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Paul FitzSimons

It might seem that I was bit remiss in my recent column as here I am back talking about writing festivals once again. But there are so many of them happening over the coming months that to dump them on you all in one go would have been overwhelming. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

So, the first festival to mention today is the Dundalk Book Festival, mostly as it’s happening this weekend (26th and 27th April 2013) – get along if you can.

Writer/Director Ferdia McAnna is the Writer-in-Residence at the Dundalk Institute of Technology and was instrumental in the creation of this 2-day event. “The First Dundalk Book Festival came about as mad idea and direct result of my stint as writer-in-residence at DkIT, Dundalk,” Ferdia told me. “I joined DkIT in October 2012. I ran Creative Writing workshops two days a week with 46 participants drawn from students, staff and the wider community. in March, DkIT Press published ‘No Bother- New Writing by Dundalk Writers‘ edited by myself and Claire Kenny and featuring the work of 33 of the workshop participants.

“The Dundalk Book Festival will be my final act as writer-in-residence,” Ferdia went on to say. “It’s run on a tiny budget and has no full-time members. Everyone is giving of their time and enthusiasm for free and we are hoping for a brilliant couple of days. The full programme of events is available on our website the DkIT web pages and on the Book Fest Facebook page. A lot of the praise for the event should go to Ann Cleary, DkIT head librarian and to her library staff as well as the Louth arts council and a team of volunteers.”

The Dundalk Book Festival is happening this weekend, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th April in and will be attended by great Irish writers such as Claudia Carroll, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Catherine Dunne, Niamh O’Connor, Declan Burke and Declan Hughes, Sarah Webb and’s Vanessa O’Loughin who will be running her Getting Published workshop.

In July, we have the West Cork Literary Festival happening in Bantry. Launching in the Bantry Library on Sunday 7thJuly, the festival will include the presentation of the J.G. Farrell Fiction Award and also will feature poet Ruth Padel,  Melvyn Bragg, Jonathon Williams and internationally acclaimed authors Carol Drinkwater, Anne Enright and Kate Mosse.

Also throughout the summer, there is a great variety of local arts festivals, all of which incorporate a healthy dose of literature and writing events. Towards the end of July is the Boyle Arts Festival, a wonderfully intimate festival which has blossomed into an annual 10 day event. Since its inception, it has earned its place as one of Ireland’s best celebrations of the arts.

The 3-day Wicklow Arts Festival is enjoying its tenth birthday in 2013 and will be celebrating with a cacophony of events including an audience with Ross O’Carroll Kelly creator Paul Howard.

And in my own home county of Kildare, the Kildare Readers’ festival will take place in October in-and-around Newbridge. The schedule for this festival is being developed so it might be well worth keeping an eye on the website. And no doubt I’ll give it a mention later in the year.


The Dundalk Book Festival happens this Friday/Saturday, 25th/26th April.



The West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry is definitely worthy of a summer road trip.



The long-running Boyle Arts Festival is back for another marathon 10 days of events in July/August.



Author Paul Howard features at May’s Wicklow Arts Festival, now in its tenth year.



Later in the year, the Kildare Arts Festival is sure to include some of Ireland’s best-loved writers.

About the author

(c) Paul FitzSimons

Paul FitzSimons is a screenwriter and novelist and has written the novel ‘Burning Matches’ and a number of scripts for film and TV. He has worked as a storyline writer on RTE’s ‘Fair City’. His short stories are published in ‘Who Brought The Biscuits’ by The Naas Harbour Writers. Paul likes crime thrillers, good coffee and Cadbury’s chocolate. He doesn’t like country-and-western music or people who don’t indicate on roundabouts.

Paul also runs the Script Editing service Paul | The | Editor.

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