Saturday 25 November 2017

New Billy Roche book gets Tóibín thumbs-up



AN ANTHOLOGY on the work of Wexford playwright Billy Roche received a ringing endorsement when it was formally launched by Colm Tóibín.

At an official launch in the Arts Centre in the county town, the 'crème de la crème' of the local arts scene dropped in to catch the first glimpse of the new book, which explore's Roche's work.

Colm Tóibín was one of a number of well known names from the literary world that contributed to ' The Art of Billy Roche: Wexford as the World'.

But Billy wasn't the only one to receive high praise from the the author of 'Brooklyn'. Tóibín recognised the art work on the walls of the Arts Centre as being of that of a former classmate at St Peter's College, John Noel Smith.

Arts Centre director Elizabeth Whyte noted that big names from literature and theatre travelled to be there on the night.

Acclaimed theatre director Ben Barnes was there on the night to show his support for a fellow Wexford man.

Speaking after the launch, Elizabeth Whyte described Billy Roche as one of Wexford's 'first ambassadors'.

She alluded to her own personal experience as a Dubliner living in New York and said that it was only after reading some of Roche's work while living stateside that she developed a real interest in Wexford as a place and a ' hub for culture'.

'And then of course you might bump into Pierce Turner playing in a bar in New York and it really gave me a great impression of Wexford,' she said.

The book takes a look at how Roche's work has captured the story of a town and how he has portrayed it to his audiences down through the years.

The book is available for sale at Wexford Arts Centre and Wexford bookshops.

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