in order of appearance

Jessa Sexton 

can remember writing poetry as early as six years old—and honestly hopes her work is more complexly crafted now, while still remaining as fresh and bright as the days of her youth. Since her first publication in the early 2000s, Jessa now has 17 books under her belt: works of poetry, children’s stories, and devotional studies. In her current full-time role as a senior writer, she creates educational articles, scripts, guides, and more on financial topics—while also mentoring other creatives to grow in their craft. When she isn’t writing (okay, she’s nearly always writing), she enjoys walks, time with her family, a good book under a soft blanket, conversations over coffee or tea, and laughter so full it brings tears to her eyes.

See Jessa's Events & Workshops here

Helen Moorhouse

is the author of five novels - ‘The Dead Summer’, ‘The Dark Water’, ‘Sing Me To Sleep’, ‘Ever This Day’ and ‘The Gallery of Stolen Souls’, all published by Poolbeg Press.

Having graduated Journalism at the College of Commerce, Rathmines, Helen worked in radio both in sales and as a newsreader. She turned freelance in 2010 and has since worked as a Voiceover Artist and Copywriter across a number of areas from radio commercials and video scripts to speeches, content creation and more.

Born in Mountmellick, Helen is a former student of the Brigidine Convent, Mountrath. She is currently a founder member of a group raising funds to restore the convent buildings for community use. She lives in Dublin with her husband, four daughters and a spoiled Cavalier King Charles spaniel. She tolerates cooking and gardening but loves reading, cinema and TV - anything that tells a story. She has held an interest in the paranormal since childhood - but isn’t 100% sure if she really wants to meet a ghost!
See Helen's Workshop details here

Paula Byrne 

is a holistic wellness educator with 16 years teaching experience. She is dedicated to holding space for others to allow them to enhance their own wellbeing and knowledge. She endeavours to cultivate a more holistic approach to daily life by supporting others to form habits that nourish the mind, body and spirit.

See Paula's Event Here

Dr. Arthur Broomfield

Dr Arthur Broomfield is a poet and literary critic from Ballyfin, County Laois. His latest poetry collection, Ireland Calling [Revival Press, Limerick], Is his eighth book. Arthur mentors those who are interested in writing, or who want to work on their poetry. He is an acknowledged scholar on the works of Samuel Beckett and will give lectures and classes on the writer, if requested.   He holds BA and MA degrees in English and history from National university of Ireland, Maynooth and a Ph.D in English literature on the works of Maria Edgeworth from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.

See details on Arthur's event here

Brian Maher

 is a proud Abbeyleix man. Having originally gone to Bolton Street College of Technology in the 1980’s to study architecture was like many of his generation forced to find employment abroad. Living in London for 20 years Brian and his family returned to Abbeyleix some 20 years ago. Returning to education in 2011 at Bolton Street to undertake post-graduate studies in town planning Brian has since been employed as a town planner in Dublin.

Brian is chairperson of Abbeyleix Heritage Company and was actively involved in community action with a successful campaign to reverse a flawed decision to close Abbeyleix District Hospital and involved in setting up Abbeyleix Business and Community (ABC) as a focussed community group following the opening of the M7/M8 by-pass in 2010.

Brian is a passionate advocate of the regeneration and re-occupation of our towns. Having worked professionally on creating shared vision strategies for many towns and cities Brian is familiar with the socio-economic factors that influence their recovery. Abbeyleix like many towns went from being fully occupied through the exodus of ‘The Flight of the Merchants’ in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The increasing vacancy of the residential accommodation has left many towns as unloved and in many cases unsafe places.

See Brian's Event Here

Martha Woodcock

See Martha's Event Here

Jean Tuomey 

lives in Castlebar. Co Mayo. She is published in The Irish Times and national and international journals. Her chapbook, Swept Back, was commended in Fools for Poetry 2018 and received special commendation in Blue Nib Chapbook 37, 2019. Her chapbook Magical Thinking was highly commended in Fool for Poetry 2021. She came 2nd in Fish poetry competition 2011, 1st in the Jonathan Swift Creative Awards for poetry in 2021 and the St Francis Hospice poetry competition 2022. She was awarded mentorship with Elizabeth Reapy by Mayo Co. Council Arts Office in 2021 for work on a novel. Her debut collection, Swept Back (Lapwing), published in Dec. 2022. A former teacher, she trained as a writing facilitator with the National Association for Poetry Therapy in the US. See Jean's Event Here

Judy Rhatigan 

See Judy's Event Here

Laura Murphy

is a poet and activist from Laois whose work centres around the ancient Irish poetic practice of Imbas Forosnai. The filí (seer-poets) of pre-Christian Ireland used this practice to bring healing to society and truth to power. Though Imbas Forosnai was central to how ancient Irish society functioned and flourished, it was banned by St. Patrick and all but written out of history.

Since having a spontaneous experience of Imbas Forosnai in 2013, Laura has been working towards reviving this practice within a culturally relevant, modern context.

Laura’s Imbas-infused work has been featured in the Abbey Theatre’s critically acclaimed ‘HOME: Part One’, Herstory Light Shows, TG4’s ‘Imeall’ and RTÉ documentary ‘Finding Brigid’. Laura was the inaugural Poet in Residence at Herstory, the movement illuminating female role-models, she was a key player in the campaign to make Brigid’s Day a national holiday and is an advocate for Mother and Baby Home survivors.
See Laura's Event Here 

Andrea Carter

is the author of The Inishowen Mysteries. She grew up in Ballyfin, Co. Laois, and graduated in Law from Trinity College, Dublin, before qualifying as a solicitor and moving to the Inishowen peninsula. Having practised law for nearly twenty years, more recently as a barrister, she now writes full time. Her books are in development for television and her short story The Lamb was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2019. Death Writes is her sixth novel.

The Sunday Times said ‘Carter excels in re-creating the cloistered, gossipy confines of a small Irish village…the Inishowen peninsula community where everybody knows everybody else’s business is a fine stand-in for the mannered drawing-room society of a Christie mystery.’

David Butler

is originally from Kildare, now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, with his wife and three children. A graduate of the Dun Laoghaire Film Institute of Ireland, Animation Production Course, he has worked on several award-winning animation projects, including the BAFTA award-winning 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' for Channel 4. He has worked for Pfizer Ireland in Newbridge in various roles since joining them over 20 years ago in 2002.

He is involved with CelticCon Midland ComicConvention and the Port Art Collective for various creative events. He continues to work in film as a freelance producer for Frame It Productions and Songway Films.

His work as an Illustrator includes The Shackleton Voyage of the James Caird, a graphic novel on Irish Antarctic explorers for The Collins Press/Gill Books.

David's collaboration with author Mario Corrigan has resulted in four children's books for the self published Fish Pyjamas series. Michael Collins: Ireland's Rebel Son is the team's first graphic novel.

For further information visit his website www.anithing.ie

Mario Corrigan 

A librarian with Kildare Library Services, Mario has written and edited many books on the history of Co. Kildare and his hometown of Kildare. He has written four children’s books with children in schools in Kildare, Listowel and Roscommon, all of which were illustrated by David Butler.

As part of his work on the Decade of Centenaries project in Kildare he has written a play A Terrible Beauty Exposed! and a narration for a series of concerts, Birth of a Nation, which included a performance in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.

On 9 July 2022 he delivered the oration at the centenary commemoration for Cathal Brugha in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Alison Wells

was born in London, raised in Kerry and lives in Bray, near Dublin with her husband and four children. A graduate of Communication Studies and Psychology, she is now an enthusiastic librarian. Alison has been awarded residencies at Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry. Her literary short fiction has been Pushcart prize nominated and shortlisted for Hennessy New Irish Writing, Bridport, BBC Opening Lines and Bray Literary Festival. Writing has appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Lonely Crowd, Crannóg, UK National Flash Fiction anthologies Jawbreakers and Scraps and New Island/RTÉ Arena’s New Planet Cabaret. Eat! was highly commended in the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 2019. In 2020 she was a finalist with The Exhibit of Held Breaths. Her Head Above Water blog explores creativity and resilience.
Check out her event here

John Mac Kenna

is a novelist, poet and memoirist. The author of twenty-three books, he teaches Creative Writing
at Maynooth University and at The Hedge School on the Moone. His memoir of his friendship with Leonard Cohen,
Absent Friend, was published earlier this year.

Angela Keogh 

is a writer, actor and musician. The author of a novel, The Winter Dress, and a number of stage plays,
she is currently studying traditional music in Co Leitrim. Originally from Kilkenny, she currently lives in Carlow. Her second book
will be published later this year. She teaches art The Hedge School on the Moone

See the Event Here

Katie Jacques

is a singer/ songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She is a graduate of Cork School of Music and currently works with Music Generation in Co Carlow. She has appeared in a wide range of musical productions, including
Lenard Cohen's Between Your Love and Mine.
See the Event Here

Jimmy Rhatigan 

Jimmy Rhatigan is a Kilkenny man with a lifelong interest in the works of Patrick Kavanagh.
‘Where Old Ghosts Meet’ is a short play on the life of Patrick Kavanagh, developed in association with Geoff Rose and performed as a ‘rehearsed reading’ in numerous venues over the past few years. Jimmy looks forward to performing this piece at The Power of Words.

Ben Mac Caoilte

Ben MacCaoilte is a bilingual poet from Ireland writing and performing in both Irish and English. Ben brings beautifully formed poetry to the stage. Impossibly detailed worlds are revealed in tight verses, inspired by people,places and lives that mattered. Ben has released two performance poetry albums on the Crannóg Media label, Beyond the Apple Tree in 2021 and Lifting the Gate in 2022. Since the release of his first album Ben has performed at many festivals and events throughout Ireland and the UK including the Scene and Heard Festival 2023 Smock Alley Theatre Dublin, International Writers Festival Dublin, So Say So Sessions curated by Stephen James Smith, Royal Irish Regiment Centenary Commemoration, a commission from the Waterford Gallery of Art as part of the Ekphrasis Project 2022, REIC at the Cork World Book Festival and the Bath Festival UK as well as many more. Ben has also worked on award winning documentaries and short films in both Irish and English over the years for Bloc TG4. Ben has shared the stage with many fantastic musicians such as Declan O'Rourke and Emma Langford. Ben is currently touring his poetry performance installation Lifting the Gate which premiered at Smock Alley Theatre in 2023 and will take it to the Cultural Centre Irlandais in Paris this June 2023. See Ben & Lily's Event Here

Lily Brodie Hayes

Lily Brodie Hayes is an accomplished Violin and Piano player, who has toured both nationally and internationally. Classically trained, Lily has played with several acclaimed orchestras and chamber music groups in Ireland. Heavily involved in and influenced by Irish and Scottish traditional music, Lily currently draws on those influences for several collaborative artistic projects, including that with poet Ben MaCoillte. Based in Dublin, Lily plays with the band Lifts and is currently recording and performing around the country. See Ben & Lily's Event Here

Sheila Forsey 

Sheila Forsey is the author of four novels and her work has reached the Irish Times Best Sellers list. Her writing has received numerous acclaimed reviews for giving a visual and textured insight into Ireland’s past in the last century. She is also a playwright and a tutor in creative writing.
Book Sheila's Workshop Here

David Delaney 

David hails from Athy, County Kildare, the surroundings of which provided a creative backdrop for much of his writing.
The themes of nature and cycles are very much evident in his book 'Reaching Eden' his poetry collection published in 2018 and he continues to write poetry.
David is a certified and ICF accredited embodiment and trauma coach and it's with this work he will facilitate a creativity workshop - for writers, poets, playwrights and indeed anyone who is seeking to re-connect with their bodies.

For more information on embodiment coaching and David's work you can visit his website here and book his workshop here. 

Lord Tom de Vesci

 will be in conversation with Karen Phelan. 
Find out more here

Rosemary Hilliard 

With 30+ years in the world of writing and editing for nonprofit fundraising and 20+ years in editing for publishers, Rosemary Hilliard brings her skills and experience into every project. Currently a senior editor with Hilliard Press, she generally has her hands in every book the company publishes. When she isn’t editing, Rosemary enjoys reading, tending to her flower garden, and spending time with her cherished friends and family. In fact, one of her favorite titles is “Mimi” to her five grandsons and one granddaughter.

The POW Team

Amanda is pictured offering an official apology in advance of bombarding all her Facebook friends with posts about this year’s The Power Of Words Festival!

Feel free to ‘snooze’ her for the month , or ’unfriend’ altogether if you’re really fed up of her carry on! (She hopes you won’t though!)

Most events are FREE or easy on the pocket so you can just wander in. You might feel inspired to share something yourself while you’re here - a poem, a story, a song or joke, whatever you’d like. We’d love to hear it!

The Power of Words Festival is a ‘Safe Space’ for you and your words.

It will take place the weekend of 18th-20th August 2023

Look forward to seeing you here! .

Our Launch & Musical Guests...


Colleen & Erin Lalor

Erin and Colleen Lalor are sisters living in Raheen, Co Laois who have been playing with Portlaoise Comhltas and other organisations for over 10 years. Colleen is a trained sean ós and lyrical singer and plays fiddle. Erin also plays fiddle with Music Generation, teaches music and plays with comhltas, and plays the harp independently aswell as to accompany her sister in song. They are delighted to be joining and adding to the festival through Irish traditional music and song. .



Spink Comhaltas


Spink Comhaltas promotes Traditional Irish music, song and dance across Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny and Kildare for children and adults.

We provide music classes, preparation for SCT exams, Fleadh competitions, run summer seisiuns, support local events, and our members have represented the branch and Laois at All Ireland level and abroad.



2023 Living Poet Society Award Winner- 
John Spillane

is a musician, songwriter, performer, recording artist, storyteller, poet and dreamer. Rooted in people, place and story, his music transports the listener and his live performances captivate audiences around the world. As an artist his music appeals to listeners across many genres and generations. His vocal style has a unique almost sean-nós like quality and his performances shimmer with the magic realism that permeates many of his songs as he effortlessly flits between beautiful poetry tinged with melancholy to roguish, irreverent humour. John has the ability to charm, mesmerise and entertain in equal measure. A native of Cork, the County he lovingly describes as “the centre of the universe” and a source of huge creative influence throughout his career. John’s music is inspired by and encapsulates Irish traditional music in its contemporary form – a reflection of Ireland today. A two-time Meteor Award winner for Best Folk/Trad act John is one of the most accomplished songwriters in Ireland. With an extensive back catalogue beginning with the 1997 album The Wells of the World, his songs have been covered by Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Sean Keane and many others. Twelve albums later in April 2021, John released his first independent album in 20 years, 100 Snow White Horses. In October 2022, John released ‘In Another Light’ a career spanning album recorded live at the Right Here Right Now Festival recorded at Cork Opera House in November 2021. LAST TICKETS REMAINING HERE