Monday 23 October 2017

New festival is write on

By Maria Pepper

At the opening of the festival (from left) back, Mary Byrne, Jackie Hayden, Derek Byrne, Peter Murphy, Theresa Doyle, Cllr Jim Moore and Cat Hogan; front, Mary Dunne, Pat Dunne, Mayor of Wexford Frank Staples, and Lucy Moore.
At the opening of the festival (from left) back, Mary Byrne, Jackie Hayden, Derek Byrne, Peter Murphy, Theresa Doyle, Cllr Jim Moore and Cat Hogan; front, Mary Dunne, Pat Dunne, Mayor of Wexford Frank Staples, and Lucy Moore.
Debbie Newport, John Flaherty and Margaret Powe.
Irene Way, Imelda Carroll and Billy Roche.
Mary Dunne, Ivan Sutton, Mary Sutton and Derek Byrne.

Writers and readers made their way to Kilmore Quay for the first ever Write by the Sea, an exciting new event that began with an idea over a cup of tea last May and quicky evolved into a successful festival.

The inaugural festival featuring workshops, lectures, interviews and readings by authors, poets and journalists was declared a resounding success and next year's event is already being talked about.

The weekend programme began with generous hospitality in the form of a fresh seafood buffet sponsored by the altees Fish at a launch reception in the Stella Maris hall and ended in context on Sunday night with an emotional reading by David Williams of a beautiful piece written by his late father Tom Williams about the picturesque fishing village which mentions skipper Willie Bates and the Mystic Rose.

The festival was officially opened by local Development Association chairman Cllr. Jim Moore who said Kilmore Quay's proximity to that great literary and artistic inspiration, the sea, made it a perfect location for a writing festival.

He recalled a line from a poem of his schooldays, John Masefield's 'I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky' and he also read John O' Donoghue's 'The Inner History of a Day' .

The Mayor of Wexford Frank Staples also addressed the gathering, offering his wholehearted support to the festival. Students of Bridgetown Vocational College acted as ambassadors.

During Saturday and Sunday there was a creative writing workshop by Jim Maguire exploring how journals, stories and poetry can help us navigate the voyage of life; a lecture by Jackie Hayden describing how he discovered the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas through Bob Dylan and the Beatles; the rules of the road for playwriting by Billy Roche; an introduction to writing for radio by A.M. Cousins; freelance journalism by Margaret Hawkins; a workshop by Margaret Galvin which encouraged a celebration of past memories in the service of self-knowledge; a workshop on writing eBooks by Daithi Kavanagh; an inspiring session by writer and performer Peter Murphy whose firm advice is 'if you want to write, write!'; recently-published author Cat Hogan on getting a manuscript ready for submission and how to find an agent; practical writing exercises with Fiona O' Rourke and an interview with Paul O' Brien and Cat Hogan by Jackie Hayden.

Purposeful participants arrived with notebooks and pens at the ready and were eager in their questioning of the authors, clearly determined to make the most of the experience.There was positive feedback afterwards from many who took part with the organisers receiving appreciative emails and texts.

'I think we exceeded people's expectations' said committee member Mary Duane who was in charge of public relations.

She said the festival grew from a tentative idea last May in the mind of energetic chairperson Lucy Moore who initially went to Billy Roche for advice. He told her to 'go for it'.

With support from Wexford County Council, Wexford Arts Centre and various writers, the idea developed in a short space of time into a fully-fledged festival thanks to a hardworking committee of local people from different backgrounds who brought varied skills to the table, including Kay O' Riordan (secretary), Derek Burke (treasurer), Therese Burke (vice-treasurer), Pat Dunne, Mary Byrne and Elena Winch and also website creator Elaine Walsh of 053IT which was a sponsor.

A founding aim of the festival is to host an inclusive event that is welcoming to everybody and is not elitist.

The sponsors included Wexford County Council, Medilink Ambulance Service, Wallaces of Wellingtonbridge, Park 100 fire and Security, Mary Barry's, Silver Fox Restaurant, Sofrimar, Talbot Hotel, Glen Fuel Services, Waters Technology, Tubs and Tiles and Paddy Power Sport.

The result of a writing competition run in conjunction with the festival will be announced in a few weeks with the winner's work due to be broadcast on the RTE Radio 1 Seascapes programme.

Wexford People

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