I’ve just had a wonderful Friday night and Saturday down in Enniscorthy at the Wexford Literary Festival, at the invitation of its organiser, novelist Carmel Harrington. I can heartily recommend it for aspiring and working authors. I came down on the Friday by train and stayed in the most wonderful, peaceful guesthouse a short distance from the station, which had the deepest carpets I’d ever had the pleasure of sinking my feet into. If you’re hiking or holidaying or festivalling in the area, I can strongly recommend the Anam Cara Guesthouse for both luxury accommodation at a reasonable price and a lovely hostess for whom nothing was too much trouble!
It was particularly nice because I knew it would be a safe place for me – which after previous experiences (protected post) was a crucially important consideration. All the novelists coming along were people I already knew, or had the pleasure of getting to know, and who wrote genre and not literary fiction. There was no secret door being opened for them, no backslapping or old-boy support, just sheer hard work on their part. Hardworking, successful novelists of every genre who distilled their information into some great panel discussions on the publishing industry (traditional and self), YA, crime and the particular issues faced by debut authors. I was “off duty” and as a member of the audience paid attention to all the points made and learned a lot about all the genres. The panels were well structured, with the moderators always taking care to seek contributions from the other members (No names, but this does not always happen on literary festival panels, as I’ve witnessed!) And it was fun. And there were biscuits!
I can’t possibly name everyone because I will end up leaving somebody out and putting my foot in it, but I had a wonderful time meeting everyone and just relaxing in a supportive and stimulating atmosphere. Well done Carmel for putting such a great package together – something this well run takes work, as I know. I can’t wait to see all you guys again next year!