The Hay Festival Kells Rises

It’s that time of year again. The shop windows are full of books, the banners are flying, and the town is humming. Yes, my honeys, the Hay Festival has returned to Kells.

If you are a fan of the arts or have aspirations to be an artist yourself, you’ll find something here to entertain and inspire you. The writers reading their stories; the musicians playing tunes; and the surprising installations and displays popping up in the most unlikely places. No, no hints. You’ll have to come to the town and see for yourself.

Every year, the KELLS TYPE TRAIL pays tribute to the written word by making one word the focus and filling the town with art inspired by it. This year, the word is ‘RISE’.

Simon Makes Hay

Simon Blackburn of the Kells Writers’ Group reads a poem at the launch of the Type Trail


All over town, pictures, sculptures and displays appear using that word.

I plan to post a more detailed account of this extraordinary concept in a week or so, but in the meantime, here are a couple of pictures, courtesy of John Moore of the Kells Camera Club, and a very short video of the town being ‘Risen’: The Type Trail 2016

Tour of the Type Trail. The crowd appropriately ‘rising’ up the hill.  Picture courtesy of John Moore.

Singer Mary Black and band performing at the Hay Festival. Picture courtesy of Anthony Cronin.






For the me, the delights have included Sinead Gleeson and Lisa McInerney who talked about stories, anthologies and women’s voices. They talked about the hardest part of writing (the blank page, the search for the perfect first line, and sitting down to do And the process. “I can fiddle forever,” Sinead says. I call it tweaking. You say potato…

Sinead Gleeson (left) and Lisa McInerney (right) Picture courtesy of Anthony Cronin

“When did you know you were a writer?” Lisa asks Sinead. Sinead admits it was something she was longing to do, then one day she decided she should just get on with it.


What makes a great short story? Lisa says it should be a snapshot. “Start with a punch in the face and leave you breathless at the end.” A good short story should make you feel like you have a hangover. It should leave you feeling like you’re incapable of thinking about anything else for a time. You need to absorb the story into yourself. You have to come down from the heights the story has taken you. Their final words of wisdom: You can’t be a writer unless you’re a reader.

Amen to that.

Oh, there  is so much more I have to tell you. About Maura McHugh talking about writing for visual media. About Patrick McCabe being, well, Patrick McCabe. Or Liz Nugent thrilling us with a reading to her next novel following the success of Unravelling Oliver. That’s not including whatever treasures today has to offer.

What do you mean you want it all now? Patience, alanna. More you shall have, but not all at once. Did your mammy tell you nothing about gluttony?



About Geri Schear

Geri Schear is an award-winning novelist, author of three Sherlock Holmes and Lady Beatrice books published by MX Publishing. Her short stories have appeared in a number of journals. For further information, see her page at Amazon:
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