Monday, 25 April 2011

9th John Hewitt Spring Festival

This year's Spring Festival takes place on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th May 2011 at Carnlough’s Londonderry Arms Hotel on the Antrim coast.

Saturday 7th May 2011
11:00am Coffee
11:15am The Great Northern Novel
This year’s contenders in the Great Northern Novel debate are, The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien, Brian Moore’s An Answer from Limbo and All the Colours of the Town by Liam McIlvanney. They are championed by Iggy McGovern (see notes on Sunday’s workshop), Michael Foley (see Saturday’s after-lunch “in conversation”), and Kate Newmann, editor, co-director of Summer Palace Press, and poet (latest collection, I Am A Horse, Arlen House, 2010).
Do feel free to read the novels in advance and to challenge our panellists’ perceptions and presumptions.

1:00pm Lunch

2:30pm Collective Amnesia and The Age of Absurdity: Michael Foley in conversation
While John Hewitt warned of the dangers of remembering, Michael Foley’s journey into philosophy (The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy, Simon and Schuster, 2010) warns of the dangers in a modern media age of being seduced away from old-fashioned virtues such as effort, aspiration, a willingness to embrace complexity, and a belief in altruism. Pungent, witty, perceptive… like Larkin, only sharper, funnier and more cynical (Irish Times), Michael Foley is a poet (with four Blackstaff collections and his New & Selected due out this year), author of four novels, a former Fortnight columnist and editor of The Honest Ulsterman. In conversation with poet and critic, C.L. Dallat (The Year of Not Dancing, Blackstaff, 2009).
4:00pm Coffee

4:30pm Poetry Reading: Mairide Woods, Moyra Donaldson and Anne-Marie Fyfe
Three Northern poets whose work carries the freight of remembrance in engagement with contemporary concerns: short-story writer and radio-dramatist Mairide Woods, was born in Dublin, grew up in Cushendall and now an Advocacy Executive in the Citizens Information Board in Ireland – Unobserved Moments of Change (Astrolabe, 2011) is her latest collection; Moyra Donaldson was born in Newtownards – her Lagan Press collections include Snakeskin Stilettos, The Horse’s Nest and Miracle Fruit; Anne-Marie Fyfe, born in Cushendall and now living in London, is former Poetry Society chair and winner of Academi Cardiff International Poetry Prize – Understudies: New and Selected Poems is just launched from Seren Books.

6:30pm Drinks Reception
7:00pm Dinner

8:30pm Remembering the Forgotten: Eoin McNamee and Rita Ann Higgins
For poets and novelists the word “remember” is freighted with obligation and compulsion.  Rita Ann Higgins has written honestly and sometimes uncomfortably, about growing up in the South of Ireland, and has won praise for her poetry including Throw in the Vowels: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2005) and her memoir, Hurting God (Salmon, 2010) which “conjures a sense of time and place as Higgins takes the measure of remembrance” (Jon Ihle, Sunday Tribune). Eoin McNamee rose to fame through his daring and sensitive explorations of the cultural and psychological motivations of killers in a murderous time. He has gone on to remember, in
Blue Tango and Orchid Blue (Faber, 2010), murders from an age of innocence in 50-or-so-years-back North of Ireland.

Sunday 8th May
10:00am Creative Writing Workshop: Iggy McGovern
Iggy McGovern (b. Coleraine) is Associate Professor of Physics at Trinity College Dublin, a former winner of the Glen Dimplex New Writers Poetry Award, author of two Dedalus collections, The King of Suburbia and Safe House (2010) and a popular creative-writing teacher and facilitator.
12:30pm Lunch

1:30pm Glens of Antrim Literary Bus Tour
1:30pm Depart from Londonderry Arms Hotel
1:45pm Garron Tower ~ Recital - Garron Top
2:00pm Cushendall ~ Recital - The Fairyman
Cushendall Centre ~ Recital - Curfew Town
2:30pm Ossian’s Grave ~ Recital - Ossian’s Grave; Glenaan; and others
Cushendun ~ Recital - Glendun on a wet July day
3:30pm Tea Break
4:15pm Layde Church ~ Recital -The Braes of Layde
5:00pm Return to Londonderry Arms Hotel

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