This weekend (Friday 27th-Sunday 29th May) sees the boutique book festival take place in Enniscorthy for the 4th year running, putting it firmly on the map of Irish literary festivals. Wexford has a wealth of writing talent, from John Banville to Billy Roche, Carmel Harrington and of course Colm Toibín, whose native county features as a backdrop to much of his work. What makes Wexford Literary Festival nice is its size, accessibility and the fact that it's possible to make it to most, if not all, of the events. So here's a rundown of some of the weekend's best events.
Open Mic Night
The festival kicks off with an open mic night in the Presentation Arts Centre in the town, at 8pm on Friday. There'll be author readings, poetry, sketches and singer songwriter performances and it's free entry, so well worth a look.
Crime, YA and Everything in between
Writing the Past
Saturday is when most of the workshops and talks take place, with some great writers and industry experts taking part. If you're up for an early start, take in author Hazel Gaynor's talk on writing historical fiction, at 9am. Selected by the US Library Journal as one the big ten breakout authors for 2015, Gaynor will focus on writing the 19th & 20th century and will cover the "challenges and joy" of the pursuit.
Industry Q & A
At 10.15am new writers might want to drop into the Industry Experts Q & A session. Writers, literary editors and publishers will be there to demystify the publishing world. This session will see succesful writers Claire Hennessy and Carmel Harrington (co-Chair of the festival) answer questions about their writing lives, getting published and everything in between. Sunday Independent literary editor, Madeleine Keane will be on hand with editor Mary Mc Auley and book blogger Margaret Madden, answering questions on all aspects of getting your book over the finish line and to what to do with it next!
Crime Fiction Panel
Over the last few years, Ireland has seen an explosion in crime fiction success. Justifiably billed as the "all-star panel" best selling crime fiction authors Jax Miller, Ava McCarthy and Andrea Carter will share their insights into the dark world of Irish crime fiction writing. On at 3.15, this will definitely be one of the highlights of the weekend.
Doing it Your Way - Self-Publishing
At 4.30 on Saturday you'll get a chance to see what self-publishing is all about, with a a panel of experts who "have successfully navigated their way through self publishing and are here to answer to share their considerable knowledge". This session will give you vital advice on marketing and distributing your self-published work and will also be a great networking event for indie authors.
These are just some of our picks for the Wexford Literary Festival this weekend. Check out the other events on YA fiction, the Colm Toibín International Short Story Award, writing for children and lots more on www.focalliteraryfestival.com where you'll find out prices, places and who's taking part. Enniscorthy definitely looks like the place to be for readers and writers alike, this weekend.
If you are thinking about self-publishing, contact selfpublishbooks.ie for info and advice.