Children’s Festival Programme 2018


Back by popular demand, Dave Lordan's legendary Words Allowed workshop for teenage writers returns to the festival in 2018 for the eighth year in a row. Designed to build the creative confidence and expressive ability of teenagers with an interest in writing it combines a high-energy workshop approach with talks and Q&A sessions on being a writer in the contemporary world where multimedia technologies and performance writing are assuming more importance alongside traditional book publishing. 

This year Dave will be joined by the fabulous author and facilitator E.R. Murray to help the participants explore and enjoy their creative imaginations for this intense, fun, inclusive and inspirational week. The workshop is open to young people of all backgrounds, identities and abilities. Both teachers are also very experienced in working with young people with special needs. The only requirement is an interest in writing or storytelling of any kind.

Poetry Workshop with Inua Ellams
Saturday 14 July 10.00am | Bantry Library | Teenage Workshop | Age: 14-18 | 15 people max | FREE | Booking is required

Join poet, playwright, performer Inua Ellams for a one-hour workshop. Inua will look at poems that address identity and cultural stereotypes. There is nothing wrong with stereotypes, a lot of the time they are true, the only problem is they present just one side of a person and we are made of a cacophony, a kaleidoscope of thoughts feelings, experiences.

Teenage Reading: The Surface Breaks: Louise O’Neill
Saturday 14 July 14.30pm | St Brendan’s School Hall | €6 | Age: 14+

The Surface Breaks is Louise’s fourth novel and her third for YA audiences. Her second novel Asking For It won Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2015, enjoyed widespread critical acclaim and was one of the most talked-about books of the year. It spent over a year in the Irish top ten book chart. The world premiere of the stage adaptation of Asking For It, produced by Landmark Productions and the Everyman, takes place during Cork Midsummer Festival in June 2018 and then runs in the Abbey Theatre in November. Her debut novel Only Ever Yours won Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and the inaugural Bookseller YA Prize. Film rights have been optioned. Her third novel Almost Love was published by Riverrun in March 2018. Louise lives in Clonakilty, West Cork.

Children's Reading: The Book of Revenge: E.R. Murray
Sunday 15 July 14.30pm | St Brendan’s School Hall | €6 | Age: 8-12

E.R. Murray writes novels for children and young adults as well as short fiction. Her books include The Book of Learning – Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (2016 Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read for Children), The Book of Shadows – Nine Lives Trilogy 2 (shortlisted 2016 Irish Book Awards and 2016 Irish Literacy Association Award), The Book of Revenge – Nine Lives Trilogy 3 (Feb 2018) and Caramel Hearts (May 2016).
Elizabeth lives in West Cork, where she fishes, grows her own vegetables and enjoys plenty of adventures with her dog, Franklyn. You can find out more about Elizabeth on her website, or chat to her on twitter, facebook or instagram.

Children’s Workshop: Fighting Words
Monday 16 July 11.00-13.00 | St Brendan’s School Hall | Age: 8-10 | 25 people max | Free | *** SOLD OUT ***

Monday 16 July 14:30-16:30 | St Brendan’s School Hall | Age: 12-14 | 25 people max | Free | Booking is required

The Fighting Words programme, developed by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love, was brought to Cork by Graffiti Theatre Company in 2017, to support creative writing among children and young adults. During these two-hour workshops, students develop a collaborative story while an Illustrator brings their ideas to life. Their individual tales are taken to our Editor McConkey for publication! The process involves a lot of laughs and draws out the marvellous ideas the students have, with Graffiti’s Writing Tutors supporting their individual development of the story ideas. Find out more about Fighting Words here.

Teenage Workshop: Writing Tropes in YA Fiction with Mary Watson
Tuesday 17 July 10.00am | Bantry Library Free | Age: 14-18 | 15 people max | Free | Booking is required

Love or hate them, there are many tropes that appear frequently in young adult fiction. This workshop explores some recurring themes and motifs, and how they may be useful in a story.

Mary Watson is from Cape Town and now lives on the West Coast of Ireland with her husband and three young children. Highlights of her adult writing career include being awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing in Oxford in 2006, and being included on the Hay Festival’s 2014 Africa39 list of influential writers from sub-Saharan Africa.

Teenage Reading: The Wren Hunt: Mary Watson
Tuesday 17 July 14.30pm | St Brendan’s School Hall | €6 | Age: 14+

Part thriller, part love story, The Wren Hunt is a captivating novel about a girl caught in a battle between two ancient magics will leave readers spellbound.

In other places, the Wren Hunt has become little more than a symbolic chase, a game. But in Kilshamble, an isolated Irish village that grew up around the remains of an open air slaughterhouse, they like to keep things a little more bloody.


Teenage Reading: I Am Thunder: Muhammad Khan
Wednesday 18 July 14.30pm | St Brendan’s School Hall | €6 | Age: 14+

Muhammad Khan is an engineer, a secondary-school maths teacher, and now a YA author! He lives in South London and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at St Mary's. Muhammad takes his inspiration from the children he teaches, as well as his own upbringing as a British-born Pakistani.

Debut author Muhammad Khan has created an exceptional teen voice in Muzna Saleem, who leaps from the pages as she navigates the difficulties of growing up in Britain today, and whose teenage experience is something each of us can relate to whatever our background. The novel shines a light on the anger and confusion caused by conversations around radicalisation, and handles difficult subjects with honesty and sensitivity. I Am Thunder is a thought-provoking and empowering story which will encourage readers to question what they see and hear.

Teenage Workshop: #IamIrish
Thursday 19 July 14.30-16.30pm | St Brendan’s School Hall | Free | Age: 14+ | 25 people max | Booking is required

Inspired by a persisting lack of representation of the Black Irish experience, Lorraine Maher began a journey to uncover and celebrate a more diverse representation of Irish identity, questioning the notions of ‘Irishness’ and what that means for Irish communities today. Since its birth, the project has attracted huge interest capturing the imagination of people in the UK, Ireland and internationally. It has sparked creative conversations and connections far beyond the project and the Black Irish experience. #IamIrish is growing to become a international creative movement which explores perceptions of Colour, Culture, Identity and Heritage and embraces the collective mixed-race experience of Irish heritage in all its diversity.

A Reading & Writing Life
Friday 20 July 14:30 | St. Brendan's School Hall | €6 | Age: 14-18

Join three of the writers from this year’s festival as they chat about how their family heritage and the countries they were born in, grew up in or now live in have influenced them as writers and as readers. Muhammad Khan is a British-born Pakistani writer and teacher. Chibundu Onuzo was born in Nigeria and lives in London. Joseph O’Neill was born in Ireland to a Turkish mother and an Irish father, he grew up in the Netherlands and now lives in the US.


Inspiring young people across Europe to read

As part of our involvement in READ ON our events for young people during West Cork Literary Festival include Creative Writing workshops; Passports events encouraging young readers to reflect on the meaning of citizenship and cultural identity in contemporary Europe, and to discover work by European writers whose family heritage is from other continents; and Blurandevu events where Louise O’Neill, Mary Watson and Muhammad Khan will be interviewed by transition year students from Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí who have completed workshops in how to discuss a writer’s work and interview a writer in public.

READ ON is a 48-month, European project that aims to reignite a passion for reading amongst young people. It is specifically focused on those between the ages of 12 -19. Reading will be one of the key skills that all young people will have to master if they are to succeed in their future working life as well as in their social life and in society in general.

The project is being delivered through 7 partner organisations across 6 EU countries: Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Activities include Reading Programmes, Creative Writing, Interviewing, Literature and Cultural Identity, Graphic Novels, Illustration, Training for Professionals, Audience Development and Multimedia. The project commenced in 2017 and will continue until May 2021.

The Irish component of the project will be delivered by West Cork Music in collaboration with Cork County Library & Arts Service. READ ON is funded by the EU Creative Europe programme and undertaken with the support of the Arts Council.

READ ON stands for Reading for Enjoyment, Achievement and Development of young people. You can find more information at and on our own pages.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The festival website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained within.