Community festival will celebrate stories of life on the water

Reflections of life on our rivers, lakes, canals and the sea will be celebrated at the 2022 Waterways Storymaking Festival.

Creative Writing Tutor Shelley Tracey and Maire Gaffney from the Waterways Storymaking Festival are pictured with Rhonda Glasgow (Photography Category Winner at the 2021 festival) and Sonya Whitefield, Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Creative Writing Tutor Shelley Tracey and Maire Gaffney from the Waterways Storymaking Festival are pictured with Rhonda Glasgow (Photography Category Winner at the 2021 festival) and Sonya Whitefield, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The community festival, run by local charity, The Waterways Community and funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, is currently inviting entries for this year’s event.

The theme for submission is simply ‘waterways’ and entrants are encouraged to explore their creativity and present their work in their own chosen way. This year, there are three categories; poetry, short story and photography. Stories and poems can be personal reminiscence, historical, a reflection or pure invention on the theme. Photographs can reflect the photographer’s take on the life, heritage and beauty of the waterways.

Open to everyone, the festival encourages entries from writers and photographers of all abilities, whatever their experience. Submissions can be made across three age categories, age 11 and under, 12-17 and 18 and over, with winners chosen in each group. This year the festival is also providing free creative writing workshops in February, led by talented local writers to spark new thoughts and ideas.

Festivals Director Maire Gaffney, commented: “This unique community festival offers a chance for people all over Northern Ireland to reflect and connect to the beauty, culture and heritage of local landscapes. It’s an opportunity to carve out some quiet time and experience the joy of exploring your creativity. We are very proud that this is a festival which is open to all, including first time writers and photographers. We all have a connection to the waterways and this is your chance to tell your story.”

Sonya Whitefield, Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council is delighted to be involved in the Waterways Storymaking Festival once again this year. 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 link. I very much look forward to seeing this year’s winning entries.”

The Waterways Community is offering free creative writing session. These fun and inspiring sessions are happening online on the 16th February 7-9pm and 26th February 11-1pm February. For further details and booking information email: [email protected]

Submissions to the 2022 Waterways Storymaking Festival close on March 4. Entry forms can be found at www.thewaterwayscommunity.org. Entries will be shortlisted by a team of judges in March and April, and the chosen work will be performed, videoed and shared at the Festival Awards celebration event in June.