THERE was a real sense that something special was taking place in Dundalk on Saturday for the town’s very first book festival which was launched the previous day by Peter Sheridan at Dundalk Institute of Technology.
A book launch, a book swap, a graphic novel fair, interviews and reading by established Irish women writers and crime writers, children’s events, readings and performances and a workshop on how to get published.
On Saturday morning Ferdia Mac Anna, who organized the event, said he was delighted with the enthusiastic response to the idea, as he unpacked the red T-shirts for the many volunteers who made it all run so smoothly.
Then people started arriving at the County Museum for Vanessa O’Loughlin’s workshop: How To Get Published.
People from 16 upwards signed up for the workshop by the best selling author and founder of www.writing.ie .
In the Library nearby the children had their own workshop and a talk by children’s writer Sarah Webb.
Over 20 writers were on the performing list at the 23 Seats café in Crowe Street performing throughout the afternoon.
Jaki McCarrick launched her first book The Scattering at Carroll’s Bookshop and the Graphic Novel Fair was held at the County Museum.
There were readings and interviews with Niamh O’Connor, Declan Burke and Declan Hughes at the Crime Writers session at the Tain theatre which also hosted the Irish women Writers’ evening.
Dundalk Book Festival was a marvelous success.
It might never quite match Listowel Writers’ week or Cuirt, but this is a wonderful start and let’s hope there will be more to follow.