Jessica Casey lights up Culture Night in Dublin
LOOSE LEAVES:This year’s Culture Night is nearly upon us, and museums, galleries and cultural centres in 34 cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland are preparing to throw open their doors.
The evening of free entertainment, which takes place next Friday, will receive extensive coverage in the next few days (see culturenight.iefor a full programme), but one event in Dublin that seems especially worth seeking out is a reading in Temple Bar presented by Arts and Disability Ireland (ADI).
From 5.30pm, actors will read from Jessica Casey and Other Works, a poetry collection from the Away with Words arts project for people with intellectual disabilities. These readings will be followed at 7.45pm by a screening in Meeting House Square of the animated short Jessica Casey: The Film, about one of the characters from the book. ADI director Pádraig Naughton says: “Jessica and Other Works is an exemplary Irish collaboration . . . ADI is delighted to showcase this beautiful film and thought-provoking writing with a Dublin audience.” See adiarts.ie.
What’s the story with Irish-language books?
Also free and open to the public is a conference, next Friday and Saturday, on the state of Irish- language writing, publishing and reading. Organised by Foras na Gaeilge, the event, at Dublin’s Marino Conference Centre, will be opened at 9.30am on Friday by Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs Donnchadh Mac Fhionnlaoich. Speakers include Rachel Van Riel, founder of the Opening the Book scheme in UK libraries; the writer Alan Titley; and Liam Carson of Imram, the Irish-language literary festival. See leabhar.ie.
Oh Iris, whatever did Ireland do to you?
In Britain, Kingston University’s recent acquisition of 250 letters by the Dublin-born philosopher and writer Iris Murdoch (below) has attracted attention for the revelations they contain about her brief sexual affair with her fellow philosopher and lifelong friend Philippa Foot. Of more interest here, though, may be the less than loving things she had to say about her birthplace.
A letter to Foot in 1982 reads: “We have just been in France (Caen) at a Franco-Irish conference. It was nice being in Normandy, but the sounds of all those Irish voices made me feel privately sick. They just couldn’t help sympathising with the IRA, like Americans do. A mad bad world.” And earlier, and perhaps worse, is this from 1978: “We are going briefly to France for a conference on Irish literature! It will be interesting to see if the French are sentimental about Ireland. I feel unsentimental about Ireland to the point of hatred. It is a terrible country. I can’t say that in public of course . . .” So – Iris by name but clearly not by inclination.
Story linking Viking god to Dublin metro uncovered
Thanks to 11-year-old Hugo McElligott, of Straffan, Co Kildare, who responded to Zoe McGuire’s choice of The Hunger Games in our recent series My Holiday Reading by sending in his own selection of titles.
Among the books he’s been getting through, with the help of Naas library, are several by Terry Pratchett (“a favourite of my Dad’s when he was young”), JRR Tolkien (“exceeded my expectations”) and Robert Muchamore (“anyone else think his name is an alias?”). But most favoured is an Irish title he got for his birthday, Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent, by Alan Early (Mercier Press), about the Viking god of mischief, Loki, trying to take over the world. “It was really interesting to read a book set in Ireland, around the construction of the Dublin metro,” Hugo writes. “Hopefully, my recommendation will bring some enjoyable reading to other 11-year-olds.”