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Listowel Writers’ Week launch – No Airs and Graces

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I’m delighted to announce that I’m writing the official blog for Listowel Writers’ Week; one of the biggest literary festivals in Ireland which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, from June 1st, until June 5th, 2011.

The 40th anniversary is a massive deal; maintaining a festival for this long is no small achievement. After all, it means 40 years of dedication, tireless organisation – from securing first class writers to securing funding – and, to top it all, making sure the whole event goes smoothly while making it seem so effortless.

Earlier this week, I took a trip to Dublin for the festival launch in Mansion House. Within minutes of opening the doors, the venue was packed as writers, publishers, reporters, politicians and musicians gathered in the finery of the Council Chamber to celebrate the festival’s 40th year.

Although the Listowel launch followed a formal format, with general addresses, the programme launch and announcement of the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award short list, this was far from a stuffy affair.

As Festival Chairman, Michael Lynch, stated “the festival is renowned for having no airs and graces, yet it gives festival goers an intimate opportunity to meet and mingle with the biggest in the local and international literary world.”

Never was a truer word spoken. This was an extremely inclusive event, with an overall air of joviality and celebration; celebration of literature, of festivals and of the positive attitude towards the arts all across Ireland, not just in county Kerry.

This is my first year at Listowel Writers’ Week, so I’m delighted that they’ve welcomed me on board. And I must say, after the example set at the launch, I’m really looking forward to attending.

You can read a detailed account of the launch over on the Listowel Writers’ Week blog (written by the festival team – I’ll let you know when I’ve started blogging over there). And if you’ve not seen it yet, you can view the programme here (the children’s events are circus-themed).

So, who’s thinking of going? Let me know so we can arrange a coffee and a quick hello!

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