Monday, November 23, 2009

John Banville and Seamus Heaney Reading at the Centre

Photograph Stephanie Joy © 2009
John Banville and Seamus Heaney

A group of hardy souls braved the worst rain on record to venture out to the IWC for one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Centre’s calendar: a reading by two of Ireland’s best-loved writers, Seamus Heaney and John Banville.

The reputations of both Banville and Heaney are so well-known that they don’t need to be described here, suffice to say that they lived up to the high expectations of the audience. John Banville read from his most recent novel, the wildly popular The Infinities, choosing a moving and amusing excerpt dealing with childhood memories, while Seamus Heaney treated us to a preview of his soon-to-be published translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, which describes a journey into the Underworld, and, sticking with a similar theme, read from his 1991 book Seeing Things, a collection of poetry which draws parallels between Greek mythology and day-to-day life.

Of course the evening wouldn’t have been complete without some mention of Ireland’s devastating exit from the World Cup Qualifiers, and the IWC’s treasurer Catherine Phil MacCarthy touched upon this painful subject, but also reminded the audience that Irish writers win the literary equivalent of the World Cup on a regular basis, citing Colum McCann winning the US National Book Award for Fiction for Let the Great World Spin on Wednesday night.

Many friends of the Centre turned out for the evening, including writers Nessa O’Mahony, Celine Dé Freine, Desmond Traynor, Padraig J. Daly, Paddy Bushe and Michael O’Loughlin. John Kearns from the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association, Brendan Nolan, writer and Communications Officer of the Irish Writers’ Union and special guest, the Bulgarian Ambassador, his Excellency Emil Yalnazov where also in attendance.

This event was part of a series of benefit readings, hosted by John F Deane and featuring popular Irish writers including Gabriel Rosentock, Claire Kilroy and Áine Ni Ghlinn. The final reading, with Peter Sirr, Enda Wiley and Hugo Hamilton will take place on the 10th of December. (click here for details>>>)

Photograph Stephanie Joy © 2009
John F. Deane, John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, and Joe McCain.

Photograph Stephanie Joy © 2009
John F. Deane and Jack Harte

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