Organisers of the fourth annual Waterways Community Storymaking Festival have received a record number of entries from the length and breadth of Northern Ireland this year.
The unique community festival aims to provide an opportunity for photographers and creative writers to reflect and connect to the beauty, culture and heritage of local landscapes around us.
The competition has attracted entries from Bangor, Belfast, Londonderry, Glenarm, Lisburn, Moira and Saintfield for adult poetry, adult short story, youth poetry and youth short stories categories.
Speaking about the level of interest in this year’s competition, Maire Gaffney of The Waterways Community said: “Interest and entries to The Waterways Storymaking Festival competition have been increasing steadily since the competition was launched five years ago.
“However, this year we have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries we have received.
“The judges have had some difficult decisions to make when choosing their winners.
“The festival was born from the awareness we had of the power of storymaking and creativity for our wellbeing.
“We have certainly witnessed from the entrants just how connected they are with nature and their surroundings and how many have taken time to become aware of what is around them in the past year or two when we have all had more time to appreciate the waterways and landscapes that we had maybe taken for granted before.”
Winners will be announced at a finale event in The MAC this evening (Thursday) compered by television and radio personality John Daly.
Entertainment will be provided by east Belfast singer songwriter Anthony Toner and awards will be presented by Liam Hannaway, Chair of Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Sonya Whitefield, Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council is delighted to be involved once again this year in the Waterways Storymaking Festival.
“For so many of us, the waterways provide a constant and ever changing backdrop to our lives.
“This special festival is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate that connection in a creative way and share our stories with others. Congratulations to all of this year’s entries!”
n The event will be livestreamed on The Waterways Community Facebook page from 7pm to 8.30pm.
n The Waterways Community Storymaking Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
n For more information on The Waterways Community and to get involved in next year’s festival, please visit www.thewaterwayscommunity.org/ and follow The Waterways Storymaking Festival on Facebook at @waterwaysstorymakingfestival
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