Friday 26 December 2014

Question of culture with artistic director Nell Regan

Declan Cashin

Published 29/06/2014 | 02:30

Nell Regan

Nell answers all the important questions you wanted to know the answers to.

Favourite Writer?

Dermot Healy. I read his short stories first and then his poetry. I love his work – what he does with language is exciting (and often unsettling). The fact that he writes so beautifully in such a range of genres is rare. The Ballyconnell Colours is a collection I go back to.

Best writing advice?

It was given to me by the American poet Henri Cole, and it had been given to him by Seamus Heaney: "Keep going." I treasure that. The other piece that struck me is from Portuguese poet Pessoa who wrote: "You have to, first of all, side with your own sprit and your taste and then take the time."

Favourite book

I am a serial book lover. I read The Grapes of Wrath as a teenager, and it had a huge impact. Alberto Manguel, who writes about being a reader (and who is be coming to West Cork) and who reckons "reading, almost as much as breathing, is our essential function".

Last book you read and loved?

The wonderful The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare. A beautifully written, part memoir, travelogue, and all fascinating.

Favourite film?

Some Like It Hot, which I could watch again and again. The script, the plot, the frocks, the yachts, the music, not to mention Curtis, Lemmon and Monroe.

Best concert or gig you've been to?

Toss up between Bruce Springsteen last year in Cork – a magic summer evening, they played for nearly three hours with lots of the big numbers and then just him at the piano – and the Seamus Heaney commemorative concert in the National Concert Hall last month.

Favourite band?

I am a teen of the '80s so my favourite band still has to be the Eurythmics – for the lyrics, Annie Lennox's exquisite voice and the power of her presence.

Favourite TV show

Moone Boy made me laugh out loud, and is one of the best television shows about Ireland in years.

Cultural blindspot

Not so much modern art, as how it is described – i.e. the catalogue blurbs, which are often unnecessarily complex.

NELL IS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE WEST CORK LITERARY FESTIVAL, WHICH RUNS FROM JULY 6–12 IN BANTRY, CO CORK. SEE WWW.WESTCORKLITERARYFESTIVAL.IE. NELL'S NEW COLLECTION ONE STILL THING WILL BE PUBLISHED BY ENITHARMON PRESS IN OCTOBER.

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