Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene
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Two poems written while Anthony Cronin read

June 29, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, poet, poetry, poets

I sat watching Anthony Cronin & wrote …

Ancient voice
returned to encapsulate,
speak for past and future,
take over the moment
with his contraption for walking
into delicate places.
I see a black jacket, almost velvet,
four buttons on the cuff,
a sag that hangs down from the mouth,
leaving a little chin,
a Miltonic head shape,
huge elephantine ear,
born to hear,
flat against the skull.

Anthony Cronin rests a right elbow,
a forearm, a bottom,
the whole of his weight -
so that his brown shoes
catch a shine between wheels.

God never listens to what you say
so
God is a woman.
The more he reads,
the more the age drops from his eyes
set under brows
that could be clipped
by a woman given to improving
the appearance of her man.

As Anthony Cronin read…

Christopher Reid listens,
no breath stirs,
no blink disturbs
concentration,
even his heart respects Anthony Cronin
so much it slows the blood
to a whisper
unregistering
love.

The hiccup strangles itself before conception,
the saliva stays moist enough
to need no refreshment.
The hands hang like a limp unwound pendulum,
Christopher Reid wraps Anthony Cronin
in attention he learned at the bedside.

Oh, Wow. He blinked…

Campaign for the Right to Blog Listowel Writers’ Week

June 09, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010

Blogger Paul O’Mahony to launch Campaign for the right to blog at the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival, after being attacked by Committee Member on the last day of this year’s Festival.

—- Paul O’Mahony calls on bloggers across the world to support his campaign by emailing the Chairman of Listowel Writers Week – info@writersweek.ie – demanding he be allowed to continue blogging unhindered, and without violence or intimidation.

In an incident that many might have thought only happens in China or Burma, Blogger Paul O’Mahony was attacked verbally and physically as he tried to leave Listowel Writers’ Week. His crime? Doing his work as a blogger, voluntarily and unpaid, seeking to report on a writers’ festival he dearly loves. A full report follows below from a shocked and badly shaken Paul about what happened.

But the big question now is will Paul O’Mahony get an apology from the Listowel Writers Festival Committee? Even more importantly, will he be assured no further action will be taken against him, when going about the business reporting for his blog?

You can help by standing up for the right to blog and getting in touch with the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival and making your voice heard in defense of a brave and courageous member of the blogging community…….

PAUL O’MAHONY REPORT……..

I was on my way out of the Michael Hartnett memorial event at about 2.15pm on Sunday when a cross woman came up to me. She demanded “Have you recorded that session?”

“Yes”, I replied gently – but my heart was starting to beat strongly as I experienced the woman’s anger, the rage on her face.

“Who gave you permission?”

“No one.”

“You are a disgrace. You had no right to do that” – the woman was very agitated and I was nervous.

She reached over and gripped my arm. “How dare you.” Her grip felt fierce. This was in front of at least twenty people including Christopher Reid & Anthony Cronin. I had never met the woman before.

“I’m from the Writers’ Week Committee for 23 years. You are a disgrace. You are not welcome in Writers’ Week.” I felt in a difficult situation: she would not let go of my arm.

“Please let me go. I need to go to Dublin now. I don’t have time to discuss this.”
She still held me – I couldn’t get away from her – and I was expected at Dublin Writers Festival, Abbey Theatre, for the Gallery Press celebration. This was a public confrontation and I felt vulnerable, at risk of doing something stupid like pushing the woman away from me. If I used any force to free myself from her grasp, what might she do to me? It was like being taken hostage in public.

I kept repeating “Please let me go, I have to drive to Dublin.” Eventually, she let me go, and I got out from the crowd into fresh air.

I was shaken, fairly traumatised, shocked. It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had since returning to Ireland after 30 years in UK.

It was like some sort of secret police person tried to arrest & disgrace me – in front of people who’d been to “Two Poetic Voices in Memory of Michael Hartnett“. The incident was terrible. I hope Michael wasn’t bothered by it.
The implications of all this:

I’ve been blogging Listowel Writers’ Week in an open & transparent manner throughout 2009 & 2010. I don’t know the state of Irish law on such blogging. Never have I made a cent from blogging Writers’ Week. It is an act of love as far as I’m concerned. I wish to bring Listowel to the wider world – so that people who can’t be there can share some of the experience I’ve enjoyed so much. Until now. Do I really need permission to use my iPhone to record material I’ll later use for the benefit of Writers’ Week? If I’m breaking a law, what is the penalty? What is due process for taking a case against me? I would be prepared to defend my action in court – and stand in front of the people of Ireland. Have other bloggers been charged with an offence for recording poets?

Contrast that woman’s action with the experience of Dublin Writers Festival. On Sunday evening, Sinéad Connolly, director of Dublin Writers Festival publicly thanked the bloggers, tweeters & facebookers from the stage of the Abbey Theatre – at the final event of Dublin Writers Festival. I was moved by the honour she paid to those of us who do our best to communicate the joy, excitement and creativity of festivals in Ireland. I could not help comparing the two experiences. What do other Irish festivals think of bloggers who publish and broadcast the festival?

Did the woman who said she was from the Listowel Committee represent the Committee? Is her view and behaviour representative of the values, style and policy of Writers’ Week? Today I think of her as a single individual. But I don’t know for sure. I do want an apology. I feel I’m entitled to a public apology from the whole Committee of Writers’ Week – because I want to be assured that the official view and style is completely different from what I was subjected to. I ask the Chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week Michael Lynch to make this clear in public not for my benefit but for the sake of others in future. Bloggers, social networkers, new media people – we won’t go away. This dreadful experience may do some good for the future. I care for the reputation of Listowel Writers’ Week and the future audience for all Irish festivals.

I rest my case.

PAUL O’MAHONY

Photographs of 2010 Festival

June 08, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010

There are 74 snaps by Paul O’Mahony – a set he’s posted on Flickr – you can find a link on the blogroll too.

Only two photos have been edited – and none cropped. Paul’s a real amateur eh?

Google Alert finds Listowel Writers’ Week today

May 22, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010

Bookpaths – bringing together literature & place seem to be quoting from a blurb when it says

“Since it’s inception in 1970, Listowel Writers’ Week has been recognised as the primary event in Ireland’s literary calendar.”

Surely that’s a bit OTT?

How mad is it to have the Dublin Writers’ Festival on at the same time as Listowel? That claims to be “Ireland’s premier literary event”. These sort of claims do no one a service I think. What do you think of that sort of advertising claim?

Just discovered that Dublin Writers’ Festival has a blog too. I left a comradely comment there. Why don’t you do the same- so that together the festivals support each other – spreading the news about how good Ireland is as a place for Festivals.

John Sharry – a mind changer? Coming soon

May 17, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, events, Speaker

Google Alerts are very useful. You can instruct Google to let you know when “Listowel Writers’ Week 2010″ is mentioned anywhere on the internet. Google will find it and you get an email to bring the link to your attention.

Is there a better way to keep in touch with your interests?

Here’s something I found out via Google Alert:

Solution Talk

a doctor, psychotherapist, coach

John Sharry [psychotherapist & coach] at Listowel Writers Week 2010.
John will present a talk on the principles of emotionally intelligent relationships, showing how contentment depends on self-awareness and communication. [Sounds like serious stuff eh? But maybe life-changing, enhancing? ]

This talk will take place in the Arms Hotel, Listowel, Friday 4th June at 4.30pm. See www.writersweek.ie for further details and a full programme of events.

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.

Michelin Guide on Listowel Writers’ Week

April 14, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, connections, events

Michelin Guide says Listowel & North Kerry has a fine literary reputation… (a short piece)

There is a list of 14 places recommended…

Sheila O’Flanigan back in Listowel in 2010

February 03, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, creative writing, tutors, workshop

Sheila O’Flanigan will be running a workshop this year…

Emerging Writer publicises Competitions

February 03, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, blogs, competition

New blogpost from Emerging Writer.

Time to get ready to enter your writing for Listowel Writers’ Week competitions…

Joy of Writing too…

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.


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