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Western Writers' Centre and Breton Connection

category national | arts and media | news report author Thursday December 03, 2009 15:08author by Fred Johnston - The Western Writers' Centre, Galway - Ionad Scríbhneoiri Chaitlin Maudeauthor email westernwriters at eircom dot netauthor address Canavan House, Nuns Island, Galwayauthor phone 087.2178138 Report this post to the editors

Moves to establish literary links

The Galway-based Western Writers' Centre - Ionad Scríbhneoirí Chaitlín Maude - is hoping to create a literary link between Brittany and Galway.
Landerneau, Brittany (c) Western Writers' Centre
Landerneau, Brittany (c) Western Writers' Centre

Galway is 'twinned' with Lorient. But feelers have been sent out to see whether an exchange of two Breton poets can be arranged with Lorient or, indeed, the town of Landerneau. The great Breton folklorist, Anatole le Bras, visited Ireland in the early 1900s and met here with cultural and political leaders. The widely-read literary publication, HOPALA!, in which the Centre's Director Fred Johnston has already published work, is published at Landerneau.
"We're at first stages. Nothing has been decided. I think exchanges are very important. The Western Writers' Centre has already hosted readings by French poets in Galway and our website hosts new French poetry and reviews of a variety of French-based literary publications, many of them in Brittany."
The idea would be to have two Galway poets exchange with the poets from Brittany. "There is a distinct lack of knowledge in Ireland about Breton culture. We know the music, but not the painters, the composers, the poets or novelists. It is almost impossible to get an Irish publisher who will take translations of collections of modern French poetry, for instance, though one must acknowledge John F. Deane's translations and those of Derek Mahon and Pearse Hutchinson."
Recently, Belfast's Lapwing Publications published Johnston's translations of the poetry of Breton-based poet and winner of the Amzer Prize, Colette Wittorski. He is a recipient of the Prix de l'Ambassade towards translation of a French poet. His translations of contemporary French poetry and folk-tales have appeared in The SHop, Albedo 1, and a sequence of his own poems in French is in the current issue of Translation Ireland. A new sequence of his poems is due in HOPALA! in Brittany shortly.

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