Roddy Doyle meets young Kerry writers

Kerry Writers' Museum is proving its county-encompassing name as it spearheads an exciting new creative writing project for the young with none other than Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle.

Roddy was at the Museum in Listowel on Tuesday of last week in the latest big event of the Fighting Words project in this neck of the woods; meeting with the budding writers of Coolard NS in the morning before a workshop for adults in the afternoon.

Fighting Words was set up by Doyle with pal Seán Love in 2009 in an ambitious mission to get more and more youngsters fired up by the power of their own imaginations for creative writing ends. The scene in Listowel with the pupils of Coolard was enough to convince anyone of the success of the project to date as it took place in a venue that is home - with the last year - to the project's first Kerry branch.

"Roddy was fantastic, nothing was too much trouble for him and he was delighted to meet with the pupils of Coolard in the morning," Kerry Writers' Museum manager Cara Trant told The Kerryman. "Coolard was the latest school to take part in our monthly Fighting Words workshop, happily co-inciding with Roddy's arrival last week."

The young writers spent the first part of the morning conceiving a story complete with characters and plot; before collectively writing - with Roddy's help - the opening chapter of a new book.

"And as they were coming up with the characters and the action we had an illustrator on hand bringing their creations to life. We also took photos of all the individual young writers as they came in and it's all going to be published in a book we hope to present them within weeks," Cara added.

How's that for a morning's work? Better yet, Fighting Words is now being rolled out across the county from the Kerry Writers' Museum as more and more youngsters reap the benefit of Roddy Doyle's vision.

"Fighting Words has been incredibly successful in Dublin where it has its own full-time centre, working with secondary and primary schools to host all manner of workshops in everything from creative writing to screen writing. We're now planning to roll an outreach service to Cahersiveen shortly and maybe in the future expand into the likes of Killarney and west Kerry. We've had schools from all these areas coming to Listowel to take part in it alongside the North Kerry schools. We simply need more volunteers now to help our core team of five reach everyone," Cara added.