Richard Cotter – Chair

A founding member of Focal, Richie Cotter was born in Kilkenny, married to Mary a “Tipp Lady” who is a published poet/writer and have made Co. Wexford their family home. Richie worked in primary education as a teacher and principal for 39 years and is a proud founding member of the Wexford Literary Festival. He is passionate about developing the love of literature in the Irish and English languages, in people of all ages!

Maria Nolan – Secretary

Maria Nolan

A founding member of Focal (2013) and co-creator of Words in Wexford (2012), Maria Nolan our Secretary is a Wordsmith, Feature Writer and Photographer with the Slaneynews and has worked in the past with the People newspapers having her own page Town and County Life in the Enniscorthy Guardian for over 3 years.  Maria who is a Civil Servant with Department of Agriculture is a strong community activist being a founder of Enniscorthy Drama, Secretary of Enniscorthy Chamber of Commerce, PRO of Enniscorthy Historical Re-enactment Society and Assistant Secretary with Enniscorthy Strawberry Fair.  She is also a staunch GAA follower and a lifelong fan of the Purple & Gold. She was Secretary of her club Rapparees/Starlights for over 20 years is the current Coiste and Ladies PRO along with being the Clubs Health & Well-Being Officer and is a Committee member of Cairde Loch Garman and on the County Health & Well-being and IT Committees.  Maria writes a weekly blog `Out and About with Maria Nolan` and records all things literary and cultural in the town of Enniscorthy. Her short stories, poetry and Travel Articles have been published in several anthologies and chronicles including Ireland Own.

Jonathon King – Secretary

Spent over 40 years in Hospitality Management, as a Senior Manager and a Head Chef, working in the UK, Ireland, Spain, France and Saudi Arabia. In 2011, Jonathan moved to County Wexford from Cornwall, and discovered, in 2016, community work when he helped, as a volunteer, to develop ArtBank in Bunclody. His community works lead him to becoming the Irish Men’s Shed County Volunteer for Counties Wexford and Wicklow.

Since then he has become immersed in community management, starting with becoming a member of Wexford Public Participation Network Secretariat, he currently is Chair of the newly established Wexford Volunteer Centre, Board member of Wexford Local Link and a member of Bunclody Town Team.

Whilst working at ArtBank he set up and is Festival Director of the ‘Streams of Bunclody’ Festival which ran from 2017 to 2019 and is cocooned due to COVID, he joined the Wexford Literary Festival Committee in 2021 and is the current treasurer.

Jonathan loves staging live performance of any and all genres and in unconventional locations to expand the imagination of the audience.

He is an avid reader and a collector of Irish writers, writes, but has never published, poetry and short stories, and is a very prolific vegetable gardener, a forager, and still enjoys cooking.

Anne Gilpin -Award Administrator

Anne Gilpin is a founding member of Focal (2013) and co-creator of Words in Wexford (2012). She is a published author in international academic journals in interpersonal communication in the business and corporate world. Anne, as a former teacher, lecturer in interpersonal communication, and business consultant and trainer, is passionate about people of all ages meeting their potential. In Australia, she was a performing member of Cronulla Arts Theatre and ran The Spoken Word Tent for 3 years at the Woodford Folk Festival, attendance of 150,000 over 4 days. To be successful, her tip is to keep writing, writing, writing ….

Social Media – Róisín Williams

Róisín Williams is a Journalist/Communications Consultant.  She holds a BSc in Social Science and a Higher Diploma in Journalism and Public Relations. Róisín is a mentor/trainer with Wexford Local Development and Director of Media and Communications for  She was feature editor for her college paper ‘The Informer’.  A freelance Journalist with ‘The Sunday World’ publication for three years, with over 60 articles published.  Róisín has been working in communications and public relations with various companies for over eight years.  She is heavily involved in community work and is the secretary for the ‘Strawberry Fair Festival and liaison with Enniscorthy Tidy Towns.  In her spare time she participates in local musicals and charity events.

Carol Long – Meet the Publisher and Judge, BRISPAward

Carol Long is a past chairperson and current vice chairperson of Wexford Drama Group and has been involved with the Group for over ten years.  She has been involved backstage doing props, stage managing and directing. She has directed the groups last three productions during the Wexford Opera festival.  She has been a member of Wordplay Writers and Actors Studio since the beginning and has had some of her own plays produced and has directed numerous times for them.  In February 2018 she wrote a ten-minute play and directed a play for the 24-hour challenge which took place in the National Opera house.  She co-ordinates and produced four new one act plays by local female writers, with female cast and local well-known female directors in 2016. This is her second year with Wexford Literary festival committee and she is delighted to be a judge again on their short play competition.  She is an ardent supporter of new writing and would like to see ways for it to be more widely produced and acknowledged. “Being part of the play-writing competition in the festival is a joy, seeing the number of talented playwrights that are in this country and afar”.  Carol is passionate about drama and play-writing and won a DLI scholarship in directing, from Wexford County Council in 2017.  She has since gone back to do another directing course.

Zeff Ryder

Zeff Ryder is it who dwelleth on earth for nigh on 38 years in current incarnation, having previously danced the Tango.

It also wrote “All of them, hipsters“, available at Red Books in Wexford Town.

Zeff joined the WLF committee in 2021 as a technical type of person, editing and compiling of videos and so on and so forth, and if you’re going to San Francisco, wear flowers in your hair etc.

Álanna Hammel

Álanna Hammel was born in Wexford in 2002. She fell into writing after winning her first writing competition at age sixteen. A year later she joined Gorey writers; leading creative writing workshops and organising open-mic nights in cafes and libraries throughout Wexford. In 2021, Álanna started her podcast ‘The Art of Conversation’, inspired by the success of her interviews on Red Book’s ‘The Irish Bookshop Show’. You can read more about her writing on She is currently studying Commerce International with French and Politics at UCD.

Associated Contributor: Elizabeth Whyte

Elizabeth Whyte  is CEO of Wexford Arts Centre (WAC) since 2006. Wexford Arts Centre delivers a vibrant multi arts programme annually for all ages in Wexford and also includes management for The Presentation Centre, Enniscorthy and the Creative Hub in Wexford. WAC delivers a Living Arts programme for schools and the Emerging Visual Arts Award in association with Wexford County Council; and produced Seed to Stage spoken word programme with writer/spoken word performer Peter Murphy.

Elizabeth has also produced and directed theatre productions which have toured nationally and internationally including Wexfour featuring commissioned plays by John Banville, Eoin Colfer, Billy Roche, Colm Tóibín, which toured to Paris and New York. She directed and produced Tales from Rainwater Pond by Billy Roche which also toured to New York’s 1st Irish Festival; produced Lay Me Dawn Softly which toured to London; produced Holy Mary by Eoin Colfer on a national tour; as well as line producer for Noël in association with Venuworks at the National Opera House, Wexford. Most recently Elizabeth produced a successful national tour of The Scourge by Michelle Dooley Mahon directed by Ben Barnes.

Elizabeth worked prior as company manager for Rough Magic Theatre and worked as actor, writer, producer and director in  theatre, TV and film in New York and Boston including the Irish Arts Center and Irish Repertory theatre. She studied arts and literature at Harvard Extension School; B.A. and film at Visual Arts School New York. She holds an M.B.A. in Professional Arts Management from IT Carlow, Wexford Campus. Elizabeth is passionate about theatre, literature and books as a long time book club participant. .

Associated Contributor – Jarlath Glynn

Head Librarian of Enniscorthy Library, Jarlath was a member of Focal and was Chairman in 2015. He authored an historical book Wexford Then & Now (2013) and, due to his heavy work schedule, is focusing his energy into creating and leading the Wexford Literary Festival’s Children’s Events.

Associated Contributor – Edel Kelly 

Festival Committee Associates

Wallie O’ Neill

John Kelly

Peter Murphy

Maura Flannery

Margaret Galvin

Mary Cotter

Fintan Murphy

Declan Dempsey

Fintan Kelly


CHAIR and Committee

The YEAR indicates the year in which the Festival occurred. The Committee is created at the end of the previous year’s Festival.

2013       Niall Wall; Maria Nolan (Sec); Richie Cotter (Treasurer); Paul O’Reilly; Anne Gilpin; Jarlath Glynn; Colum Cooney; Mairead Linneen with Denis Collins. (Art). Event known as Words in Wexford.

2014      Jarlath Glynn; Maria Nolan (Sec); Richie Cotter (Treasurer); Anne Gilpin; Carmel Harrington; Cathy Keane; Colum Coomey; Mairead Linneen with Denis Collins (Art). Re-named Focal.

2015   Carmel Harrington; Maria Nolan (Sec); Richie Cotter (Treasurer); Anne Gilpin; Roger Harrington (PRO); Jarlath Glynn; Cat Hogan; Caroline Busher. Festival “founded” as Wexford Literary Festival.

2016   Carmel Harrington; Maria Nolan (Sec); Richie Cotter (Treasurer);  Caroline Busher; (Vice-Chair);  Cat Hogan; Jarlath Glynn; Paul O’Reilly;  Cathy Keane; Allison Martin.

2017   Carmel Harrington; Maria Nolan (Sec); Richie Cotter (Treasurer);  Caroline Busher (Vice-chair);  Jarlath Glynn;  Allison Martin; Sheila Forsey ; Tina Callaghan; John J. Kelly.

2018   Carmel Harrington; Maria Nolan (Sec); Richie Cotter (Treasurer);  Caroline Busher (Vice-chair);  Anne Gilpin (June, Vice-Treasurer and Award Administrator); Sheila Forsey ; Carol Long; Shane Dunphy; Nov 2018 -Jan 2019  Caroline Busher.

2019- 2020   Richard “Richie” Cotter; Maria Nolan (Sec); Anne Gilpin (Treasurer and Award Administrator);  Carol Long (Meet the Publisher); Edel Kelly; Elizabeth Whyte; Roisin Williams ( Social Media).

2021   Richard “Richie” Cotter; Maria Nolan (Sec); Jonathon King (Treasurer);  Anne Gilpin (Award Administrator); ; Carol Long (Meet the Publisher, Judge) ;  Roisin Williams ( Social Media). From May, Zeff Ryder (Technical and Web management) and Álanna Hammel (Instragram); Edel Kelly (until May).