Listowel: Travel Writing Workshops
There’s nothing like chatting to another travel writer to feel the feet itching to get out on the road. last week, I sat by a glowing log fire, going at it hammer and tongs with Dervla Murphy, she on the beer and myself on the hot whiskey. Turns out we’d both been in Cape Town on that memorable day when Nelson Mandela made his first speech in the new, democratic parliament. She’d been there writing a book (travel writers do it on the hoof) while I had been there as an international election observer. Two people, different stories.
It made me wonder – what is it that makes a travel book sparkle? Right now, I’d say it’s the people you meet on the way. It’s people who give life to a place and it’s the people who will endure.
My last book is about Syria, an unhappy place right now. But if there’s any ray of hope, it’s the one that says the people of Syria – wherever they are – who keep the flame burning because it’s they, the people of Syria, who walk through my book. They were the ones who invited me in for a cup of tea, who passed me from one hotel ( think family-run hostel) to the next, who fixed my bike and/or my lumpy mattress, who listened patiently to my basic Arabic…
So, for the travel writing workshops at Listowel Writers Week, among other things, we’ll be zooming in on overheard conversations, on what people wear, how they walk, the food we are offered and who cooks it. We’ll observe the differences between men and women in some cultures ( including Ireland) and how the travel writer fits themselves into these differing scenarios.
If you’ve already signed up for the workshops ( May 28,29,30) maybe write a few paras concentrating on this aspect of travel writing and email them to me by May 23rd. But no pressure.
But if you haven’t signed up, then it’s not too late. Give them a ring in Listowel on 00353(0)68 21071 or check out the website: http://www.writersweek.ie
Any which way, see you there…