Really Useful Links: Conventions and Festivals by Paul Anthony Shortt

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Paul Anthony Shortt

Writing can be a solitary exercise. We don’t even need to leave our homes to do research for a book or contact a publisher – all of human knowledge is available to us through computers and even our phones. But humans are social creatures and we tend to need the company of others – even those of us who enjoy being alone can still benefit from mingling with our peers.

Thankfully, there are several great festivals and conventions happening right on your doorstep, throughout the year. Ireland is famous for its writers, and we do great work to celebrate this reputation, and to encourage new writers to step up. Book festivals and fan conventions are a great chance to break out of your routine, get away from the keyboard, and get to know others in the writing community. So this week I wanted to share some of the top conventions and festivals for you to attend.

  1. Octocon – Ireland’s National Science Fiction Convention happens every October, and is coming up next week, starting the evening of October 9th and running until the 11th. There are always great panels, featuring writers, artists, publishing professionals, and passionate fans alike.
  2. Listowel Writers Week runs from 1st-5th June 2016 and is an internationally acclaimed literary festival devoted to bringing together writers and audiences at unique and innovative events in the historic and intimate surroundings of Listowel, County Kerry. Founded in 1970 and recognised as one of the premier events in the literary calendar, this is a must visit festival.
  3. Dublin Book Festival – Next on the calendar is the Dublin Book Festival, which this year runs from November 12th to 15th. Started in 2009, the Dublin Book Festival is one of Ireland’s largest book events, celebrating and promoting authors from all genres. It also has a selection of events to cater to children, so there’s something for everyone.
  4. Mountains to Sea – The annual Mountains to Sea festival takes place in Dún Laoghaire, typically during spring and summer. Drawing on the area’s rich literary history, Mountains to Sea provides a great backdrop to get stuck into a range of events and discussions.
  5. Waterford Writers Weekend – Getting out of Dublin, the Waterford Writers’ Weekend happens in May each year offers a chance for writers of any level to visit a beautiful city, attend workshops and hear from a wide selection of authors.
  6. Cúirt International Festival of Literature – Galway plays host to a festival with a 30 year history, drawing visitors from all over the world to discuss books, theatre, and music. They also have a New Writers Prize every year, with awards for fiction, poetry, and young writers.
  7. Belfast Book Festival – With a range of events, including budget events and featuring a wide range of topics on fiction and non-fiction, you’re sure to find kindred spirits at the Belfast Book Festival.
  8. West Cork Literary Festival – Rounding out all corners of Ireland, and proving you can’t swing a cat in this country without hitting a writer, we’ve got the West Cork Literary Festival, featuring talks from agents, publishers, and authors.
  9. Cork International Short Story Festival – Formerly the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival, this event has been running for 15 years, and features readings, interviews, seminars, and awards.
  10. International Literature Festival Dublin – I would be remiss not to mention the International Literature Festival Dublin, formerly the Dublin Writers Festival, which has been running since 1998. The festival itself runs in May, but also arranges a series of year-long events featuring talks from authors and artists.
  11. Dublin 2019 – Looking to the future now. Worldcon is the annual World Science Fiction Convention, a major event attended by thousands of people from all over the world. Dublin is bidding to host the event in 2019, and if you want to get involved, either by donating or volunteering your time, you can find out everything you need to know here.

I wish I could keep going, but there are so many festivals, big and small, all over Ireland, that it would be impossible to give them all enough time. So get out there, go to some events, make some friends, and have a great time!

(c) Paul Anthony Shortt

About the author

Paul Anthony Shortt believes in magic and monsters; in ghosts and fairies, the creatures that lurk under the bed and inside the closet. The things that live in the dark, and the heroes who stand against them. Above all, he believes that stories have the power to change the world, and the most important stories are the ones which show that monsters can be beaten.
Paul’s work includes the Memory Wars Trilogy and the Lady Raven Series. His short fiction has appeared in the Amazon #1 bestselling anthology, Sojourn Volume 2.

Website: http://www.paulanthonyshortt.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pashortt

Twitter: @PAShortt

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