Cork In­ter­na­tional Short Story Fes­ti­val

Irish Examiner - - People - Des Breen

Or­gan­ised an­nu­ally by the Mun­ster Lit­er­a­ture Cen­tre, the 17th Cork In­ter­na­tional Short Story Fes­ti­val — the only one of its kind in the coun­try and now the old­est in the world — has been tak­ing place in Lee­side all week, giv­ing read­ers and writ­ers a rare chance to revel in the plea­sures of short form fic­tion.

Ir­ish au­thors were to the fore, with a range of well-known names en­ter­tain­ing au­di­ences at the Firkin Crane — the Shan­don-based cen­tre which be­came the fes­ti­val’s home-base last year. It was, how­ever, the city new­est venue, the ‘Goldie Chapel’ in Nano Na­gle Place, which hosted the high­light evening — a joint read­ing by Madeleine D’Arcy and Danielle McLaughlin, two Cork au­thors whose story col­lec­tions have been scoop­ing up a host of lit­er­ary awards.

The night of rapid fire flash fic­tion which fol­lowed, when 20 writ­ers took to the al­tar of the im­pres­sive de­con­se­crated church, ac­com­pa­nied by the mu­sic of Nick Kelly, made for an evening of fun not usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with lit­er­ary fes­ti­vals.

The ‘most en­joy­able racon­teur’ ti­tle has to go to Dubliner Carlo Gébler (right) — son of the writ­ers Edna O’Brien and Ernest Ge­bler — who vis­ited Cork to read along­side the ever-im­pres­sive Alan­nah Hop­kin. It was an ideal pair­ing as Ge­bler — a writer with a hugely suc­cess­ful lit­er­ary track record in fic­tion and non-fic­tion — took the au­di­ence back to a time when his late fa­ther, with whom he had a poor re­la­tion­ship, would re­fer to Hop­kin’s books and say to him, point­edly, “Now, that’s a writer”. Ge­bler de­liv­ered a prison tale from his lat­est col­lec­tion, The Wing

Or­derly’s Tales, while Hop­kin read the ti­tle story from her re­cent col­lec­tion, The Dogs of Inishere.

Fri­day saw Sean Ó Fao­lain Prizewin­ner 26-year-old Louise Nealon, from Co Kil­dare, present her short story and col­lect her award, while Nuala O’Con­nor, Alan McMona­gle and Billy O’Callaghan read from their work.

Au­thors from Bri­tain, Canada, and the US were among the in­ter­na­tional con­tin­gent un­der­lin­ing the fes­ti­val’s global cre­den­tials, while free events hosted by Cork’s Cen­tral Li­brary show­cased the cur­rent crop of lit­er­ary mag­a­zines and jour­nals pro­vid­ing a vi­tal out­let for writ­ers.

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