A Brave New WexWorld

Sometimes I look back over my week (or for the purposes of this blog, the last twelve days) and I find it hard to remember what filled all that time. I know I had a couple of really good sessions with kids and parents in Clara Library in Offaly on the 18th. The rest of that week is a bit of a blur – although I know I did a bit of the Mad Grandad artwork (perhaps his absent-mindedness is rubbing off on me).Wexworlds-Science Gallery-1
I also remember that last weekend  I was at WexWorlds, the sci-fi and fantasy festival set up in Wexford by Eoin Colfer, James Bacon and the Wexford Arts Office. My family came with me, and there were a lot of other families there – including one lot who came all the way from Texas just for the festival. There have been plenty of ‘Genre’ conventions in Ireland before, but this was the first to involve a whole town and make proper use of marketing and PR and include things as varied as exhibitions and a cabaret. I did a session in the library and sat on a range of panels, including a discussion on blending words and pictures, reflecting on the Harry Potter phenomenon, sci-fi for beginners and a reading with other authors in the theatre.
The festival went brilliantly, despite the rest of the country descending into the doldrums following our exit from the World Cup (thanks to Thierry Henry’s blatant hand-ball – apology not bloody accepted, Thierry) and severe floods covering huge parts of the south and west of the country. I had to bypass Enniscorthy on the way down to Wexford because the bridge in the centre of the town was underwater.
WexWorlds-Science Gallery-4Eoin Colfer and Darren Shan were the headliners, but also there to do their thing were writers Michael Carroll, Sarah Rees Brennan, Andrew Donkin, Herbie Brennan, Ian McDonald, film-maker John Vaughn and comics creators Rob Curley, Paul Holden, and Nick Roche, among others. As is always the way with conventions, the participants all had a really good laugh and any people of Wexford who did not take part were as tolerant and understanding as they could be.
WexWorld 1There were zombie classes, lightsaber workshops and films, with the Bui Bolg Street Theatre teaching kids how to make mad costumes, as well as  science talks given by Dr Emma J. King. At the cabaret on Saturday evening, we enjoyed live music, short films, an exotic dancer, poetry and an obscene and hilarious reading by Eoin Colfer, who has probably been dying to swear in public for ages. I also got to indulge my habit of sitting in cafes people-watching and enjoying good conversations.
My thanks to James, Elizabeth, Eoin and everyone who made the festival such fun to attend.