The Festival Directors

Murder One was conceived and developed by bestselling crime writer Sam Blake, who as Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin is the founder of The Inkwell Group and She is joined by Bert Wright to co-direct the festival, and in 2024, the team has expanded to include crime writer Michelle Dunne, and children’s programmer Sarah Webb, with invaluable support across all areas from Mairead Hearne.

Sam Blake (Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin) and Bert Wright are two of Ireland’s top Literary Festival Programmers and have wide experience bringing the biggest names to events. From Patricia Cornwell to Jo Nesbo, they specialise in programming creative and exciting events for both readers and writers.

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin writes crime as best selling author Sam Blake (BonnierZaffre / Atlantic Books/ Gill Books).

Vanessa/Sam Blake also runs the award winning website, Europe’s biggest writing resources website. With a background in event management she has curated Waterford Writers Weekend, The Bram Stoker Festival, The Red Line Festival, Great Writing Great Places for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, plus Amazon’s ‘How to Get Published’ Live streamed conference, and she was the anchor and producer for Writers Web TV.

She has developed and executed concepts The National Emerging Writer Programme and Date with an Agent for the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Vanessa/Sam is the current Chair of the Society of Authors and a past board member of the Crime Writers Association.



Bert Wright has been curating author events for almost 30 years, in the UK, the USA and Ireland.  He has served as events curator for Waterstone’s In Edinburgh, Dublin, Cork, Boston and Chicago.  He has curated: The Harvard Square Book Festival, The Mountains to   Sea Festival , The Bram Stoker Festival, and The Red Line Festival. He currently curates   the long-running DLR Voices Reading Series in Dun Laoghaire and The Dublin Festival of History


Spread the love