On Wednesday 13 January 2016 we welcomed the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in recognition of his patronage which marked the beginning of our 25th year celebrations.
Writers and IWC Ambassadors, Éilis Ní Dhuibhne and Joseph O'Connor read for the President, as well as Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, the recipient of this year's Jack Harte Bursary Award. Musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire debuted his beautiful composition Solasta to a packed room of writers and distinguished guests – and wowed us all. The President addressed attendees with a speech that ranged in content from Bowie and Hot Press to Descartes and civil society...
President Higgins outlined how the Centre is not just a haven but a vortex of creativity:
'In the hallways and stairwells of this old house, frameworks of novels, opening paragraphs of stories, and geneses of poems have been inspired and created. A considerable number may have been completed but perhaps the finest are still in gestation.'
We couldn't have wished for a better start to our 25th anniversary celebrations.
A full transcript of the President's speech is available on our Patron page >>>
In memory of Brian Friel, RIP October 02 2015
– a playwright who gave voice to the heart and the resilience of the Irish spirit
The Irish Writers Centre is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Brian Friel. Known as one of the greatest Irish playwrights of our times and renowned for Philadelphia, Here I Come, Translations and Dancing at Lughnasa, Friel proved himself to be a versatile writer who was skilled at adaptations and penned two fine short story collections.
His impact has extended beyond the realm of writing, both at home and abroad. While Friel succeeded in bringing the realities of life in rural Ireland to a worldwide audience and placed contemporary Irish theatre at the forefront of international playwriting, he was also instrumental in addressing issues such as identity, language, migration and culture, and gave voice to those on the margins. His works showed the heart and the resilience of the Irish spirit and their enduring legacy are as relevant as ever today.
Brian was known to be generous in spirit and was especially supportive to other writers showing them a genuine kindness. His generosity was enriched with a great sense of humour.
The loss of this unrivalled playwright will reverberate across nations and down through the generations. Our most sincere condolences to Brian’s family and friends.
‘Brian Friel’s plays gave expression to the perennial conundrums of Irish life and identity by holding up a mirror to ourselves with a wit and acumen that made us laugh and cry, and wonder what the future will hold. He is a huge loss and will be sadly missed.’
– Valerie Bistany, Director of the Irish Writers Centre
‘Brian Friel was a foremost writer of his generation. His influence is enormous and his kindness to writers, particularly emerging writers, has been invaluable. May he rest in peace.’
– Liz McManus, Chairperson of the Board of the Irish Writers Centre