Last week, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Cork Spring Literary Festival in the capacity of official festival blogger. Highly impressed by the list of world-class writers, as well as the programme variety, I set off to Cork city expecting a fantastic festival.
What I didn’t realise was that my expectations would be exceeded.
From the very start, it was clear that this was festival was going to be something special. The organisation was fabulous, with every detail carefully thought out and managed. From the programme to the Facebook updates to the venue (complete with a beautifully decorated stage), every detail exuded the spirit of the festival. This certainly paid off, with packed readings for the festival duration – though this should not have come as a surprise, given the quality of writers in attendance.
Over the course of the festival, the audience were treated to seductive and powerful poetry by Maram al-Masri (Syria), insightful, nature-centric poetry by Zhao Lihong (China’s answer to Seamus Heaney) as well as passionate and exciting readings by Julijana Velakovska (Macedonia), Valerie Rouseau and Kristiina Ehin (Estonia). In addition, there was plenty of home-grown talent such as Leanne O’Sullivan, Gerry Murphy, Dave Lordan, and Patrick Cotter, (it was great to see Pat step out from behind the organisational side and include himself in the line-up) to name but a few. The programme boasted a variety of poetry, prose, book launches, workshops (the haiku workshop that I attended was awe-inspiring), film and the Catch the Moon poetry collective which included a traditional harpist.
But I think what impressed me the most was the atmosphere of the festival – at all times it was friendly, fun, vibrant and respectful. Every member of the Munster Literature Centre staff was extremely welcoming and all of the writers were supportive, attending each other’s events and revelling in the celebration of the written word. The writer’s were also extremely supportive of the festival blog, providing lots of posts – essays, poems, sections of novel, stories, advice – and taking an active interest in its progress.
Coming away from the festival, I felt as though I’d witnessed a great meeting of literary minds – as well as some exquisite performces. I also felt like I’d made lots of friends. Writing can be a lonely business, so meeting and enjoying the talents of other writers is an essential part of keeping the solitude at bay.
I’d rank the Cork Spring Literary Festival as one of the best events I’ve attended in Ireland and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out to see what else is in store.
You can read the full account of the festival on the Cork Spring Literary Festival blog.