BookFest opens eyes and hearts
WRITERS’ Week’s first foray into a time zone beyond its usual early summer slot proved a great success on Thursday as up to 1,000 secondary students descended on Listowel for a day of often profound lessons at Young Adult BookFest.
Poet Brendan Kennelly, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope writer Stephanie Preissner, the BBC’s Fergal Keane, comedian Katherine Lynch and Tom Crean interpreter Aiden Dooley all featured on the day. Making perhaps the biggest impact was Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental. “He was just incredible and made some impact on the students,” Billy Keane - who interviewed Tomi live on the stage at the Community Centre where the event was held – told The Kerryman. “His incredible story has never been so important at a time when it seems Holocaust denial is somehow on the increase.”
Writers’ Week’s Máire Logue said the festival was delighted with the event. “This was our first time holding BookFest outside of the festival and we did so as it seemed a better time for students. It was a decision that paid off with 850 secondary students from 15 schools across Kerry, Limerick and Cork attended and the feedback was brilliant,” Máire said.
“We began with a film we specially commissioned of Brendan Kennelly talking about his poetry, given that he is now included on the Leaving Cert English syllabus for the first time. Stephanie Preissner was also a huge hit, speaking at length about her writing life and imparting great advice,” Máire said.
Students from St Josephs Secondary School Ballybunion Mia Fitzpatrick, Rachel Stack, Annamay Wall, Lily Belle, Karis Kunwor and Katie Barry meeting Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental at the Young Adult Book Fest in Listowel Community Centre on Thursday.
Tomi Reichenthal at the Holocaust Memorial in the Garden of Europe; with Causeway students and Billy Keane who interviewed Tomi on stage in a deeply moving event and, left, with CBS The Green Tralee students Jason Helistrom,Oran Mullins-Moynihan, Graham Hudson, Josh O’Keeffe, Laurence Guardiano and David Kapkowski.
Milltown Secondary Students Kerry Richardson, Sarah McGrath and Nicola Flynn meeting rising star Stephanie Preissner at the Young Adult BookFest in Kerry’s literary capital of Listowel on Thursday.
Presentation Secondary School,Tralee students Katie Laucher and Rebecca Walsh with Stephanie Preissner on Thursday in Listowel.