This year, the Seán Dunne Writer’s Festival was down to three days and despite an interesting programme, with limited advance publicity, it failed to bring in the numbers for some of its events. There was no rival festival so the organisers must take stock and bang the drum a lot louder and longer and at some events I attended the writing community were conspicuous by their absence.
The Mayor Cllr.John Halligan, opened the Festival and John Byrne, author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas gave the keynote address in the Large Room. Ciaran Hodgerts won the prestigious €2,000 National Award, Killian O’Flanagan won the National Junior Award for poetry. The local winner was Shannon O’Reilly from King’s Channel and she is now the third member of her family to win this award.
At the Literary Breakfast I met poet Michael Coady and local writer Eibhear Walshe where Pauline McLynn star of Shameless and Father Ted delighted the gathering.
A new event in the Library where writers of scripts got a rehearsed reading with actors got a large attendance but the work had too many clichés for me and some work was under five minutes and seemed no more than predictable sketch material. I did like Fan Mail by Derbhille Dromey and think she has the spark. Alan Cliff of Push Pull ran the seminar workshops to facilitate this event. The actors were Jane Hilliard, Claire Smith, Peter McKenzie Brown and Liam Doyle.
The WIT student exhibition to celebrate Seán Dunne impressed at Greyfriars with fine work from Dayna Quilty and Martin Reilly. I missed the Critics Discussion because they changes the venue and despite advertising Twitter and Facebook, I got not a tweet, a face message nor a phone call.