Thursday, 22 April 2010

Móinín and Clare Libraries help young writers of the future

Ré O Laighleis with Young Writers from Kilrush & Kilkee Community Colleges

For the second year in a row Clare County Library and the County Arts Office have come together to offer teenagers in the county a realistic opportunity to develop their writing skills under the expert guidance of author Ré O Laighléis. The project was also sponsored by the Ballyvaughan-based publishing house MÓINÍN, and Clare County Library is also greatly indebted to O’Mahony’s Booksellers, Limerick for their generous contribution towards this worthwhile undertaking. Ré O Laighléis is the biggest selling contemporary author in the Irish language. His novel Gafa (Móinín, 2005) has recently featured on the Leaving Cert syllabus and works of his, such as ‘Ecstasy & other stories’ (Móinín, 2005), ‘Hooked’ (Móinín 1999/2007) and his Burren titles are read widely by the general readership and at second and third levels, not just here in Ireland, but also throughout Britain and North America. A similar six-session course in Creative Writing began in Se´n Lemass Public Library, Shannon, in 2009 for students from St. Patrick’s Comprehensive and St Caiman’s Community Schools, and such was the success of the venture for all involved that it was decided to repeat it, this time for post-primary schools in West Clare. Ré O Laighléis was course director for both projects. On the evening of March 25th 2010, four young writers from St. Joseph’s Community College Kilkee and eight from Kilrush Community College had the opportunity to read the short stories they had written for an audience comprising people from their community including their parents and teachers. Throughout a six week period, beginning in January the participants’ work was inspired, read and evaluated with constructive suggestions for its amendment and development by Ré on a continuous basis. Complimenting the aspiring authors, Ré O Laighléis had the following to say: “Such a level of commitment yielded results that would merit place on any continuum of excellence. The topics addressed by the writers are entirely of their own choosing – indeed, any deliberate selection of subject matter for them would serve only to defeat the purpose of the course. The variety of themes reflects the concerns and interests of the stories’ writers. The levels of insight and maturity revealed within their writings are refreshing and, at times, astounding. Ranging from social conflict to sporting interest, from psychological thriller to sci-fi and post-apocalyptic warfare, one is forced to flirt with cliché in attesting that all of life (and other life) is truly here.” Clare County Library Service is hoping to continue the project into a third year in 2010, again bringing together a group of young students interested in writing, helping them to hone their skills and gain invaluable tuition and experience in the art of short story writing. Image above shows Ré O Laighleis with Young Writers from Kilrush & Kilkee Community Colleges.

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