Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene
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Archive for the ‘preparations’

Rain

May 31, 2012 By: admin Category: 2012, preparations

Kilrush is shrouded in mist as we ready to leave for the ferry.

The Kerryman today…

January 27, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, creative writing, events, organisers, participants, preparations, starting up, workshop

There’s a nice report today in The Kerryman newspaper. The message seems to be :

Get your booking for a writer’s workshop in early this year: unprecedented demand for places.

Michael Lynch, chairman of Writers’ Week Listowel organising committee, encourages you to book now.

LWW Takes a Great Leap Forward for 2010

January 20, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, blogs, connections, events, historical, organisers, preparations, Reflections, starting up

Today Listowel Writers’ Week joined the new world. The Festival published its revamped website, which looks great.

But it had a good website last year.

The great leap forward is the simultaneous launch of its Facebook page and Twitter identity. This change is significant. It’s just in time for the 40th anniversary of LWW Literary Festival. I’ve immediately sent a request to be admitted as a Facebook Friend.

In my opinion, it would have been better if the Festival set up its Facebook presence differently – made it possible to become a “Facebook Fan” of Writers’ Week. But the big step it to get out where the public is.

The Festival is in Listowel for a few days every year, but there is a whole world of people who can’t make it to Listowel. There are so many who would be interested to know what’s going on. This Facebook presence give everyone a chance of linking up with the spirit of Listowel Writers’ Week. John B Keane and Bryan McMahon would have approved. They always wanted the Festival to break the boundaries of the parochial.

The Twitter move is dramatic.
Once you go on Twitter, you have to engage. People follow you, and you can’t afford to ignore them – it damages your reputation if you offer nothing to your followers. You have to tweet. People can see how serious you are about sharing, linking, engaging… Twitter is a medium which exposes a lot of your soul.
As soon as I got alerted to @writersweek on Twitter, I followed. I urge you all to do the same. Nothing will do more to raise the profile of LWW, all round the world, than a really good presence on Twitter.

It’s still not clear to me what this blog’s plan for LWW2010 is to be.
We are completely independent of the Festival Committee. We love the Festival. We’d love the Committee to love us, but we have no right to expect it. During 2009 Festival, the organising committee were civil to us. But if they liked anything we did, they didn’t let us know.

I have huge emotional attachment to Listowel Writers’ Week Festival.
It would be wonderful to continue to blog it again. I am completely convinced that all Festivals that are any good should be blogged. It’s all about making the hard work of organising the Festival visible to the audience of the future. All valuable Festivals deserve to be out there, reaching round the globe.

We’ve heard a lot about the Irish Diaspora, what about the Listowel Writers’ Week Diaspora?

This is surely a day for celebration. May the Fesitival of the Future be a credit to the joyful spirit of its founders…

Is there any news about LWW2010?

October 27, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, historical, organisers, preparations

Or is it all under wraps… in committee?

Does everyone know that LWW10 will be number 40?

It means that the planners must be wondering how they can mark the occasion fittingly. It’s not as if there hasn’t been enough time to prepare for it.

No one’s approach this blog to see if we’ll be live for the 2010 Festival. That doesn’t surprise me because no one from the committee approached the blog during 2009. No one official contact – imagine.

It was as if we the bloggers were the elephant in the room.

I bet there are loads of ideas out there concerning how the 40th anniversary should be celebrated. The challenge is how to let others contribute their goodwill?

These are the kind of issues that cause the passion of bloggers to be engaged. If LWW doesn’t get it’s act together and engage with bloggers, what will bloggers do?

Answer: they’ll chatter about myopia on Twitter. It’s the world we live in now – so different from the locals who set up Listowel Writers’ Week.

The future of literary festivals in Ireland

August 21, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: preparations

Make no mistake about it, there are people in high places planning to cut public funding for literary festivals.

It’s an issue we have no interest in ignoring. All of us who’ve enjoyed Listowel Writers’ Week better not take it forgranted that LWW2010 will go ahead as before.

It may. I don’t know anything about the financing of LWW09, so I have no idea how dependent it was on public funding.

Right now there are plans to cut everything. If you have any influence, I hope you are using it to ensure LWW10, the 40th, will be the best ever.

Bloggers have been on summer holiday in Limerick, staying in UCH

August 16, 2009 By: ana Category: audio podcast, blogs, connections, preparations

We’ve been resting & recovering in Limerick with some Summer Music on the Shannon.

It’s been just like the Riviera. Crowded, hot, exciting and exhausting…

We’ll need a holday to recover from living with people from so many countries. Limerick has become a cosmopolitan place. Visitors from Canada, USA, Japan, Norway, UK, Spain, Italy, Kildare, Germany… and so on.

Like any hothouse there has to be a common language. It’s been music.

If you want to find out more about how hot Limerick’s been, try this link – when you have time on your hands.

We look forward to resuming normal service here soon – when we’ve recovered. Rest assured, we’ve been telling them in Limerick all about Kerry.

[One thing for sure, we hope Listowel Writers’ Week 2010 – the 40th festival – will be live streamed – broadcast live on the internet. After what they did in University Concert Hall, it should be possible…?]

U-Tube Video Footage: Driving to Listowel Writers’ Week

July 13, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: photographs, preparations

Driving a car to Listowel for Writers’ Week…

I swear it wasn’t me driving the car or shooting the video.

Sean Lyons: winner of Strokestown poetry competion 2009 performed

June 11, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: events, historical, organisers, participants, poem, poet, preparations

Historic records will say Michael Lynch introduced Gabriel Byrne who opened Listowel Writers’ Week 2009.

But those of us who were there know another story…

Before 745 pm, the room was jammers. People were turned away at the door. It was Sean Lyons from Kerry, winner @Strokestown International Poetry Festival 2009 of

The Percy French Prize for witty – possibly topical – verse

who was first to speak. The vital, warm-up act, stilling the crowd.

And with what did Sean Lyons, member of Listowel Writers’ Week (organising) Committee strive to quell the cacophony of conversation in Listowel Arms Hotel ballroom?

A gong? A shout? Tinkling of a glass?

No.

A poem… no ordinary poem… his winning poem from 2009 Strokestown Poetry Festival. [Even that didn't shut the crowd up.]

Thank you Sean. We are privileged to publish it here, in all its glory…

A middle aged man goes shopping for trousers

I went shopping for trousers the other day.
Though I’m not getting any taller
The waist band on the present slacks
Is definitely getting smaller.
I don’t like shopping as a rule
I find shop assistants snotty
And I feel a tad embarrassed
When they measure my once taut botty.
‘Does Sir dress to the left or right?’
One asked me like a riddle.
When you get to my age, son, I said
‘You leave it in the middle.’
‘Upstairs, sir,’ he remarked,
‘Is for the more ample figure.’
And as I climbed the cursed steps,
I swear I heard him snigger.
I made a super human effort
To hold my beer belly gut in
But even I could not deny
The pressure on the upper button.
The salesman here was another one,
With muscles trim and hard
I cursed again the Mayo cuisine,
The black pudding fried in lard.
I cursed as well the drinking days
When with other knaves and fools,
Instead of running around racing tracks

We vegetated on high stools.
We drank our pints and placed our bets on the races on the telly
Totally oblivious to the time bombs
I was placing in my belly.
Time bombs yes, you heard me right
That clung to my hips like rubber
And reappeared in middle age
As great big blobs of blubber.
By now my face was turning puce
From holding in my breath
When the salesman produced his inch tape
And gave my pride the kiss of death.
‘A forty two sir, I suppose,
Could do you at a pinch.’
With bravery above the call,
I sucked in another inch
But the inch tape doesn’t lie.
It’s much more honest than me
The salesman did a final check,
‘We’ll say a forty three.’
‘A forty three it is,’ says he,
I didn’t say a meg.
He muttered then as he rubbed his chin,
‘We’ll take six inches off the leg.’
The trousers bought, the next dread thought,
Was more than I could bear.
Through gritted teeth, I asked me man:
‘Where’s the underwear?’
That grin again, it crossed his chin,
With the tiniest of flickers.
‘Would Sir prefer the traditional style,
Or this season’s thongs and knickers?’
‘I’ll try the thongs,’ says I, ‘bedad.’
His face paled with the shock.
He handed me a piesheen of silk,
Thin as the second hand of a clock.
”What’s that?’ I cried as I looked down,
At the sliver in his hand.
‘It gives support in work and sport,
For today’s more active man.’
‘Where I come from, young man I said,
We ate butter and drink milk.
And our smalls are made of cotton blend,
Not lace or puncy silk.
And this is more of it as well,
Like miles and pounds and punts
If the Lisbon Treaty’s ever passed,
They’ll ban string vests and Y fronts.
And one thing more,’ I said,
My voice was getting louder.
‘You can keep your under arm deodorant,
I’ll stick with talcum powder.
It served me well in courting days,
Like hair spray and nylon ankle stockings
And I don’t have to take your guff
Or your not so gentle mockings.
So, take your trousers, sir,’ I said,
‘And your fancy fol der dols,
No garment from this shop,
Will ever chafe my walls.’
And with that, I turned my back,
And went down the stairs again,
My heart was light, I was right
Because inside I know I’m thin
But self delusion soon gave way
I realised with dread
I’d gone straight from baby fat
To bloody middle age spread.
The lads were right, their inch tapes true,
No lies, no tittle tattle.
As I left the store, I knew for sure.
The bulge had won the battle.

We have “Tag Clouds” coming to this blog

June 08, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, preparations, starting up

Like me, most of you won’t know what this means.

Would someone who understands the term “tag cloud”, please explain to us all what having “tag clouds” will mean?

What value to listowelwritersweekfringe.com are “tag clouds”?

The first time I went into J B Keane’s pub in Listowel in 2009

June 06, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, localinfo, novels, participants, preparations, storytelling

I wasn’t looking for drink, I was looking for company.

The woman from the Vodafone shop was sorting out a dongle for me. I had to wait, pass the time somewhere, and J B’s is only across the road.

This was mid afternoon on Wednesday 27 May.

Alone I went in, wondering what would be going on. From previous experience, I suspected there would be something up. I might even interrupt Billy Keane in song or story.

Pushing open the door, I looked round the pub, hardly anyone there. First thought was where to put myself so that I could watch & overhear conversations?

The man in the corner caught my eye. He wouldn’t let go of it. Insisted I sit down with his friends, Sean Devine & Paula Tormey. I know their names because I took out my book, said I’d outsourced my memory to it, and took notes.

[I did this all through Writers' Week.]

Bert Griffin pointed me to his friend Tony Guerin, who wasn’t in the pub. On the wall was a poster advertising a play written by him. He said Tony’s novel, Tomorrow is a lovely day, would be launched on Saturday @1300.

You’ll not meet a more engaging man this week…” (Bert’s words on Tony, I scribbled).

I can’t remember what I drank, so I guess it wasn’t a pint of Guinness.

They were good to me, those three. I found out the J B Keane anniversary mass was @ 1030 on Saturday. I thought of going to pay my respects, and because I’m a bit of an anthropologist.

For the first time, I met Mary Keane, John B’s widow, from Castleisland, came to Listowel 54 years ago, 1955. Took this photograph of Mary & Bert.

dsc02903

I met a couple who’d driven from Greystones, near Dublin, to be at a performance of Sive, and said it was worth every mile.

I found out Brendan Kennelly and Matt Munroe had both been London bus conductors, like me.

And then Bert invited me to his house for steak…

Amazing, astonishing, bloodyfantastic, hypermarvellous, superphenomenal, eh.

I had a short vigorous time with them in Bert’s house. I left Grace’s [my 3.9 year old treasure] car seat there when I drove them all back into Listowel in time for the opening ceremony. Grace’s seat is still there.

If there’s anyone driving from Listowel to Cork soon, please contact me, so I can ask you a small favour…

That’s meant to be a flavour of the life to be had in Listowel during Writers’ Week.


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