For literary fans, aspiring poets and writers from all spheres both amateur and professional alike, a visit to Listowel in late May to early June is something to mark on the literary calendar year. For Listowel is the location for Ireland’s longest running and most established literary festival, Listowel Writers’ Week held in 28th May to 1st June.
The scenic surrounds of Listowel in County Kerry offer the perfect setting for Ireland’s premier literary festival, fitting for a town noted for its many great literary sons which include writers, playwrights and poets of the calibre of John B Keane, Bryan Mac Mahon, Professor Brendan Kennelly, George Fitzmaurice, Maurice Walsh and Robert Leslie Boland. Honoring this proud literary heritage, Listowel Writers Week, setup in 1970 and now in its 43rd year running often attracts some of the best established and upcoming literary talent and many prominent Irish and international literary figures.
A key component of the festival is its literary workshops and competitions. The many workshops which run over 3 days and cost €175, feature prominent Irish writers sharing their skills in poetry, fiction, theatre, screen, crime. In recent years the workshops have expanded to include song writing, comic writing and storytelling. Aside from workshops the other major feature of the festival is the many writing competitions (13 in total, the highlight being “The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year”) and literary awards which give valuable recognition to new writers.
This five day festival is a celebration of all things written and offers visitors making the trip to Ireland all manner of attractions. It gives new and established writers an opportunity to discuss their work before a national and international audience in a unique atmosphere of learning and celebration. Providing a wide ranging programme of literary events including lectures, readings, workshops, book launches, seminars, theatre, literary and historical tours, art exhibitions, music and dance it is of interest people of all interests not solely writers. And for many writers and literary fans it is the perfect occasion to meet likeminded individuals and celebrated writers, get helpful advice from professional writers and listen to some great literary prose.