The 44th annual Listowel Writers Week festival was opened tonight in a warm cosy atmosphere of the Listowel Arms Hotel ballroom. The opening got off to a wonderful start with a classical guitarist and actress Imelda Ryan. Chairperson of the Listowel Writers Week Sean Lyons was at his charismatic best as his recalled his last three years at the helm of the festival, one of his highlights being the visit of President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. The Chairperson then introduced his successor, Mrs. Elizabeth Dunn, who will oversee running of the festival in the coming years.
Guest of honour on the night was Anne Enright, Ireland’s inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction. Anne has won many awards including The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Man Booker Prize. Anne Enright officially opened the Writers’s Week 2015.
In his speech Listowel Writers’ Week President Colm Toibin declared Listowel Writers’ Week mission to celebrate writers and writing.
The Kerry Group Irish Novel of Year Award went to Eoin McNamee for his novel Blue Is The Night.
The Pigott Poetry Prize went to Paul Muldoon for One Thousand Things.
Kerry County Council Creative Writing for Youth Awards were presented to creative kids from all over Ireland in several age categories.
A special award this year The John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Mercier Press was presented to the legendary ‘Vicar’ Joe Murphy, the one and only Administrator of St.John’s Theatre Arts Centre in Listowel. Joe accepted the award and captured the audience with his spellbinding stories of all that is good with life in North Kerry.
It’s promising to be another great festival celebrating written word, arts and culture! For programme of events please refer to www.writersweek.ie.