This year Westmeath Arts Office is funding an exciting creative writing project for young aspiring writers. This course has been running for three years now with novelist Caroline Barry hosting the workshops in Kilbeggan Library.
“For the last few years we’ve been working with teenagers and at the end of each project producing a book,” Caroline explains. “This year we wanted to veer away from a publication and take the project in a new direction. I stole the idea from Charles Dickens. He used to give dramatic readings of his works; actually that’s what finally killed him! We won’t be asking the writers to perform, so that strain will be removed. We’ll be working with a local drama group from Mullingar. The young writers will have a chance to consult with the actors and watch their writing be dramatically performed on stage.”
Not only that, but also this year the creative writing group will have the unique privilege of being visited by award winning documentary maker and writer Manchán Magan.
“Manchán has been extremely supportive of the creative writing group. He launched last year’s book The Idea and its Shadow just before Christmas. It is a wonderful opportunity for any young writer to meet and work with such a professional,” Caroline says. “Manchán has great energy, is very talented and inspirational.”
In fact he was so inspired by the young writers that this edition of the Midlands Arts Magazine which he edits, will be written entirely by young people.
“The aim of this year’s creative writing project is to have a series of dramatic readings performed on stage sometime in May. There is talk of us performing at this year’s Electric Picnic too, so naturally all the students are excited about that,” Caroline smiles.
If you are between the ages of 14 and 18 and interested in writing anything from gothic horror to historical fiction, or any genre that takes your fancy, and you want to join the creative writing group, you can contact Caroline at (087 ) 7517403. The course starts in Kilbeggan Library on Thursday January 27 from 4.30pm to 6pm. So for any budding Banvilles or Bincheys out there, this is the group for you.