After 25 years, a door opens
In 1986 he founded a festival exclusively devoted to poetry - Cúirt Fhilíochta Idirnáisiúnta na Gaillimhe. What followed the success of the first festival was shameful - but he says it's for another day.
Fred Johnston read Daniel Corkery and wanted a 'court' of poetry for Galway. The success of the first festival in March 1986 should have been a time for rejoicing. But the writer who, with Neil Jordan and Peter Sheridan, had co-founded the Irish Writers' Co-op which had changed forever the face of Irish publishing, was about to enter one of the blackest periods of his time in Galway, an experience that marked his attitude to the Arts in that city for years.
On Sunday, April 25th, at 5pm, he will read at Galway Town Hall Theatre, Galway, with Moya Cannon, Rita Ann Higgins, Eva Bourke and Mary O'Malley, though only three of these poets featured in the very first festival. But he is surprised that the festival carries no sense of occasion and there is no attempt that he can see to celebrate its beginnings.
Meanwhile the Western Writers' Centre's third 'Forge at Gort Literary Festival' has just ended.