Tuesday 12 December 2017

Southside claim literary heroes as being theirs

DUBLIN'S southside is claiming Ireland's literary heroes as its own -- in an effort to prove itself as the city's literary hub.

Famous authors including James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Maeve Binchy all grew up and began their literary careers on the southside.

And Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is hosting book festivals, poetry festivals, and readings to mark the area as a literary hub.

Best-selling American author Jonathan Franzen is coming to the Pavilion Theatre tomorrow, while Irish author John Boyne will appear in the theatre on October 16.


County librarian Mairead Owens said: "There's a whole rake of established authors and there is a rich literary tradition here in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.

"Jonathan Franzen is huge, and John Boyne is coming up as well. He used to go to Dundrum library as a boy and he lives in the area."

Contemporary author Colum McCann, who is from South Dublin, won the National Book Award in 2009, while Emma Donoghue is on the shortlist for the prestigious Booker Prize.

Tim Carey, director of the Mountains To Sea DLR Book Festival, said: "It has been for a long time [associated with literature] but it's being more recognised now that it's a literary hub.

"It's not entirely true that Dublin city is the centre of literature -- it's not. We're trying to get a bit of balance to it and celebrate what we have."

Earlier this month, over 5,000 people attended the DLR Mountains To Sea Book Festival -- where 43 events were held in seven venues across six days.

The festival is the fastest growing literary festival in the country, and the prestigious Poetry Now festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary next March, according to Mr Carey.

"In many ways, when you're talking about Irish literature, you're talking about Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.

"Joyce had an association with Sandycove and Blackrock, and Samuel Beckett's work is littered with references to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Foxrock. And Synge who doesn't strike you as from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown because he wrote about the west, wrote Playboy Of The Western World in Glenageary."

Festival organisers are hoping that the Dun Loaghaire Rathdown area, and not just the city centre, becomes synonymous with literature among tourists.

Mr Carey said: "It's where they (authors) grew up. It's not that they became rich and decided to live here. It's strange how that happened, maybe it's because of the background, it's always the most educated constituency in the country, and it's got the harbour."

And Ms Owens added: "We would complement and work with Dublin and what they do. They've claimed some writers and we've claimed some out here as well."


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