Tuesday 27 September 2016

Overheard at Listowel Writer’s Week… Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín, Nick Laird, Dennis Lehane

Geraldine Gittens

Published 31/05/2015 | 14:24

Listowel Writer's Week
Listowel Writer's Week

Listowel Writers’ Week - currently in its 44th year - hosted Irish literary heavyweights like Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright and Nick Laird, and Irish American author Dennis Lehane, who offered their advice on writing, and/or life itself, to captive audiences.

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Here’s a sampling of what the masters said:

1. “One of the reasons I write is I like being surprised” - Anne Enright, writer of The Gathering and The Green Road

2. “I write the poem that I want to read, every poet does that” - Nick Laird, poet and novelist.

3. “The main obstacle to writing is oneself. Forget about yourself” - Christine Dwyer Hickey, writer of eight novels including Tatty, and The Lives of Women

4. “A poet is like a shark. It has to keep moving or it dies” - Nick Laird, on changing to new styles, from poem to poem.

5. “We all have big fat imaginations, we just suppress them” - Christine Dwyer Hickey

6. “In Irish families, there is a list of things you don’t talk about. The problem is, the list is on the list” - Dennis Lehane (staff writer for HBO’s The Wire, and author of ten novels including Shutter Island, Gone Baby Gone)

7. “People who come to Listowel are interested in writing, not just reading” - Christine Dwyer Hickey

8. “It is the mission of this festival to celebrate the dreaming mind. The freedom to imagine - of both the reader and the writer. Since writers live in the shadows and work in silence, we have invited them into the light for a moment” - Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn and Nora Webster

9. “Your word [was] your bond. Everyone meant what they said and they said what they meant” - Dennis Lehane on growing up in Dorchester, Boston.

10. “She never ever lost the idea that she was going to write her book. She worked on the text that she brought to Listowel, and when she was very disabled, Sue Leonard came in to help her complete it” - Anne Enright pays tribute to the late right-to-die campaigner, multiple sclerosis sufferer, and writer, Marie Fleming, to whom she taught a writing workshop at a Listowel Writers' Week

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