Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival

10th-12th May 2024

Literary Festival

... Programme 2024

Every year we find new and exciting guests for our Literary Festival – Follow this link to learn more about this years guests

Image of guest speakers

Short Story Judge

Sheila Forsey, judge for Short Story Competition

Poetry Judge

Victoria Kennefick, judge for Poetry Competition

In Conversation

Fergus Cronin, participant for Culture Night

Saturday 11th May 10 a.m.

Saturday 11th May 1 p.m. – 3 p.m

Saturday 11th May 12 a.m.

Saturday 11th May 8 p.m.

Tea Party, Edgeworthstown House
Tea Party, Edgeworthstown House
Portrait of the Edgeworth family by Adam Buck Photograph - National Gallery of Ireland
Portrait of the Edgeworth family by Adam Buck Photograph - National Gallery of Ireland

The Edgeworth Family

Meathas Troim/Edgeworthstown 1619-2020

Sixteen nineteen was a troubled time in Ireland, in Meatus Troim James 1 of England granted 600 acres of confiscated lands to a Francis Edgeworth, whose family originated from Edgeware, in Middlesex. Francis Edgeworth was married three times, his third wife was Jane Tuite a catholic, from Sonnagh, in Co Westmeath. The family lived in a Castle in Cranley before moving to the house now known as The Manor. It would be fair to say that the family were mainly absentee landlords who cared little for their tenants, this situation remained until Richard his great grandson inherited.

Maria’s father Richard Lovell Edgeworth inherited the estate from his brother Thomas, who died at a young age. He resided in Edgeworthstown and was considered to be a fair and reforming landlord. This was an exciting time in history, it was a time of enlightenment and the Edgeworth family were at the centre of this period. Richard Lovell Edgeworth was a member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, an informal gathering of prominent figures who were credited with being at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Alongside Edgeworth were household names such as Erasmus Darwin, James Watt, Matthew Boulton and Josiah Wedgwood.

Maria Edgeworth grew up in rural Edgeworthstown and was influenced by the landscape and the people of the area. These influences were evident in the portrayal of her character Thady Quirk in her famous novel Castle Rackrent a satirical commentary of her ancestors. The Edgeworth Society are building on this legacy with the hope that a wider awareness will bring benefits to the local community.

Autor Sheila Forsey

Sheila Forsey

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.

Poet Victoria Kennefick

Victoria Kennefick

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.

Author Fergus Cronin

Fergus Cronin

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 2023.
Night Music, published in 2023 by Doire Press, is a debut collection of short fiction.