Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene

122 recorded pieces from Listowel Writers’ Week

June 02, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: audio podcast, participants, photographs, Song

I’ve come away with about 122 digitally recorded pieces. Patrick Stack also has recordings.

Songs, interviews, personal reflections and reports, extracts from readings…

An archive eh…

History, to quote Billy Keane, who told me he thought what we were doing by blogging was recording history …

["Pub Theatre entertainment can be found in some of Listowel’s finest hostelries during July & August. Tuesday & Thursday nights the place to be is John B. Keane’s Bar featuring the inimitable Billy Keane presenting is distinctive one-man comedy show & Lartigue Theatre Company presenting the works of the great playwright including the famous “Letters” series – Letters of a Matchmaker, Letters of a Successful T.D."]

What am I (what are we) to do with them?

I’m no podcaster but I suspect I shall be before I’ve finished with all these recordings. I have no intention of wasting a drop.

Songwriting @ Listowel: message from Freddie White

May 25, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: participants, songwriting

Thanks for doing this (the blog).

Noticed that you left out the ‘flying by the seat of the pants’ bit in the blurb – !

Last year was my first foray into workshopping, and, after a shaky start, it worked out pretty good – thanks in large part to participants who were really up for it, and produced some very good work.

Inevitably we spilled over into some great sessions in a couple of the locals and inspired by that, this year we’re adding a planned performance of the songs on Friday night.

Nothing like a deadline to light a fire under your bum and anyway a song isn’t complete until it’s played to a live audience. The last morning we’ll revisit and see what worked and what didn’t.

Listowel is a great event and I’m proud and delighted to be part of it. See you all there!

My take on Writers’ Week 2008

May 18, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: historical, participants, workshop

I thought I’d republish the report I wrote on my experience of Writers’ Week 2008 here. The original was posted on my writer’s blog on 11 June 2008. I’ve inserted it below verbatim:


I’ve been so busy since Writers’ week that I haven’t had a chance to post anything at all let alone anything on Writers’ Week 2008. Despite the late hour, I can’t hold back any longer.

I signed up for the Writing a Novel workshop with Carlo Gébler which proved to be a real treat. I found Carlo to be sharp as a needle, concise, precise and funny (in the best sense of the word) and learned an enormous amount in the intense 12 hours we had with him. It was money really well spent. Now it’s up to me to do the (enormous amount of) work necessary to write my novel.

I also got to perform some poetry during the 4 days as follows:

  1. At “Poets’ Corner” on Thursday 29 May 2008 in the Kingdom Bar MCd by the inimitable George Rowley, I had the the privilege of performing “Resurrection” to a packed and highly appreciative audience among which were Rosaleen who was in my Writing a Novel workshop, and Michelene all the way from Mayo. We were also treated to the masterly tin whistle of Barney McKenna of The Dubliners, the wonderful Freddy White, and many poets of all shapes and hues.
  2. At the “Healing Session” in J.B. Keane’s pub on Sunday 01 June. The pub is now run by Billy Keane, J.B’s son. Billy and I were in the same class in St. Michael’s College, Listowel all through our secondary school days. Billy did me the honour of a short introduction to my performance of “Full Moon over America” which I thoroughly enjoyed as there was no microphone to impede me.
  3. I couldn’t miss the Maureen Beasley Memorial poetry event on the Sunday evening in The Mermaids Bar. I knew Maureen who was a very kind person, and who intervened on my behalf the last time I was at Writers’ Week in the mid 1980s when an officious member of the Writers’ Week Committee of the female sex who shall remain nameless (she knows damn well who she is) tried to stop me from performing a couple of poems in Broderick’s Bar (there are little Hitlers everywhere). I performed “Embrace” in Maureen’s memory.

I managed to get to two readings – Pat Boran‘s, and John Banville‘s which was interesting and controversial. Pat’s reading was very moving so much so I saw several members of the packed audience in tears, and I wasn’t far off myself either. Having never read any of John Banville, I was curious to hear him read. He read from his as yet unfinished forthcoming novel contrary to the advice of his publisher as he said by way of a preface to same. I managed to keep my concentration for the entire reading which lasted about 20 minutes and was struck by the acuity and beauty of the language. There followed the usual question and answer session, which finished with a very stupid question by some Unitedstatesian woman about the importance of setting. Having replied that setting was entirely unimportant (as the story could in effect be set anywhere), John then stated that “travel narrows the mind” to gasps from the audience. Well, they were asking for it!

On a more personal note, the few days proved very significant as acquaintance was renewed with Billy Keane after all of 32 years, and with Pat Boran after around 20 years (we can’t decide exactly when was the last time we met). I spent a couple of hours in the company of John F. Deane, Pat Boran and Noel King while they plied themselves with the black stuff and I with sparkling water (I was driving). I also received news of the death of a friend from my University days – the poet Pádraig McGrane whom I hadn’t seen since the early 1980s – which proved to be a shock. I can’t get Páric out of my mind and am trying (vainly for now) to write him a worthy poem.



I finished the poem for Pádraig a few months later.

Workshops: Songwriting with Freddie White

May 14, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: participants, photographs, songwriting, tutors, workshop

The wonderful singer-songwriter Freddie White from Cork is running a workshop on songwriting (click his name & hear him sing).

As the second in our series covering each of the workshops, we look at


  • provide a space for those of you booked on the workshop to say what you hope to get from it.

Anyone have a Freddie White story?

The blurb for the workshop sounds great. Promises it

will capture the essence of lyrical and musical composition. Words and music will be combined in an inspiring, original way.”

If we’re really privileged, Freddie will accept an invitation to write a piece for us before the workshop

Creative Commons License
This work by various authors is licensed under a Creative Commons License.