Saturday 18 November 2017

I can still hear Dermot's cackling

John McEntee recalls lock-ins, banter and emigrant life with 
his friend, writer 
Dermot Healy

Genius: Dermot Healy
Genius: Dermot Healy

John McEntee

In his tribute to his friend Dermot Healy, President Higgins was right to emphasise Dermot's particular affinity with the Irish community in Britain. Dermot was an emigrant himself. When I first came to London, he presided in regal splendour in a squat in Denbigh Street near Victoria Station.

His publishers, Allison & Busby, had given him an advance on his first novel and with no words appearing, Dermot agreed to paint the company's office by way of recompense for the book.

Banished Misfortune did eventually emerge and was followed by works of genius, including The Goat Song, The Bend for Home and, more recently, Long Time No See.

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