€8,000 Kavanagh awards; Beckett in Foxrock; Yeats school; Story House patron

Literary listings: Waking Galway’s Feminists; Paul McVeigh’s The Good Son is Brighton’s Big Read

€8,000 Kavanagh awards for two Irish poets

The trustees of the estate of Katherine Kavanagh have awarded two Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowships worth €8,000 each to Irish poets, Nell Regan and Connie Roberts. Exceptionally, the trustees also awarded grants of smaller amounts to Fred Johnston, Nicholas McLachlan and Dairena Ní Chinnéide. The awards are made in recognition of a number of factors, balancing the criteria of need, commitment to the literary life, achievement so far and promise for the future,

Kavanagh’s widow Katherine willed all rights in her husband’s works and all royalties from them to trustees, who were directed to apply the income to help Irish poets, in their middle years, who are in need of assistance.

Samuel Beckett in Foxrock


Beckett in Foxrock, an evening of drama, poetry and prose to recognise and honour Samuel Beckett, Nobel laureate, Dubliner, and one of the world’s most influential writers, will be held on March 5th at 8pm in Tullow Church, Brighton Road, Carrickmines, Dublin 18. This will include some of his favourite music in the village where he was born, grew up and which influenced him so much.

This will be a unique, limited capacity event in a special location. Beckett’s mother was a faithful member of the church and the young Samuel regularly attended with her. These, and other local experiences, were ultimately woven into many of his later works. During the evening a plaque in Samuel Beckett’s honour will be unveiled in the church by members of the Beckett family.

Actors Geraldine Plunkett, Marcus Lamb, Jennifer Laverty, Melissa Nolan, Cathal Quinn and Colm O’Brien will perform theatrical extracts, poetry and prose produced by Mouth on Fire Theatre Company. Organist Rónán Murray and singer Donal Kenny will perform Schubert, while Dr Feargal Whelan (UCD) will connect Beckett’s work to the Foxrock/Carrickmines area.

A reception will follow the event in the adjoining hall and a photographic exhibition related to Beckett and Foxrock will be on view.

To book, visit Beckettinfoxrock.wordpress.com or email BeckettFoxrock@gmail.com

Samuel Barclay Beckett was born in his family’s home on Kerrymount Avenue, Foxrock on Good Friday, April 13th, 1906. He was educated in Dublin before being sent to Portora Royal in Enniskillen at the age of 14 and subsequently entered Trinity College Dublin in 1923, having spent much of his childhood tramping the fields of Foxrock, Carrickmines, Leopardstown and the Old Military Road in the silent company of his father. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969 and died in Paris in December 1989, where he is buried beside his wife Suzanne.

Yeats International Summer School

This year’s 57th Yeats International Summer School will take place from July 24th till August 5th in Sligo. To commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising, the 2016 school will pay particular attention to Yeats’s Rising and to Ireland’s revolution through world-class lectures and seminars together with poetry readings and music celebrating the poet who did so much to shape modern Irish culture.

The school’s directors are Geraldine Higgins and Ronan McDonald. This year’s lecturers are: Lauren Arrington, Angela Bourke, Rand Brandes, Catriona Clutterbuck, Roy Foster, Roisín Higgins, Ben Levitas, Aoife Monks, Sinéad McCoole, John McCourt, Sean Pryor, Jahan Ramazani, Young Suck Rhee, Nathan Suhr-Sytsma, Bernard O’Donoghue and Fintan O’Toole.

The poetry workshop will be led by Vona Groarke and the drama workshop by Declan Drohan

For bookings, scholarships etc, contact Yeats Society, Douglas Hyde Bridge, Sligo, Ireland, tel. 0 7191 42693, email info@yeats-sligo.com www.yeatssociety.com.

Jack Harte new patron of Story House Ireland

The Story House Ireland has announced Jack Harte as its patron. An acclaimed writer and founder of both the Irish Writers Centre and the Irish Writers Union, Jack Harte’s play, Language of the Mute, was recently staged at the New Theatre, Dublin.

Set up in 2015 by Margaret O’Brien and Nollaig Brennan, The Story House Ireland is a five-day, not-for-profit, residential writing centre which has introduced the Arvon model to Ireland. A typical week consists of morning workshops with one-to-one tutorials in the afternoon, group meals and plenty of time and space to write.

Their first course on short fiction was tutored by Julian Gough and Susie Maguire with Donal Ryan as the mid-week guest writer. Their next course Poetry: The Craft, which is now fully booked, will be held on the grounds of Borris House in Carlow – home to the Festival of Writing and Ideas. This course will be facilitated by Nessa O’Mahony and Peter Sirr, with Patrick Chapman as their midweek guest. Plans for their next course are underway.

You can contact The Story House by emailing thestoryhouseireland@gmail.com or you can follow them @TSHIreland or on Facebook. Visit their website on www.thestoryhouseireland.org

Waking the Feminists in Galway

#wakingthefeministswest – a season of student-led theatre showcasing women’s voices past and present – began last month in Galway and will run until May.

Inspired by the recent #WakingTheFeminists movement, #wakingthefeministswest is a Galway-based season of plays and performances by Irish women led by NUI Galway Drama and Theatre Studies students and supported by the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The programme’s mission is to stage the work of Irish women playwrights and theatre-makers, both past and present, as well as to provide strong roles for female performers.

This initiative is led by drama and theatre studies PhD students Justine Nakase and Nelson Barre and was launched by Irish Times Theatre award nominated designer, arts manager and leader of #WakingTheFeminists, Lian Bell.

#wakingthefeministwest performances will include:

100 Shades of Grey, devised by the ensemble, directed by Charlotte McIvor, (February 8th-9th, Bank of Ireland Theatre, 8pm)

Elizabeth Connor, Mount Prospect, directed by Ciara O’Dowd and Thomas Conway, Druid director-in-residence, (February 25th-26th, Town Hall Studio Theatre, 8.30pm)

#wakingthefeministswest builds on the West of Ireland's rich history of strong female figures, both in theatre and at large. From the Abbey's Lady Augusta Gregory to Druid's Garry Hynes, from the pirate queen Graínne Mhaol to Mary Robinson, the women of the west have had a huge impact on Ireland's history and culture. #wakingthefeministswest celebrates and honours the women of the west by giving them life and a voice on the Irish stage. For further information, contact wakingthefeministswest@gmail.com

The further programme will be announced soon.

Paul McVeigh is Brighton’s Big Read

Paul McVeigh’s The Good Son has been chosen as Brighton’s Big Read for 2016, part of Brighton Festival’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

McVeigh, who lives in Brighton, said: “When I moved to Brighton a few years ago, one of the first things I did was volunteer for City Reads to celebrate books and get to know my new city. Who could believe that just a few years later my book would be chosen and my adopted city would adopt me right back. That it will be part of the 50th Anniversary of the Brighton Festival is such an honour. I can’t wait to get started.”

From its launch on World Book Day (March 3rd) to the final event at Brighton Festival on May 29th, there will be a wide range of events and discussions themed around The Good Son encouraging residents across the city to get reading and start talking. Highlights include an Irish whiskey tasting on St Patrick’s Day with readings from The Good Son and live music; a special screening on the official centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising (April 24th) of Pat O’Connor’s 1984 film Cal and The City Reads Book Quiz on April 27rg.

Sarah Hutchings, artistic director of City Reads, said: “Choosing one book for a whole city to read, share and celebrate is a wonderful thing because it brings people together. Brighton-based Northern Irish writer Paul McVeigh’s incredible book was the perfect choice, particularly as 2016 marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, a rebellion that led to the eventual signing of the Anglo Irish Treaty and the creation of Northern Ireland. I defy anyone not to fall in love with its protagonist Mickey Donnelly. He’s clever, naive and hilariously funny. I hope you love it as much as we do at City Reads.”

Pat McCabe at Fastnet Film Festival

Patrick McCabe has committed to taking part in the Fastnet Film Festival in Schull, which takes place from May 25th to 29th this year. McCabe’s books include The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize and filmed by Neil Jordan. A renowned reader of his own work, we can look forward to an entertaining evening in his company during the festival.