Local writers host Steinbeck Festival event

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The Jane Ross Writers’ Group from Limavady has been invited to participate as an International Fringe Fest site for the 2013 Steinbeck Festival.

The prestigious invite was made after Chris Morrow from the group made contact with the Festival explaining how they had worked recently to promote John Steinbeck and his roots with Ballykelly.

“I wrote to the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California to tell them of our group’s efforts to promote Steinbeck here.

“They wrote back and were delighted with what we had been doing and invited our group to take part in tandem with them, and other cities around the world,” said Mr. Morrow.

“This is a festival that will take place over three days from May 3-6th. Naturally, we were delighted to get the invitation and have been working hard to get it organised.”

The local event will take place in Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church and Hall, Ballykelly on Friday 3rd May starting at 10.30am.

“We will be hosting a poetry workshop based on the theme of this year’s festival, Home. It will be facilitated by well known local poet Anne Marie Mullan.

“All the bookstores and local authors in County Derry and city have donated books and items to be put forward into a free prize draw at the workshop, which we are very grateful for,” said Mr. Morrow.

“The Steinbeck Center have posted a box of goodies to be used for the draw too! We will be displaying a small selection of our work and Steinbeck books and pictures in the Church Hall.”

The group, which will be accompanied by the Mayor of Limavady, plan to visit the graves of Steinbeck’s relatives, the Hamiltons, and lay a wreath on behalf of the Steinbeck Center in California.

“A few of the group will do a short reading from his books,” said Mr. Morrow. “Steinbeck was pictured at this grave in 1952.”

Mr. Morrow added; “I’m hoping this event in Ballykelly – John Steinbeck’s ancestral home – will become an annual event and go from strength to strength.”