01.06.11 Deenihan outlines his Vision for Centre of Literary Excellence

Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht today (Wednesday 1st June, 2011) officially opened the 40th Listowel Writers’ Week Festival in the Arms Hotel, Listowel.

2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the Listowel Writers’ festival. This Festival is now established as a valued literary event, with a track record as one of high literary quality with significant and diverse audiences.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Deenihan said, “the 2011 literary programme is more extensive and better than any previous Festival, with more writers, more events, more music, more exhibitions, more discussion, and including, for the first time, a circus element.”

Minister Deenihan went on to say that he recalls in Listowel there were two institutions which fostered and nurtured a love of education and reading. One a school and the other a bookshop.

St Michaels College was a centre of classical learning and a significant number of our great North Kerry writers attended that institution. Along with Flavin’s bookshop in Church Street which provided a wealth of sound reading material for years to the people of Listowel and North Kerry,” the Minister said addressing a capacity audience in the Arms Hotel. Minister Deenihan also outlined his vision to establish a National Centre of Literary Excellence in Dublin.

“I believe that we need to do more for our writers and that is why I am looking at the idea of a National Centre of Literary Excellence. I envisage a place where everyone could encounter writers of the past, engage with writers of the present and encourage writers of the future: a place where our rich literary heritage would be brought to life. A centre that could link with the Seanchaí centre here in Listowel,” said the Minister.
Listowel Writers’ festival draws significant audience numbers with over 9,500 people attending the festival in 2010. ‘This year I am delighted to see the ‘Sunday Miscellany’ programme will again be recording live from Listowel. I’m confident that audiences throughout the country will be treated to the very best of the Listowel Festival,” continued Minister Deenihan.

The Minister acknowledged that the Festival is firmly based in the community of Listowel and congratulated the members of the 1st committee from 40 years ago who were present in the audience. The voluntary committee has ensured that Listowel Writers Festival is well regarded internationally. “The atmosphere in the town during the festival, cultivated by the local people, the participating writers, both Irish and international along with the voluntary committee all combine to make this Festival one of the most significant literary events in Europe,” added the Minister

“The range of events and workshops is impressive, including a programme for children. Indeed, it is these workshops which are at the essence of the festival and in the the Festival’s 40th anniversary, it is clear that the organisers are intent on celebrating in great style, with an ambitious, diverse and engaging programme” concluded Minister Deenihan.


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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