Former bookseller Sheila O’Reilly is helping to launch a new literary festival, 'Dingle Lit', on the Dingle Peninsula this November.
The inaugural Dingle Literary Festival will run from 22nd to 24th November, to "celebrate and enhance the cultural life of the Dingle Peninsula,” organisers said. “It is a new, inclusive and accessible festival for adults and children focused on the literary arts – fiction, poetry and non-fiction in English and Irish – and delivered through readings, workshops and performance.”
Also known as 'Dingle Lit', the event will take place across Dingle, Ballyferriter and various venues in West Kerry, in the southwest region of Ireland, and is set to run over five years. There will also be an award accompanying the festival, the Dingle Crystal Book of the Year.
O’Reilly, former owner of Dulwich Books, told The Bookseller: “While there are many festivals taking place on the Dingle Peninsula, none are dedicated solely to showcasing books, authors and readers. Our idea is to create a festival celebrating Irish authors and books on the Dingle Peninsula so that readers and book lovers don’t have to travel to see their favourite authors.
“We are bringing the authors to the readers in what we believe is the most westerly book festival in Europe. Already confirmed is Irish Times and Guardian journalist Fintan O’Toole along with other major Irish authors and we will be hosting a book club discussion via Skype between Dingle Library and Hampden Library in Western Massachusetts for Felicity Hayes McCoy’s book: The Transatlantic Book Club."
There will also be creative writing workshops and events in Irish as well as English.
The organisers said they are committed to setting up a literary festival that is inclusive for everyone in Kerry and have committed to paying all the authors and facilitators, with all committee members acting as volunteers. “We aim to curate events that appeal to all of society and embraces the community,” they said. All funds generated by the festival will go towards organising and promoting the festival.
Major sponsors already on board are Dingle Skellig Hotel, Benners Hotel, Dingle Crystal and Dingle Tourism Alliance. Meanwhile the festival board has also launched a ‘Founders Programme’, inviting individuals to support the festival with a minimum of €1,000 either through a one-off donation or to spread the donation over the first five years of the life of the festival.