World’s Greatest Writers to Converge on Listowel

John B. Keane at home in William Street, Listowell in July 1993. Two of his rarely seen plays will be performed during this summer’s Writers’ Week. ©Photograph: John Reidy 22-7-1993

This year, Listowel Writers’ Week will celebrate its 47th annual  festival and it will be held between Wednesday, May 30th and Sunday, June 3rd inclusive.

Featuring some of the world’s greatest writers, the festival events span five days and showcase the latest ideas in the arts and current affairs, alongside a rich schedule of music, theatre, comedy and entertainment for all ages.

Galaxy of Literary Stars

A galaxy of literary stars will gather to present new work and revisit old favourites.

The National Children’s Literary Festival Programme will feature a host of writers, storytellers and illustrators to give young readers and writers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative.

The festival will be opened by renowned poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill on Wednesday, May 30th 2018 at 8pm.

Cornucopia of Fantastic Events

“The programme this year really does reflect a cornucopia of fantastic events of interest to all readers and writers. I wish I had a Tardis so that I could attend everything on offer! I would urge our visitors to book promptly as I am confident that these events will be booked out early,” said Liz Dunn, chairperson of the festival.

In an age of communication that is increasingly characterised by abbreviated content, Listowel Writers’ Week promotes self-discovery through the long-form, immersive experience whilst offering opportunities for informed conversation and the chance for inspiration to take hold in the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the heritage town of Listowel.

Festival Programme In Brief

Award-winning novelists who will discuss their work include: Edna O’Brien, Colm Tóibín, Margaret Drabble, Anthony Horowitz, Alex Preston, Eimear McBride, Ruth Fitzmaurice, Carlo Gébler, Jon McGregor, Louise O’Neill, Julie Parsons, Alex Barclay, Lidia Yuknavitch, Sally Rooney, Mary Morrissy, Rachael English, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen.

Kerry Group Novelists

Shortlisted Kerry Group novelists Sally Rooney, Lisa Harding, Frank McGuinness, Bernard McLaverty and Paul Lynch will attend opening night at which one of them will walk away with the prize of €15,000.

Shortlisted Pigott Poetry Poets, Sinead Morrissey, Michael Longley and Colette Bryce will attend Opening Night at which one of them will receive the prize of €8,000

Ennis Book Club Event

Listowel Writers’ Week were much saddened to learn that the Ennis Book Club Festival was forced to completely cancel their festival this year due to Storm Emma and it was felt that, as a fellow festival, we should extend the hand of camaraderie and invite them to host one of their cancelled events during our own festival.  As a result, we are thrilled to host a special Ennis Book Club Festival event featuring Sally Rooney and Mary Morrissy on the 31st May.

Importance of Poetry

Recognising the importance of poetry, events will take centre stage featuring Billy Collins, Michael Longley, Colette Bryce, Scarlett Sabet, Caoilinn Hughes, John O’Donnell, Mark Roper and Brian Kirk.

Conversations around Current Affairs and Irish politics will be facilitated by Vincent Browne, Katie Hannon, Michael O’Regan and Rachael English.

The past is to be reimagined and discussed by leading historians and writers including Cathriona Crowe, Fergal Keane, Ciara Breathnach, John Borgonovo and Adrian Dunbar

Rarely Seen John B Keane Plays

Health and wellbeing will feature with events hosted by Professor Ian Robertson and on Friday and Saturday, William Sieghart will bring his famous Poetry Pharmacy to the festival.

Lunchtime Theatre productions will include: Two of Clubs, Fruitcake, My Left Nut and two rarely seen John B Keane short plays, Pure of Heart and Backwater.

Evening Theatre includes: The Good Father; Unforgotten; After Sarah Miles and Rag Man.

A Morning Walk

There will be book launches from Caoilinn Hughes, John O’Donnell, Gabriel Fitzmaurice and James Finnegan.

Art Exhibitions will feature a major showing of current works by Pauline Bewick and illustrative works by Brenda Fitzmaurice

The festival will begin each day with a morning walk and each themed walk will take a different route around the heritage town of Listowel.

Many Free Events

There are many FREE events at Listowel Writers’ Week and these include Wild Voices at The Library in association with the Writer in Resident at Kerry County Council, Anne Marie Ní Churreáin, Poetry Corners, Literary Pub Trails, outdoor poetry readings, a Pop-Up Gaeltacht and a Cúirt Filíochta.

Tickets for all events are on sale on the


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