Wonderful Waterford Writer’s Weekend warrants watching

Celebrating the art and the craft of writing annually in Ireland’s oldest city, the Waterford Writer’s Weekend kicks off this week.

The literary festival promises a jam-packed programme of events including workshops, readings, storytelling, public performances, panel discussions and art exhibitions.

Running from Thursday until Sunday, it kicks off with a children’s event in City Hall before moving on to The Book Centre for a whistlestop tour of James Joyce’s famous novel in Robert Gogan’s ‘Strolling Through Ulysses!’

Journalist and writer Gene Kerrigan will be one of Friday’s highlights as he speaks to Waterford historian James Doherty about 1916 and his latest non-fiction book The Scrap.

Madeleine Keane will also be in conversation with Carlo Gébler on Friday, who will discuss his book The Projectionist — The Story of Ernest Gébler, which tells the story of his estranged father’s life.

Writer and presenter of The Book Club, RTÉ radio’s Sinéad Gleeson will be in Central Library for a free event on Friday night. ‘Perfectly Formed; The Art of the Short Story’ will also feature Nuala O’Connor, Tom Morris and Waterford native Orla Shanaghy.

A long-term commemorative tribute to the memory of Waterford writer Seán Dunne will also take place on Friday night with the presentation of the Seán Dunne Young Poets’ Award 2016.

The festival was originally known as the Seán Dunne Writers’ Festival (1996-2010) before being renamed. However, the Young Poets’ Award remains an integral part of the Waterford Writers Weekend.

A bumper programme of events will take place on Saturday including free storytelling, arts and crafts and workshops for children. An exclusive preview of Little Bones by Sam Blake will take place on Saturday and Waterford native Eibhear Walshe (The Diary of Mary Travers) will also be speaking with Carlo Gébler.

The highlight of Saturday is expected to be Amnesty International director Colm O’Gorman who will speak at the Greyfriars Gallery between 6pm and 7pm.

The four-day event is organised and run by Waterford City and County Council Library Services and Arts Offices and is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Lucy Aughney from Waterford City and County Library said local people and businesses in the Déise have really got behind the festival.

And she said there is a lot of talent in Waterford.

“We have a local writer’s group doing a Sunday Miscellany-style evening and we’ve two local writers running workshops so we do like to support homegrown talent and give them a platform to show off their craft and teach others about it,” she said.

And as the bid to be crowned European Capital of Culture for Ireland in 2020 heats up, the Three Sisters (Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny) will be hoping to gain momentum as they hold an open mic night in Downes Bar as part of the weekend’s activities. The night will be facilitated by Waterford-born actress Lynda Gough.

The final day of the literary celebration will incorporate a ‘Getting Published Workshop’ and ‘A Workshop for Your Inner Editor’.

TV3’s Andrea Hayes will also speak at a public event about her book A Pain-Free Life. n For a full list of events, or to book tickets: www.waterfordwritersweekend.ie.


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