Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cúirt 2011

Galway's festival season kicked off this week as Cúirt 2011 kicked off. The corner of Neachtains on Quay St has been turned into bookshelves. It looks impressive and really gives the sense of an event happening.

Swing a left down Druid Lane and you walk through three giant books fashioned into an archway. Sometimes this is a lovely, daft town to live in.

I was on my way to the Over The Edge showcase, which this year, for the first time, also featured the winners of the Cúirt New Writing Prize. Choosing Druid Theatre as the venue for these readings was a smart move by the organisers - last year's event, though well attended, could not fill the Town Hall Theatre. Yesterday, the Druid was packed and there was a convivial vibe in the room as Susan Millar DuMars took to the stage to introduce the readers.

Paul Casey, organiser of the Ó Bhéal poetry nights in Cork, read work that drew on his experiences of life in South Africa and Zambia. A particular highlight was the poem he read in Afrikaans - recalling an officer Casey encountered when he was drafted into the South African army. He took the room back to his native Cork with a poem about hurling.

Celeste Augé read her short story The Good Boat, which won the Cúirt New Writing for fiction. Click on the link to read it - it's a fantastic piece of work. Augé delivered the piece with conviction it merits. The scene where each team member is named by number - and the inner fear driving each is revealed - will linger long in my memory.

Salthill native Sarah Clancy was up next and gave the kind of reading that should see her become a Cúirt regular. The poet's sharp wit and easy on-stage manner had the room laughing, and each piece was followed by raucous applause. Cinderella Backwards and Hippy Get A Job were enviously excellent.

More Cúirt shenanigans to come - happy days!

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