Wednesday 21 March 2018

A celebration of the writings of Dermot Healy

The late great writer Dermot Healy had a special affinity with The Glens Centre in Manorhamilton.

It is fitting therefore that the first ever festival in his memory will be hosted by this cultural hub of North Leitrim.

The Fierce Moon Festival is a three day celebration of the writings of Dermot Healy to be held from 14th to 17th September. Sligo based author, poet and dramatist Dermot Healy spent some of his working life in this former Methodist Church.

Dating from the 1830's the beautiful building in the centre of the town has served as a unique artistic space for the community and beyond.

Dermot Healy was writer in residence here. He even performed on the stage at this intimate venue where the acoustics according to technical director Ray Duffy 'are something special for an old church.'

He also ran his writing workshop 'The Pig Executive' from this historical place and through his powers of persuasion once brought Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney to a Glens audience.

And now audiences here can look forward to a host of top names from literary circles who will be in town for the Fierce Moon Festival, including Pat McCabe, Michael Harding, Sally Rooney, Tess Gallagher and Brian Leyden.

"This is a wonderful festival for us spread over three days," says Glens Centre Director Susan McKay. The former Sunday Tribune and Irish Times journalist is passionate about her new role and this latest project for the theatre.

"It is the first major full scale festival about his work. We will be producing a once off programme with new writing from most of the people taking part."

And each of those artists in the impressive line-up in some way represent the spirit of Healy's work, says Susan.

"Michael Harding says for example that Dermot Healy put him on the road to writing while Pat McCabe was a good friend of his. These are all people who had a connection with him," she explains.

Photography exhibitions, music performances and the Dermot Healy International Poetry Prize form part of the programme.

Susan adds: "We will launch a new bursary for an emerging dramatist or fiction writer.

"We will also be staging one of Dermot's plays in the nearby Ballroom of Romance in Glenfarne. Food will be provided by Manorhamilton cafe Bia Slainte and the evening will include a scenic bus tour to the venue."

Sligo Champion