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Quote of the Week

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven".

George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

16/07/2012

I attended the West Cork Literary Festival for the first time. Now in its 15th year, the week long-event is held in the lovely town of Bantry, at the southernmost tip of Ireland. A large mountain serves as a backdrop, while out to the front of the square, the waters of Bantry Bay come lapping up to the very edge of the town.

Each day is filled with workshops; talks; interviews with famous and successful writers; music sessions and an 'Open Mike', where poets and aspiring writers are allowed ten minutes to read their work to an appreciative audience of around 130, in a room above the Mariner's bar. The big events, with star authors, takes place in the Maritine hotel a few doors away. The room there holds around 300 people and is sometimes sold out: as it was on Thursday evening for Sir Michael Parkinson. Late on Wednesday night, Nobel poet laureatte, Seamus Heaney, was prominent in the singing session.

Best-selling American novelist, Anita Shreve attracted a crowd of almost 280. I took the 'Open Mike' and agreed with her comment that a writer has to have the courage to put on paper what they believe is essential to the story, even tho' it means hurting the feelings of people close to them. Afterwards, I helped her down from the stage and had my photograph taken presenting her a signed copy of "No Love Here".

Another venue used by the Festival is the local library. It was there that I met renowed author Dermot Healy, Glenn Patterson from Belfast and the delightful Belinda McKeown now living in New York. I presented copies of "No Love Here" to all three authors, and had the mandatory photograph taken. Later that day, Dermot gave me as signed copy of his latest novel, "Long Time, No see".

A bonus for me on this occassion was to meet Dermott healy's wife Helen and to discover that she was a native of Corballa, a few miles from my beloved Enniscrone. We both knew many of the same people from the area.

My only regret is that I had not attended the Festival before now.

 

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