The pen is mightier than the egg in Trim

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 27th May, 2009 9:18am

A chance to throw some verbal eggs at bankers is being offered by the Boyne Writers Group, Trim, through its annual international satirical writing competition.

Entrants can choose from two subjects: A Tale Of A Tiger - Fat Cats Bring Down The Big Cat, or Banks and Bankers: A Modest Proposal. The closing date is Friday 5th June. There is a prize fund of €1,000, with half of it, €500, going to the winner of first prize. Entry fee is €7 per entry.

'The pen is mightier than the egg,' said Boyne Writers secretary Michael Farry. 'And we want to be fair about it; the second choice of subject, Banks and Bankers, allows bankers to defend themselves against this constant shelling.

'Fair is fair, and as a special concession, we have decided to accept their money. Just €7 affords them a literary platform without the danger of getting their pinstripes stained with egg yolk.'

The competition is being sponsored by the Trim Swift Festival in conjunction with this year"s festival from 2nd to 5th July, and is in commemoration of Jonathan Swift, the author of such works as 'Gulliver"s Travels", 'A Tale of a Tub", and 'A Modest Proposal".

'Swift was a politically powerful figure - an early personification of what we would nowadays call a spin doctor - in the England of the late 1600s and early 1700s,' said Mr Farry. 'Entries will be judged on the basis of satire, irony, absurd humour, acute political insight, grotesque imagination and lacerating wit - the hallmarks of Swift"s best works.'

Entries should be sent to Boyne Writers" Group, c/o P Smith, 25 Saintjohns, Trim, or emailed to (please put Boyne Writers Competition in the subject line of the email). Length for prose should be a minimum of 600 words, not more than 800 words; poetry, minimum 30 lines; maximum, 100 lines.

Prize-winning authors will be invited to read their entries at a big literary cabaret, the Swift Summer Night on Sunday 5th July, the final night of the Trim Swift Festival. Alternatively, prize-winning entries will be read by members of Trim Drama Group or members of the Boyne Writers" Group at functions during the festival on behalf of the authors.

Meanwhile, a chance for a 'civilian" to appear in the world premiere of a Swift dramatic presentation is being made available at a unique auction in Trim tomorrow (Thursday) night.

The highest bidder will be able to buy a walk-on/talk-on part in a rehearsed reading from 'Gulliver"s Travel"s, the famous Jonathan Swift satirical novel.

The reading is being prepared by writer Paddy Smith, who wrote a similar production for last year"s festival from the Swift work, 'A Tale Of A Tub". It will be presented on 5th July, the final night of the festival, as an item in the Swift Summer Night literary cabaret.

'The buyer of the walk-on/talk-on role gets to read some of Swift"s own words,' said Paddy Smith, 'or to provide some of the essential explanations that will be included to make the reading understandable to a general audience. This would be an exceptional present for somebody. And you don"t need to be an actor to take the part, just a good reader.'

Last year"s part was bought at auction for €350 by Trim solicitor Ronan Regan, who gave it to his father, retired solicitor Michael Regan, as a present. Michael became the 'Nutty Professor", who read three pieces of historical background to 'A Tale Of A Tub" in a part specially written for him.

This year"s sale will be held in conjunction with the Trim Swift Festival auction in Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim, this Thursday night at 7.30pm for tables at the round table discussion among national media and political figures, chaired by TV3"s Vincent Browne.

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