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THE FUN and games continue at Listowel Writers’ Week where a new programme director is about to be announced following exit of the first ever professional curator after just one year. He has since claimed to have been hounded out by local resentment of his Belfast roots. Stephen Connolly was installed as the first full-time programmer as a result of an Arts Council-inspired shake-up. Immediately after this year’s event, however, the board advertised for a successor “to devise a literary programme of quality, ambition and diversity for our 2024 festival”.

Stephen Connolly didn’t have the easiest of times in Listowel, with some local resistance to the new ‘professional’ format and he even told the Kerryman that “a small group probably wanted it to fail”.

The Belfast curator had rather more to say to the Irish Post, which covered his short-lived “ordeal” in detail, focusing on Connolly’s claims to have encountered no little vitriol because of his background. Apparently, at one point there was even a comparison made with the unionist gerrymandering of local government in the north in the 1960s.

Sounds like there’s a book in this.

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