Friday, 10 October 2008

Literature - the poor relation again

Poor Relation
Originally uploaded by pominoz

Culture Ireland have announced their grant recipients for October. They seem to do it 3 times a year. The idea is to promote Irish culture/arts abroad. But again, the poor relation is Literature. Check the maths.

Theatre and Dance have 17 project, totalling 297,100 Euro
Film have 7 projects totalling 24,450 Euro
Music has 17 projects totalling 59,200 Euro
Visual Arts have 28 projects totalling 100,600 Euro
Literature has a paltry 5 projects totalling 8,250 Euro

Does no one apply or does literature not travel? 4 are poetry, one is the Frankfurt book fair.

Clare Muireann Murphy participating in the Jaipur Literature Festival, India from the 21st - 25th January 2009 1,000
Moya Cannon performing a poetry reading at the Festival International De Poesia De Granada, Nicaragua, USA in February 2009 1,000
CLE Irish Book Publishers Association programme of events involving Irish authors at the 26th Karlsruhe Book Exhibition, Germany from the 14th November - 7th December 2008 4,000
Eilean Ní Chuilleanain poetry readings and discussions in Prague and Brno 12- 15 November 750
Louis de Paor and John Spillane performing at the International Poetry Festival Islands without Borders, Czech Republic, from the 11th - 13th November 2008 1,500



It is a sad balance, indeed. But I am not really surprised.

Modern Irish literature has focused on the likes of Roddy Doyle, Maeve Binchy and several other female writers of 'romantic' novels or 'chick lit'. All of them are published in Britain.

There is John Banville, yes, and a few others, but we have not produced a really great novelist in recent times.

One of the reasons is certainly a lack of public support and funding, as nothing comes from nothing.
But what can one expect from a group of narrow-minded culture bureaucrats, acting on behalf of a class of politicians who are barely literate and do certainly not read any modern Irish authors.

Working as editor for a small Irish publishing house, I could tell you a whole bunch of stories, reflecting the complete ignorance of the cultural bureaucracy. But that would probably make you even more disappointed than you are already.

Let's do what we can to improve the situation. I have not given up hope yet, although it's a hard and lengthy task.

Emerging Writer said...

Hi EI, Thanks for dropping by. I had a browse of your blog and there's lots of thought provoking information to read there.

I think the problem with this and the arts council grants is that the process is not transparent. We don't know how many literary applications were made and how many non-poets applied so we have no idea of any bias.

The aim of this organisation is to promote Irish culture abroad. If this is purely on a monetary basis, there would be no reason at all to promot poets and poetry makes no money for anyone, Ireland or the poet. I don't know what the finances of visual arts is but they're usually near the top f any grant list.