Feature Writing Workshop at the Mountains to Sea Book Festival

mountains to sea book festival

I am forever wondering how I can improve my writing. There are tons of suggestions out there and one I often encounter is the advice to read a lot. Of course, there are other things I could do so when I saw that a feature writing workshop was on the list of events for last weekend’s Mountains to Sea Book Festival I didn’t hesitate for a nano second before signing up.

The Mountains to Sea Book Festival is held in Dun Laoghaire, a south Dublin suburb, and is so-called because Dun Laoghaire is scenically squashed between the Dublin Mountains and the Irish Sea.

Patrick Freyne (an Irish Times journalist) and Anna Carey (a free-lance journalist and children’s author) facilitated the workshop. I wasn’t sure what to expect however I was more than pleasantly surprised as the event was excellent. Patrick and Anna had clearly put a lot of thought into their well structured presentation which they delivered with confidence and style.

mountains to sea book festival - dlr lexicon -

They covered: the difference between a news item and a feature, how to get ideas for features, how to pitch an idea to an editor, research, conducting interviews, and the writing process. They proffered a mass of sound advice: the suggestion I honed in on, even thought I was already so aware of it, was the aforementioned one to read widely. Note to self: read more, much more. They said it was also important to read critically.

I particularly enjoyed the ten minute session where we looked through that morning’s papers scanning the news stories to see if we could come up with a different angle on a story which we could use for a feature. My fellow participants were creative discovering different slants on the news which made me think that finding something to write about may not necessarily be as difficult as I believe it is.

dlr lexicon

The workshop was held in the DLR Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire’s new and as yet unopened library and cultural centre, so a bonus of attending was the opportunity to have a sneak peek inside it. The DLR Lexicon has attracted much criticism with gripes about the design and cost. Personally I like the granite clad building with its ocean-going-liner feel and I think its light filled interior is super stylish. I look forward to it opening.

14 Comments

Filed under Culture

14 responses to “Feature Writing Workshop at the Mountains to Sea Book Festival

  1. Sounds like a fascinating workshop. I would have loved to have been there. Emma.

  2. Sound advice — read a lot; AND read critically.

    I love your pictures, as always. Are you thinking of writing features? I’d love to read them!

  3. What an inspirational setting for a writing workshop. Love what appear to be empty bookshelves.

  4. That sounds like a worthwhile event and the views look beautiful! Thanks for sharing that good advice too. Another good reason to read!

  5. I’d like to join something similar, it sounds very interesting! Great that you enjoyed it so much, B.
    Best regards, Dina

  6. Looking forward to reading some of your writing based on what you learned.

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