Wexford’s ‘Write by the Sea’ announces their 2023 programme

Write By the Sea is a boutique literary festival set in the attractive fishing village of Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, taking place 22nd – 24th September 2023…

Enjoy a weekend of readings, conversations, workshops, and interviews with some of the most celebrated writers of today. 

Write By The Sea keeps the events small and intimate, with plenty of opportunities to mingle, not just with fellow attendees, but with many of the writers and speakers too. A beautiful fresh seafood lunch, sourced by local fishing boats, is served each day and is included in the ticket price. (Non-fish-eaters, Vegans and Vegetarians are catered for with pleasure).

On September 22nd, celebrated poet and proud Wexford woman A.M. Cousins hosts the Official festival Opening. The three-day event then sees:

Aingeala Flannery, winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of Year Award, talks to RTE’s Rick O’Shea about her debut novel, The Amusements.; Benjamin Wood, who The Sunday Times has heralded as Britain’s answer to Donna Tartt, will discuss his approach to the writer’s craft, expounding on the development of his most recent novel, The Young Accomplice; Distinguished psychologist, broadcaster and author Maureen Gaffney (Your One Wild and Precious Life, Flourishing) talks to Jan Doran about the latest ground-breaking research for getting to grips with the passage of time.

Anne O’Brien, Lucy Moore. Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford. Photographer credit: Mary Browne

Claire Keegan (Small Things Like These, Foster, Walk the Blue Fields) will launch her exquisite new short story, So Late in the Day, and then discuss her work with poet and memoirist Seán Hewitt (All Down Darkness Wide). Later in the programme, Seán discusses his poetry, his writing practice and his latest book with Dr Richard Hayes of Southeast Technological University. Mary O’Donnell will also launch a new book of poetry. 

Booker-winning novelist John Banville (The Singularities, The Sea, The Book of Evidence) and acclaimed writer, filmmaker and theatre director, Alan Gilsenan, gather for a lively conversation; Dublin-born poet, playwright, educator and spoken word performer Stephen James Smith will incorporate readings of work by selected audience members into an energetic and collaborative performance of their empathetic, passionate, joyful, and hopeful poetry.

Dr Howard Keeley of Georgia Southern University, facilitated by historian Celestine Murphy, will give an illustrated talk on Wexfordman, Dr Richard Nunn (1831 – 1910); Celebrated memoirists Helen MacDonald (H is for Hawk, Vesper Flights, Prophet), Suad Aldarra (I Don’t Want To Talk About Home) and Arnold Thomas Fanning (Mind on Fire) dive into a spirited discussion about the hows and whys of telling their own stories.

Award-winning novelist, journalist and gardening enthusiast, Charlotte Mendelson (The Exhibitionist, Rhapsody in Green, Almost English, When We Were Bad) is interviewed by Róisín Ingle, Irish Times columnist, feature writer and co-producer of The Irish Times Women’s Podcast.

Sasha Wilson, Derek Burke, Dave Redfearn, Anne O’Brien, Tatiana Grebeniuk Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford. Photographer credit Mary Browne

Yeva Skalietska, author of The Sunday Times Book of the Year You Don’t Know What War Is, The Diary of a Young Girl from Ukraine joins Caroline Busher (The Ghosts of Magnificent Children, The Girl Who Ate the Stars) for what promises to be a remarkable and timely conversation.

Hot on the heels of a six-week Abbey run of her latest play, Girl on an Altar, award-winning playwright and national treasure Marina Carr (Hecuba, Portia Coughlan, By the Bog of Cats) will read from a selection of her works and then answer questions from the audience.

Co-authors Helen MacDonald (H is for Hawk, Vesper Flights) and Sin Blaché join novelist Paraic O’Donnell (The Maker of Swans, House on Vesper Sands) to talk about writing as a team and about Prophet, their strikingly original tour-de-force novel.

There will also be Short Story Readings from Fergus Cronin (Night Music), winner of the 2022 Maria Edgeworth prize for fiction, and novelist, dramatist and poet Órfhlaith Foyle (Three Houses in Rome), and Poetry from Mary O’Donnell, Rosamund Taylor, Ben Mac Caoilte and Ronán P. Berry.

Workshops with acclaimed poet and novelist Mary O’Donnell; Arnold Thomas Fanning; writing coach, speaker, and mentor Margaret O’Brien; best-selling author and professional archivist, Andrew Hughes; and writer and filmmaker Geraldine Creed. Crime writer Fiona Sherlock will lead a seminar on generating income from creative work.

For the Festival Finale, renowned composer Bill Whelan (Riverdance, Dancing At Lughnasa) will be joined by music writer Jackie Hayden (My Boy, Love and Theft? Bob Dylan’s Celtic Odyssey) and musicians Zoë Conway and John Mc Intyre for an incredible evening of music, story, and song.

“We’re really excited to welcome audiences back to Kilmore Quay this September,’ says Festival Chairperson, Sasha Wilson. 

“This is the seventh year for Write By The Sea, and we’ve put together our most exciting and ambitious programme to date. We’ve a full schedule of events including masterclasses and workshops, poetry, panel discussions, and readings by award-winning Irish and international authors. We’re thrilled to be hosting two launches for incredible new work, and to be playing host to some celebrated Irish musicians & performers.”

Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Rosslare, Mr Jim Moore, says:

 “The Municipal District of Rosslare is extremely proud to support this unique event as part of our cultural and festival programme. Write By The Sea embodies the best of literary talent and community endeavours, and is accessible to all. I congratulate the voluntary committee on this remarkable achievement which reaches far beyond our shores.”

Rosslare Municipal District Manager, Nóirín Cummins stated that “Wexford County Council and Rosslare Municipal District are delighted to support the wonderful literary festival that is Write by the Sea. As you might say about a great novel “Write by the Sea is monumentally good, totally gripping with a host of fascinating characters.”


Weekend Pass €135 (Includes Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday festival sessions, and lunch on Saturday and Sunday)

Saturday Day Pass €75 (Includes all Saturday festival sessions and lunch)

Sunday Day Pass €75 (Includes all Sunday festival sessions and lunch)

Workshops and Masterclasses are ticketed separately and are not included in the Weekend or Day Pass.

3 Hour Masterclass is €40

2 Hour Workshops are €25

(Workshop and Masterclass spaces are limited.)

Come spend a day or the whole weekend Write By the Sea, and feed your mind, your body and your soul. Tickets are on sale now at www.writebythesea.ie

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