Groups prepare for literary battle at Trim Swift cabaret

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 24th June, 2009 9:56am

A unique duel of words will be the headline act in the literary cabaret on the final night of the Trim Swift Festival.

The joust is between the two writers" groups based in Trim - the Boyne Writers" Group and Meath Writers" Circle.

Festival director Barbara Nestor said: 'While the groups co-exist peacefully, there is an edge to their rivalry that, we admit, we want to exploit for the benefit of the festival - and it looks as if we are succeeding very well in our aim. 'The Battle of the Books" is what we"re calling it, after the work written by Jonathan Swift.'

Each group will field a team of four writers who will read their own satirical writing. A panel of three judges will mark each contestant on the basis of satire, wit, clarity and entertainment value. Trophies will be presented to the winning side by Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey.

'It"s that X factor that we"ll be looking for,' said Dr James Ward, lecturer in Early Modern English Literature, University of Ulster, Coleraine, who is the academic adviser to the festival and is chairman of the panel of judges. The other two judges are Paul Murphy, former editor of the Drogheda Independent, and Dr Emma White, who is returning to Trim for the occasion from her home in the south of England.

The contest will be a snappy event. Readings are limited to three minutes for each poetry entry and five minutes for each prose entry. Each team will have two poems and two prose pieces.

Michael Farry, captain of the Boyne Writers" Group, said their team would be rehearsing 'at a secret location' in the town. 'We have more than four members interested in being on the team, so we will have to find an acceptable device, probably a secret ballot, to decide on the final line-out.'

Tommy Murray, captain of the Meath Writers" Circle, said six of their members were competing for the four places. They, too, would be rehearsing 'at an underground location' and the group says it is declining new members until after the festival 'in case of spies from certain quarters.'

The cabaret takes place on the final night of the festival, Sunday 5th July, in Trim Castle Hotel.

Seating is limited to 192 people to create a cabaret atmosphere where the audience will be at tables of six, all with a clear view of the stage. Food and drink will be served during the performances of the various acts, which also include a rehearsed reading by Trim Drama Group of an excerpt, written by Paddy Smith, from Swift"s 'Gulliver"s Travels"; a talk by Trim-born author Pat Dunne as Jonathan Swift on his mysterious relationship with Stella, entitled 'Only a Woman"s Hair"; a recital by the Dearbhail Finnegan Meath Harp Ensemble; the reading of the winning entry in the Boyne Writers" Group international satirical writing competition, which has been judged by former government minister Ivan Yates, and a mini-concert by the Trim Castle Singers.

Tickets, at €25, for the cabaret are available from Trim Castle Hotel or from or from any member of the organising committee.

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