Festival· in five words: welcoming, vibrant, fun, passionate and dedicated.
The programme was exciting, the venue looked beautiful and every detail was carefully arranged to reflect the spirit of the festival. And from the moment I arrived (in the capacity of official blogger) I was well looked after by all the Munster Literature Centre· staff.
As for the events, the variety of poetry, prose, book launches, workshops and film, the events burst from the programme onto the stage with verve and vigour. There was seductively powerful poetry by Maram al-Masri (Syria), insightful, nature-centric poetry byZhao Lihong (China’s answer to Seamus Heaney) and a variety of passionate and exciting readings by Julijana Velakovska (Macedonia), Valerie Rouseau (France) and Kristiina Ehin (Estonia). In addition, there was home-grown talent in abundance, including Leanne O’Sullivan, Gerry Murphy,Dave Lordan, and Patrick Cotter (it was great to see Pat step briefly away from his role as organiser and include himself in the line-up).
But what impressed me the most was the atmosphere of the festival – at all times it encapsulated the five words I chose above – welcoming, vibrant, fun, passionate and dedicated. There was respect for the written word emanating from everyone in attendance – the writers, the Munster Literature Centre staff and the audience. Also, the writers were extremely supportive, attending each other’s events and buying each others books, as well as providing me with heaps of content for the festival blog, including essays, poems, sections of novel, stories, advice. This isn’t something you witness at every festival.
Overall, as the festival came to a close, I felt as though I’d witnessed a great meeting of literary minds. I’d also seen some fantastic examples of how to perform at a reading, how to construct/arrange poetry collections and how to engage with your audience. I also felt like I’d made lots of friends which is invaluable, seeing as writing is such a lonely profession.
I’d conclude that the Cork Spring Literary Festival is one of the best events I’ve attended in Ireland and I’m looking forward to see what else will be happening in the Munster region. You can read the full account of the festival on the Cork Spring Literary Festival blog.