Cathal O’Shannon visits Listowel in County Kerry as the town looks forward to a second Writers' Week.
Local writers John B Keane, Bryan MacMahon and Patrick Kennelly give their opinions on the town’s literary traditions and whether it is a good thing for Listowel to have a writers' festival at all.
While writers from the Listowel area tend to stay in Ireland it is difficult for them to make a living from books and plays. John B Keane has won great acclaim with his plays, but writing for newspapers Limerick Leader and the Herald is how he makes a decent wage.
Bryan MacMahon is a primary school teacher as he cannot make a living full time from writing.
Keane thinks the festival provides great business for the area while also giving a platform to the works of local writers. It is always interesting to hear what outsiders think of local writers.
Having taught in creative writing schools in America, MacMahon hopes the Listowel event can encourage writers.
I believe firmly that a writer cannot be made or manufactured, I think he can be stimulated into life.
Kennelly has some reservations about the festival as he is not keen on writers being put on parade as though they are a commercial commodity or participating in a beauty pageant.
Bringing people to the place to look at writers rather than the stuff that they actually write...it’s the work that counts as far as I’m concerned.
A ‘Newsbeat’ report by Cathal O’Shannon broadcast on 2 June 1971.