Saturday 10 December 2016

Village shows it's got the write stuff for booklovers

Mark Hilliard

Published 20/06/2011 | 05:00

IF you're looking for some novel advice on how a community might help itself through recessionary times then take a leaf from this book.

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In picturesque Dalkey in south Dublin, a village has transformed itself and exploited one of its most common local resources -- writers.

Yesterday evening marked the closing chapter of the second annual Dalkey Book Festival with a final round of talks from some of the country's most celebrated scribes, many of whom are based in the village.

In all, there were 3,000 ticket sales for 70 writing events over three days in 20 of the village's most intimate venues -- cafes, pubs, schools, even wine shops -- nothing in this idyllic town escaped.

"Everyone in Dalkey is making a fuss out of this festival because no one has ever done anything like this before," said celebrity resident Maeve Binchy from behind a stack of her books in Finnegan's Pub.

"I think this kind of thing brings people back together. It helps people refocus and everyone in the town has been so helpful."

The focus of the event was as much on community life as on promoting literature. It was about local businesses coming together and gathering around a common passion.

The event is run by a not-for-profit organisation and volumes are not forced into the hands of passers-by.

"I think (book festivals) are always a good idea," said Roddy Doyle on his way to address a class of national school students.

Visitors to the festival yesterday heard from Sinead Moriarty, Yvonne Cassidy, John Boyne of 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' fame and Sarah Harte, author of 'The Better Half'.

"It's been a phenomenal success and a sell-out," said festival director Sian Smyth.

Irish Independent

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