One thing which struck me about the writers featured in Thursday's programme at the 2013 Cúrt International Festival of Literature was the blend of established writers and younger up-and-comers. Writing workshops were conducted in the morning -- one a fiction workshop led by Keith Ridgeway, and the other a poetry workshop led by Leanne O'Sullivan. I think this is a big part of what makes Cúirt so special -- talented writers helping to cultivate the next crop of great Irish writers.
The afternoon highlight, in my opinion (and perhaps the highlight of the day), was the "Over the Edge" showcase held at the Town Hall Theatre. Four younger up-and-coming Irish writers were given the stage, each one being allotted a 15-minute slot of time to read a segment of a short story they had written. I was impressed, to say the least, with all four. Be on the lookout in the future for these names in Irish literature: Eimear Ryan, Damien Cunniffe, Dearbhaile Houston, and Hugo Kelly.
Jackie Mac Donncha and Maidhc Danín O'Sé were the authors featured in this evening's Irish language event. I am thrilled that Cúirt sees the wisdom in having literature from the Irish language included as part of the programme. This is in keeping with the genuine Galway experience as Galway tends to be a cradle for the language and traditional culture.
Finally, the "main event," I suppose, was fiction writer, Edna O'Brien, in conversation with Vincent Woods. Ms. O'Brien is a writer loved by many, and she received a standing ovation to close out the night.
As with most festivals in Galway City, the place is just abuzz with activity and the craic. Things will really swing fully into gear as the weekend is now upon us. I'll have some notes about Friday's festival lineup at the close of the day tomorrow.