One feature of the Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival has always been the special guests that have appeared. We have had story and poetry writers, singers and musicians, artists and entertainers.
The 2024 Festival will be no exception and on this page you can read about the guests we have lined up for this year’s Festival
Click on the images below to learn more about our guests.
We recommend a visit to our Maria Edgeworth Centre to meet the Edgeworths ‘in person’.
The Centre, of course, pays homage to the celebrated 18th century novelist Maria Edgeworth. She was a notable literary pioneer, a feminist and social commentator of her time. But it also lets you get to know other members of this progressive thinking family. Housed in one of the oldest national school buildings in the Country, it also explores where the story of Ireland’s national school system began.
The Maria Edgeworth Visitor Centre in Edgeworthstown, County Longford, is in one of Ireland’s best kept literary secrets, right in the heart of a small rural community in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
Visitors can enhance their experience by taking Edgeworthstown’s Heritage & Literary Walk which is a guided walking tour through the town’s past. Explore the area’s connections with historical figures such as Oliver Goldsmith and Oscar Wilde.
Sheila Forsey is a writer and creative writing tutor from County Wexford. A deep interest in Ireland’s intricate past has led her to write historical fiction. She is a graduate from Maynooth University and Trinity College Dublin. She is the recipient of a literature bursary award from Wexford County Council and Artlinks. She has written three historical fiction novels and one contemporary novel, and her writing has reached the Irish Times Best Sellers list and her work has received many acclaimed reviews for giving a visual and textured insight into Ireland’s past.
She has a deep love of theatre and was a core member of the Watergate Theatre Company in Kilkenny for many years. Her love of theatre has also led her to playwriting and her most recent play was shortlisted for Scripts Playwrights Festival. She is the facilitator for creative writing workshops for Gorey Adult Education, Wexford Arts Centre, The Presentation Arts Centre, Wexford Local Development and WWETB – Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board. She is a writer in schools with Poetry Ireland funded by The Arts Council. She is a past curator for Wexford Literary Festival and has spoken at writing festivals throughout Ireland. Her first book of historical fiction – Kilbride House was selected to study as part of certain Transition groups as an insight into 1950’s Ireland. She is passionate about the importance of unearthing the forgotten stories and the forgotten voices. Her writing practice is influenced by Ireland’s windswept coastline, mountains, rivers, and ever-changing sky.
Victoria Kennefick’s debut collection, Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet, 2021), won the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize and the Dalkey Book Festival Emerging Writer of the Year Award. It was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Costa Poetry Book Award, Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the Butler Literary Prize. A UCD/Arts Council of Ireland Writer-in-Residence 2023 and Poet-in-Residence at the Yeats Society Sligo, Victoria is also an editor for the online poetry journal, bath magg. Her second collection, egg/shell will be published by Carcanet Press in February 2024.
Fergus Cronin is a native of Dublin and now divides his time between that city and North Connemara. After a career in water engineering he went on to pursue his abiding interest in the Arts. As a theatre practitioner he has performed Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (at the Galway and Kilkenny Arts Festivals in 2010) and The Science of Flann O’Brien (at various venues in Ireland and Europe 2006 to 2012).
He gave readings of James Joyce’s Dubliners and James Plunkett’s Strumpet City for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature ‘One City One Book’ events. For a number of years he has been committed full time to writing. He completed an MPhil degree in Creative Writing at the Oscar Wilde Centre in TCD in 2014. He was commissioned to write a story for the Bealtaine festival in 2017 which was subsequently published in The Irish Times. He was co-editor of Angle an new anthology of writing in 2019 and 2020. His stories have been published in The Old Art of Lying (an anthology of work from the Oscar Wilde Centre), Surge (a Brandon Books collection of new writing from Ireland), The Manchester Review and The Lonely Crowd. He was awarded the Maria Edgeworth Short Story Prize in 2022. Longlisted for the Irish Short Story of the Year (Irish Book Awards-Writing.ie) 2023.
Night Music, published in 2023 by Doire Press, is a debut collection of short fiction.
Órla Mc Govern is an award-winning storyteller, performer, writer, and facilitator.
She has written two books of folk tales, and her plays and other work has been produced around the world.
Órla works regularly as an actor and improvisor, and has told stories from the Finnish Forests to the Glens of Antrim. She is Artistic Director of Moth & Butterfly, a storytelling collective, with an annual festival, based in the West of Ireland. www.orlamcgovern.com