After all the planning, anticipation and excitement, our 3rd annual Wexford Literary Festival is now over. I’ve had a few days to reflect about what was our most successful festival to date.
The sun shone all weekend, yet writers, readers and industry professionals, all came to Enniscorthy, forsaking the beach, giving us full houses for all events. Our attendees travelled from all over Ireland, UK and the US. And one or two even came from Wexford!
Our artists of spoken word and song, gave us an evening to remember in the Presentation Arts Centre on Friday evening. A wonderful way to open the festival.
We trended on Twitter most of Saturday, hitting no.1. in the afternoon. Check out #WexLitFest to follow all the shared information and photographs, from speakers and attendees.
Our speakers on Saturday, in the Church Institute, shared honest, informative & inspiring advice, which made our attendees laugh and smile in recognition when a shared wisdom struck home. My sincere thanks to Madeleine Keane, Jax Miller,Hazel Gaynor, E.R. Murray, Claire Hennessy, Pat Fitzpatrick, Ava McCarthy, Frankie Gaffney, Catherine Ryan Howard, Ruth Long, Carolann Copland, Andrea Carter, Joan Brady, Cat Hogan, Siobhan Davis, Karen Power,Mary McCauley, Caroline Busher and Margaret Madden. Without our speakers, who gave so generously of their time, we would not have a festival.
We bought books, then had them signed by our favourite authors, from Byrnes Bookstores.
We all fell in love with our young PA’s, who helped run the festival on Saturday – Kate James, Rory Cassidy, Fiachra Busher, Faye Forsey and Caoimhe Busher.
We swelled with emotion for the winners of our 1916 Poem for Enniscorthy and The Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award. Their shocked faces when they won, will stay with me for a long time. Special thanks to John Kelly, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, Lisa Coen, Nuala Stack, Paddy Kavanagh, Maria Nolan and Caroline Busher, for their role in the award ceremony.
1916 Poem For Enniscorthy Award: 1st Place, Maura Clifford, Republic of Enniscorthy, Runners Up, Joe Neal, Rise, Norah Clifford-Kelly, Requiem, Jer Ennis, Rise and Rise Again.
Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award: 1st Place Holly Atkinson, Skunk & Beastie, 2nd Place Judith Wilson, Winter 1963, 3rd Place Lourdes Mackey, Dad’s Lost Soul.
And while it’s often said, believe me when I say this, all shortlisted writers should be very proud, because all were beautifully written.
We drank gallons of coffee and tea as us writerly types are want to do, and shared beautiful food and wine in Alma’s, with friends old and new.
We are a boutique festival and once again the feedback from attendees has been so positive. We will continue to work hard to ensure that our festival remains loyal to its roots – one that supports ALL working authors, who write genre fiction, who are both traditionally published and self-published.
We are passionate about supporting writers and celebrating great books.
I would like to thank Wexford County Council for their ongoing support of the arts in Wexford. Wexford Literary Festival is a not for profit organisation, and we couldn’t operate without their kind sponsorship.
And while I’m on thankyou’s I would also like to acknowledge and thank the tireless, festival committee, who are all volunteers. Their commitment and passion to ensure that the festival continues to grow and succeed is to be applauded – thank you Jarlath Glynn, Maria Nolan, Cat Hogan, Caroline Busher, Paul O’Reilly, Richie Cotter, Cathy Keane and Alison Martin.
It’s been an incredible journey, over the past couple of years and one that I am inordinately proud of. Over the past couple of days, many writers have been in touch, to tell us how inspired they were, how much they learnt from the festival. The ripple effect of festivals like these, are infinite. One writer said to me as she left on Saturday evening, next year, I’ll be back, with my book published. But I want to be sitting on one of your panels. I look forward to that.
Our festival committee have big dreams. Tell your friends and please come back again next year.
On behalf of Wexford Literary Festival my sincere thanks,
Carmel Harrington – Chairperson