Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene
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The Plan for Blogging #LWW10

May 14, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, historical, starting up, video, workshop

This is the news. We are going to blog this Festival – the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival 2010.

From now on there will be fresh content here almost every day. During the Festival, there will be a blogfest – a stream of posts. We intend to do our best to bring you some of the flavour of Writers’ Week – no matter where you are.

This is the 40th year of the Festival. The founders would expect us to share the goodies with the whole world – not simply keep the excitement in Listowel.

Of course, there’s no way to capture the atmosphere of Listowel during Writers’ Week and export it. You need to be in the bars, on the streets, at the workshops soaking it all up. But not everyone can do this. There are people all over the world who can’t travel to Co Kerry Ireland at the start of June. Some can’t afford it. Others are not well enough to make the journey. Others have other commitments. There’s no end to the reasons why most people won’t be in Listowel.

However Listowel can reach out wherever the internet goes. We can write reports and analysis of the proceedings. We can bring you news and gossip. We can put up podcasts – audio recordings (and the technology has made this much easier this year). Even video is coming …

Help us. Please give us a hand. Lend us your time & talent.
We’re about to publish the names of people who’ve volunteered to be in the team that’ll produce this publication. An email, postcard, Tweet, Facebook message – even a phone call will do.

Wouldn’t it be great if each of the literary workshops got someone to report on how it went – the feast of content we’d have for posterity.
How good would it be if we could get each of the tutors to offer us a short piece – in their own individual style?
Posterity matters – the legacy of Listowel Writers’ Week deserves to be honoured. We’ll do our best for you.

Behind the scenes on LWW Fringe blog

April 14, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, starting up

Spam… the bugbear… we have a heap of spam comments piled up. It would be great to delete them all.

Because this is a labour of love (something from which we earn no income) it’s not easy to sort this problem.

The Festival is coming. It will be on us before we know it. It was about this time last year when we launched the blog. I hope we’ll publish a steam of posts before #LWW10 kicks off on 2 June.

Would you like to contribute content?
The Festival has so many aspects to it… We’ll publish all sorts of stuff around Listowel Writers’ Week. The people who go to Listowel for the workshops, literary events and publife have many interests.

This blog is here to pay honour to the wonderful tradition of the Festival. This is, after all, the 40th year. Get in touch with a comment. We’ll be reading them all, and responding.

Plans for blogging 2010 Festival

March 06, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, starting up

On Friday, I met up with Jeremy Gould in Cork. We talked over the options for Listowel Writers’ Week 2010.

We had to consider whether we’d continue this blog for another year? We’re in touch with Patrick Stack of course. The three of us are keen to publish this blog again for the 40th anniverary festival, at the start of June.

We are planning. This means imagining how we’ll do it. Most importantly, how shall we involve others?

We intend to invite others to join us.
We’ll do our best to set up a team of people – so that the workload won’t be too much for anyone. We’re going to draft in invitation – so that people can see whether they’d like to help keep this blog going.

Please get in touch if you’d like to help in any way.

Video footage from Listowel Writers’ Week 2009

March 06, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: participants, poem, poems, poet, poetry, Song

Gabriel Byrne & taxi driver

George Rowley sings

Pauline Fayne reads “Carol

John McCarthy reads

Two doves mating

At the same time as Listowel…

June 12, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: competition, connections

Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival (28-31 May)

25th Goldsmith International Literary Festival

28 May 2009 – 31 May 2009

Carlsberg Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

28 May 2009 – 01 Jun 2009

Glen of Aherlow Walking Festival

29 May 2009 – 01 Jun 2009

DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY ARTS FESTIVAL (22-30 May)

PERTH FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
21 – 31 May 2009

SWALEDALE FESTIVAL
23 May – 6 June 2009

THE GUARDIAN HAY FESTIVAL
21 – 31 May 2009

WORDFRINGE
1 – 31 May 2009


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.

Watch out Listowel Writers’ Week – here comes West Cork Literary Festival

June 05, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: competition, connections, creative writing, events, localinfo, organisers

Coming up on the inside lane, is a cheeky Literary Festival…

Why do I call it “cheeky”?

According to Ruth Flanagan, Cork County Librarian:

“The West Cork Literary Festival can now, with some justification, be regarded as Munster’s premier literary festival.”

Does she not know Kerry is in Munster?

Does she speak with the arrogant justification of a West Corkonian?

Does she only say this because she works for Cork County Library Service?

Or might she have a pint?

We’ll return to this issue in due course.

I just want to flag it up, so that you can take a look at what they are offering & compare it with Listowel Writers’ Week.

I’d like to publicly invite Ruth Flanigan [who’s responsible for publishing my first short story, “The Ring” in Bealtaine Short Story Competition 2006] to come on here and support her contention.

It would be wonderful to welcome her on here, wouldn’t it?

If anyone knows Ruth Flanigan, please let her know of the invitation.

It would be a fine opportunity for her to market West Cork Literary Festival 2009.

It runs in Bantry, from Sunday 5 July – Saturday 11 July, so it is a ‘full’ week.

One aftermath of Listowel Writers’ Week

June 03, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, events, organisers, participants, poet, preparations, starting up

There can be no one aftermath.

I sat upstairs in the English Market this afternoon, going back through my “Moleskine notebook (lined).

I used a green highlighting pen. Put names in hand-drawn boxes, and circles around intentions. Every time I carry through something I planned, I give myself a big tick (fulfilling my bottomless love of positive feedback).

I put the date on every page, the place I was, the time…

Now it looks like a live animal.

I’d forgotten how rich the notebook became during Writers’ Week. There are drawings and prose contributed by others – people willing to take up my book and mark the page.

I was incredibly excited going to Listowel.

I was incredibly tired leaving for home. The journey to and the road home are part of my LWW09 experience.

First Moleskine entry reads

Listowel Arms Hotel @ 1450 on Wed. 27 May.

  • Booked in to the hotel (put name on list) for 2010
  • The family manage the hotel between them.
  • Met George Rowley & James McGrath sitting in bar.
  • George’s story of mental illness [all in his book]
  • Met Colm Toibin, told him of blog – he listened, I shook his hand.

The last entry [43 pages, 4 days & 4 hours later] reads:

M Sweeney – reading with…

The End.

For me now, the challenge is to walk the space between being an archivist (valuing the Moleskine as a document of record) and an artist (stretching, moulding & sculpting the Moleskine, so that it reaches out to the imagination of others).

I’m a hoarder and long-winded. I talk&write and write&talk and sense&listen.

I wonder how others are processing the experience?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people who read this immediately write a comment & share insight into the joy of ending

- flashing on the inward eye… (pardon me William Wordsworth)

A little bird told me

May 28, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: participants

A crowd of oddballs who descend on the town going around with folders looking up at the sky” – how the ordinary town dweller views the attendees at Writers’ Week!

Jung Chang checks in

May 28, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: novels

I’m seated on the sofa just beside the lifts in the reception area of the Listowel Arms Hotel because it is comfortable, there is good wireless reception and a wall socket to recharge the PowerBookG4 as I blog. I look up from what I’m typing and spot Jung Chang walk past into the lift – she is wearing a smart chocolate brown coat and has a small suitcase with her. She has just checked in.

She is giving a reading this evening at 7.00 in the hotel – that’s just under 4 hours away. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend as I am heading out to Duagh for some dinner and a change of clothes in time for tonight’s Open Mic Poetry session MCed by George Rowley at the Kingdom Bar on Church St.

I’m hoping one of my fellow-bloggers – Paul O’Mahony or Jeremy Gould – can catch her reading.


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