Ennis Book Fair linguistic variations
Re Ó Laighleis and Fred Johnston present a reading at 3. 30pm, Saturday, March 6th, at Scéal Eile Bookstore, Ennis., Co. Clare. Free.
Ré O Laighléis is a native of Sallynoggin, Co Dublin. A graduate of the University of Galway (1978), he has postgraduate degrees in education from St Patrick's College, Dublin and Boston College, Massachusetts. He taught in Galway for twelve years. Since 1992, O Laighléis has been a full-time writer and lives in the Burren, Co Clare. Six of his plays were awarded the All Ireland Schools Drama title and he is a three-times winner of the Aodh O Ruairc Commemorative Drama Award. His Aistear Intinne (COISCEIM, 1996), is written for drama teachers and children.
He is best known, as a writer of novels and short stories. He is published in English and Italian, and is the biggest selling contemporary writer in the Irish language. He writes for both the adult and teenage reader, and has been awarded numerous Oireachtas literary awards in the various genres. He is twice winner of The Bisto Book of the Year Merit Award. On the international front, he is the recipient of the 1995 NAMLLA Award (North American Minority Languages Literary Award) and the 1997 White Ravens Literary Award.
Fred Johnston, founder of Galway's Cúirt literature festival and of the Western Writers' Centre, has recently published a collection of the translations of French poet Colette Wittorski. In Dublin in the early 'Seventies he was instrumental in unionising the PR firms of the city for the NUJ, when he was FOC at Public Relations Practitioners, Merrion Square, Dublin. With Neil Jordan and Peter Sheridan, he was a co-founder in Dubin in the 'Seventies of the Irish Writers' Co-operative; 38 years ago he received a Hennessy Literary Award from literary giants, V.S.Pritchett and James Plunkett. Subsequently he received a poetry award from The Sunday Independent, followed by a short story award. In 2004 he was Writer in Residence to the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco and the following year he and his partner, Sylvia Crawford, played at a St Patrick's Day concert in Monaco before Prince Albert.
Since the founding of the Western Writers' Centre he has been the target of a great deal of anonymous mail - one batch was actually forwarded to Monaco - intended to traduce his personal reputation in Galway; similar mail was forwarded to The Arts Council with a view to influencing the Council's grant decisions on the Western Writers' Centre.
In 2009, solicitors correspondence was issued in Galway against individuals ordering them to desist from circulating inflammatory postal mail. Inexplicably - and in the face ofmassive support from writers and politicians and arts' practitioners in the rest of the country - he has faced considerable opposition from Galway City Council to the development of the eight-year-old Western Writers' Centre, which also hosts the annual Forge at Gort festival (March 26th and 27th). In spite of this, he continues to live and work in Galway. A collection of his stories is due, in translation, to be published in France. He is politically active and wrote the song 'Rossport Blues' in support of the protests there (see YouTube.)