Waterford writers weekend events annnounced

Playwrights past and present to be profiled

 Rosie Flynn (5), from Mahon Bridge, Co Waterford, at the Waterford Writers Weekend launch at Waterford City Library. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Rosie Flynn (5), from Mahon Bridge, Co Waterford, at the Waterford Writers Weekend launch at Waterford City Library. Photograph: Patrick Browne


A celebration of Waterford’s literary talent and the city’s history and sense of place as it celebrates Waterford1100 are central themes of the fourth Waterford Writers Weekend, details of which have been announced.

Taking place from March 20th to 23rd, this year’s event celebrates writing in all its forms with many genres of novel, plays, poetry and even the process of writing an opera all featuring on the bumper programme.

The life and work of Waterford playwright Teresa Deevy is a highlight. Alongside Lady Gregory, Christine Longford and Maura Laverty, Deevy was one of only four Irish women whose work was consistently staged by the Abbey and Gate theatres between 1890 and 1980. Her work will be discussed in a special talk by UCC lecturer in English Dr Eibhear Walshe, including the fact that for all of her adult life Deevy was profoundly deaf. Deevy will also be the subject of an exhibition in Waterford’s central library entitled Teresa Deevy: The Playwright Restored . Special collections librarian Barbara McCormack will tell Deevy’s remarkable story through a selection of items from the Deevy archive, housed at NUI Maynooth. The exhibition will include Deevy’s personal correspondence with eminent Irish figures such as artist Jack B Yeats, director Lennox Robinson and renowned critic Frank O’Connor; theatre programmes, typescript drafts and published plays.

Poet Mark Roper and composer Eric Sweeney, whose new opera The Invader will receive its premiere at Waterford’s Theatre Royal in May as part of the Waterford1100 celebrations, will discuss their collaborative process with producer Joan Dalton. The special event, at Greyfriars Gallery on Friday, March 21st, will include a live performance of short sections from the opera.

Jim Nolan, whose latest play Dreamland is running at Garter Lane, will himself take to the stage for an in-depth interview on his early work and influences. Arts columnist Pat McEvoy will trace the career development of the Waterford-born playwright right up to the staging of Dreamland and illustrate the discussion with his own research. Key scenes from a variety of plays will be dramatized by actors and audience interaction will be invited.

Crime writer Raymond Chandler, whose mother was from Waterford and who spent time locally with his Thornton family relatives, will be the subject of a talk by Fintan J Power. Irish Book Award-nominated author Jane Casey will discuss what makes a great crime novel and how she writes the bestselling Maeve Kerrigan series. Alex Barclay, author of the DI Luchessi novels and the special agent Ren Bryce series, will preside over a crime-writing workshop.

Local writers and storytellers will be invited to tell their own “memory stories” at the Central Library onMarch 23rd. The stories, which must be submitted in advance, will be selected for performance at the event, published on writing.ie and submitted to the National Archive.

Local historian Pat McCarthy will tell the story of Waterford in 1914 at a talk in the Medieval Museum. Author Brian Cregan will reveal how he succeeded in blending fact and fiction to make history come alive in Parnell A Nove l which was launched last autumn.

The Waterford1100 milestone is reflected in a creative writing workshop for 9-11-year-olds with Alan Early, creator of the bestselling Viking -themed Arthur Quinn series. Writer Kevin Stevens and illustrator Sheena Dempsey will reveal how their popular books The Powers came to be at an invited event for schools. Families and young children will enjoy Old Father Story by Cork Circus. Young adult novelist Claire Hennessy will conduct Teen Writes, a workshop for teenagers on brainstorming and writing. Waterford Youth Arts will present Here and Now , a collection of poetry about Waterford offering a unique and fresh perspective on what it means to be a young person from Waterford in 2014. Irish Times contributor Gemma Tipton will host a talk for young people and anyone interested in the arts, culture and criticism on how art matters and how to communicate about arts and culture.

The Seán Dunne Young Writers’ Awards will make a welcome return with founder of The Inkwell Group, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, confirmed as the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony. Ms O’Loughlin will also present a workshop on how to get published.

Literary translator and writer Petra Kindler returns with a one-woman comedic performance in Seriously Now! Other writers on the programme include mountaineer Pat Falvey; Dr John Sharry (on achieving a work/life balance); Catherine Dunne, author of The Things We Now Know ; Fiona Doyle, author of Too Many Tears ; and poet Stephen James Smith.

Established in 2010, Waterford Writers Weekend celebrates the craft of writing and creativity in all ages. Visit waterfordwritersweekend.ie for further information.