Literature fringe events at Wexford festival

By Dan Walsh

The 71st Wexford Festival Opera opens on Friday evening with crackling fireworks over the harbour and the National Opera House will accommodate the best singers and performers of national and international fame, but a traditional feature of the festival are the fringe events, and there is so many listed and catering for various personal interests.

A string of fringe events will take place at Wexford independent bookstore Red Books during the festivities. Owner Wally O’ Neill told that the events would be ‘live literature’, an attempt to bring books alive and put their merit at the centre of artistic expression.

WALLY O’NEILL owner of RED BOOKS, Wexford

“We are lucky to have twelve live events coming up in the bookstore over the festival,” said Wally, who added: “These events are provided by the artistic community that has evolved around Red Books, including writers, poets, historians, film-makers and musicians. We’re going to increase our opening hours to facilitate these events, so we’ll now be open to the public 70 hours a week.”

“People ask me why we bother with these events, and I think of Jen Campbell’s quote, ‘All bookshops are full of stories, and stories want to be heard.’ We’ve all gone through the very worst of times over the last two years. We were part of a twelve-member small shops group in Wexford town two years ago. Only two of those shops are still open now. We’re still here because book lovers supported us. Now we will continue to support these literary events in kind,” he concluded.

Among the events taking place in the bookshop will be a concert by Imelda Kehoe and Mick Egan on the 27th, a spoken-word open-mic on the 21st and a number if book launches and pop-up performances.

All events will be free but donation buckets for local charity Wexford People Helping People will be at hand for those who would like to make a donation.

An event titled ‘Lit-Opera’ hopes to fuse performers favourite literature together with musical expressions on Friday the 28th while Declan Reck will give a talk on the historical merchants of Wexford on Saturday the 5th.

The fourth issue of Red Books Press flagship publication the Wexford Bohemian will be launched in Red Books on Friday the 4th.

The 51st Annual Wexford Book Fair will conclude the literary events on Sunday, November 6th, taking place from 11-5pm in Wexford’s Talbot Hotel.

More information about are available from or by visiting Red Books in Wexford’s St Peter’s Square or following them on Facebook or Instagram.

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